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Pre-amp suggestions needed

Project Turntables

haisaikat

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After some period of silence its time to update on the progress

I finally went ahead with Little Dot MK II with upgraded Mullard M8100 tubes. It was a gamble but owing to the less price of 11K I decided to give it a try. But I had one problem which is the LD had only one set of inputs and I needed at least 2 which it did not have. The preamp of sachin and aniket looked to be the right bridge device and aniket promised to make a unity gain setting in that with source selector too. Their project kicked off in rigour back in November but since its not commercial production is still in the pipeline. Probably will come one day soon :) But I have to move on so the next best solution came to me was the Schiit SYS offered by my friend @subhashis_1980 which made the perfect source selector.

I made the connection as follows, the output from CDP goes to SYS and from there to the LD and then to the Power Amp. In this process in order to control the volume with my remote I have enabled the preamp in the CDP and I have maxed the volume of both the LD and the SYS. On the other hand the 2nd input of the SYS is connected to the output of the CNC phono, however in that case I use the SYS volume control to control the volume of the audio and still keep the LD maxed volume.

So that was about the connection and now a few words on the outcome. I now understand to a little extent what kind of difference tube brought. Mainly the highs are smoothened as the most observable change. This has resulted in the subdued details on one hand but very sweet female vocals that are real treat to ears on the other hand, I never like the albums of Asha and Shreya this much over Jagjit. I initially thought that the subdued details was bad but with time realized that this made the listening experience less fatiguing to years if I listen for longer hours. The male vocals probably I could not hear much difference may be a little warmth. In terms of lows, its less than before but not sure if I have to call in more controlled and less boomy, may be I liked a little better but it may have grown in previous gears as a habbit, still more to test. Also a lot of irritating sibilance is now gone. Overall very satisfied with this upgrade.

On a related note I made another swap, all connections from CDP to AMP is now using the DAC ARX interconnects as I realized the Zeus Z1 in its zeal to reveal details was adding brightness, so now its moved to the analogue size connecting the SYS and the CNC, a conscious change.

I have also ordered a pair if Mullard M 8161 tubes from ebay and these are on the way. This tube rolling option is one of the reason I chose the LD.

This may not be the end state but i term it as a humble beginning while the search for a better one continues.

Here are some pictures of LD MK II

SAVE_20190101_153005.jpeg

SAVE_20190101_174417.jpeg
 
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haisaikat

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All need one suggestion, I ordered a pair of M8161 from eBay and the onesbi received have the following written on it, CV4015 kqdd/k.

seller says these are Mullard but the name Mullard or even the Made in Britain is not written on it unlike the existing M8100. Please advice if these are indeed equivalent.

here is a pic

IMG_20190127_125307.jpg
 

haisaikat

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While the tube rolling of Little Dot MK II preamp is underway and the discussion is moved to a new thread https://www.hifivision.com/threads/tube-rolling-in-little-dot-mk-ii-pre-amp.73829/#post-818542 I wanted to update everyone that I have recently also acquired another pre amp from OLX.

It's based on the Marantz 7 Diy tube preamp kit available online with some additional aesthetic improvement. Posting some pics below

The cabinet is solid metal on all sides except front where there is a 3/4th inch wood plank to give the wood finish front panel look. There are aluminium knobs with vu meters on the front. On the extreme left there is a power knob, next the 2 VU meters and then on right the volume knob and source selector knob.
IMG-20190302-WA0025.jpg

A closer look at the VU meters having aluminium borders around. Note the VU meters are back illuminated
IMG-20190302-WA0022.jpg

On the back panel there is the 3 input selector and dual output and power AC mains input
IMG-20190302-WA0021.jpg

Overall the weight is around 9kgs.

Comes with 1 rectifier tubes and 2 X 12ax7 Brimar CV 4003 as drivers and 1 X 12au7 Haltron 7025 as cathode follower.

Will post more details later.
 

haisaikat

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Initial impression of listening to the Diy M7 kit

The first thing to note is that the lows and bass is punchy and note authoritative but of course not overpowering. The vocals, especially male vocals seem to sound a bit warmer than the LD MK II and hence better. The treble is similar to tubes, a bit smooth but also has details. But I noticed a few anomalies, first if there are multiple instruments and female vocal at the same time the separation seems to be not that distinct, it may not be muffled but I think I am used to hearing more separation otherwise. Secondly in some tracks the female voice seems slightly held back but I am not completely certain on this aspect. May be I need some more A/B comparison on this aspect. Another thing I noticed is that when nothing is playing the default hum noise in the M7 kit is a tad higher than the LD. I recall 5he previous owner saying that the tubes have done close to 200-250 hours. Not sure if the rolling of tubes can help here.

Probably I will open a separate thread on suggestions for this one to improve further
 

haisaikat

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Got another preamp lately, and probably settling for this one. It is from a Gurgaon based company called Anode Acoustics. The line preamp is based on 12au7 Shuguang and comes with their own made transformer. Loving it so far, will post a review soon, it's a great upgrade

IMG-20190621-WA0007.jpg

IMG-20190621-WA0008.jpg

IMG-20190625-WA0011.jpg
 

MaSh

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Wow looks amazing. Congratulations.

Do share a link to their page and any contact details you might have.

MaSh
 

haisaikat

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Oh great. Has he showcased his stuff on any thread?

MaSh
Not yet, I think he cannot advertise as per forum rules. The official website launch is pending.

I will be now selling off the existing two tube preamps I have namely the little dot mk2 and the Marantz M7 based diy kit tube preamp. Will update the for sale section soon .
 
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newlash09

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Got another preamp lately, and probably settling for this one. It is from a Gurgaon based company called Anode Acoustics. The line preamp is based on 12au7 Shuguang and comes with their own made transformer. Loving it so far, will post a review soon, it's a great upgrade

View attachment 37017

View attachment 37018

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Wow...looks lovely haisaikat :)

Hearty congratulations on your new Pre amp. And please do post a review when ever you have the time. Enjoy :D
 

haisaikat

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Location
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For those who enquired about Anode Acoustics preamp, here is a link to their website which has contact details too http://anodeacoustics.in/

I will post my detailed impressions of the preamp here sometime next month.
 
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