Any VAC CPA-1 preamp owners here?

I have just purchased a VAC CPA-1 MKIII w/phono upgrades here on Audiogon.
I am hoping there are some other owners of this preamp here to exchange information and experience.
Especially would like to know what tubes you are using, and what tweaks have been found to get the most from this preamp.

I hope there is some owners out there, my search did not bring up much information.. in fact, there is not much on the net period about this preamp.
There must be someone else who is using one of these?
Please contact my friend, Michael Phelps - Audiogon username Sufentanil. I believe he had this model, and I've listened to it several times in one of his former systems.

I'd give my own personal perspectives, but his opinion would be far better informed.
I appreciate the reference.

Thank you
Anyone else have information about this preamp?
I am hoping to find current users also.
04-19-09: Rich121
There must be someone else who is using one of these?

Yes, but what are the odds that someone who owns a vintage preamp such as this would also be perusing the threads on AudiogoN? Unfortunately, slim to none. I've found that most threads here are for more recent gear. Everyone wants to know who heard the new kid on the block, not about older gear. Just like Entertainment TV tends to focus on younger, hotter looking people over older folks.

Also, owners of vintage gear are usually busy enjoying the music and not typically surfing the web.

Nothing personal, it's just human nature, but it also explains your inability to find much info anywhere on the web. Sorry, I know this isn't much help, but it may help explain your lack of answers.

Hm.. not my experience here or on other forums at all.

I have participated in many a thread involving "vintage" gear... in fact here there was a long one involving Fidelity Research arms.
I also frequent AudioAsylum, where much of what is talked about is vintage.
I don't see a correlation between "new" gear versus "vintage" gear and surfing the web????

Your post does not make much sense to me...

One of the main reasons people come to audiogon is to sell/buy gear....


Yes, the reason most folks come here to AudiogoN is to buy/sell gear, I agree.

However, how else can you explain your comment in the original post?

I hope there is some owners out there, my search did not bring up much information.. in fact, there is not much on the net period about this preamp.

You may not notice that newer gear gets much more press on the web than vintage gear.....but you are only fooling yourself.

I originally replied only out of my respect for VAC gear, which I own and enjoy. I'm sure your CPA-1 mk III is a great preamp, and a steal for the price. I'd recommend looking for some Pope or Amperex Bugle Boy 12AX7's, and maybe 12AU7's too. I'm a fan of Amperex, though I do like Siemen's and Telefunken's too. Mullard's are a bit too warm for me. I'd also recommend a Amperex white label PQ 7308 for your 6DJ8 tube, and of course I'd recommend some Herbie's Tube, about the power cord.....I digress.

Hi Rick,

I tend to agree with John. There is not that much info on VAC products and by experience not a lot of audiophiles are well acquainted with this excellent brand.

I have a Standard LE preamp. It was designed back when your CPA MKIII was made available on the market. If I presume the same sonic signature was implemented in both preamps, I would then conclude that your unit is quite transparent with a lot of focus and details. Imaging would be it's main strength but warmth would be its downside. Am I right ?

If so, I would immediately say that your unit must very sensitive to tubes rolling as mine is. And both preamps seem to have the same tube complement. John did give you good basic recommendations. You could also have a look at Joes tube lore for more info on 12AX7 and AU7 tubes:

Personnally, I prefer a warm sound so black plated 5751s NOS Sylvania or GE JHS combined with RCA Clear tops or Valvo in the AU7 positions did the job on my Standard LE. Radio technique AU7s were an excellent alternative and not very expensive. Generally speaking, I found 12AX7 tubes had too much gain and were too bright for my taste in my Standard LE.

Hope this can help you !

Regards !
I just thought there must be something in the archives about this preamp.

Every piece of equipment I own I thoroughly researched on the net first.

I am assuming that there were not alot of these preamps built.

I do appreciate everyones posts, even though I did sound a little defensive earlier, I just was confused why I could fnd information on everything else I have looked for, rare or not, but the CPA-1 seems to be quite elusive.

I also appreciate the tube recommendations, I have printed "Joe's Tube Lore" and hopefully I can find some excellent AND affordable tubes.

Can I get some recommendations where to buy tubes? I only had to purchase 6922's before, so Kevin at Upscale was all I ever needed to purchase from. I think I'm going to need a much wider base to choose from.

Again, I really do appreciate the effort in posting to me, and hope that more communication can be had.

Have a great evening!

Andy at Vintage Tube Services is your man.
Have a look at this :

I found out I could look for a lot of alternatives in my search for quality tubes. And saved a lot of money by deviating from the big names (brands and dealers).

Be patient in your shopping....and have fun !
>Every piece of equipment I own I thoroughly researched on the net first.<

Sounds like this time you are a little late on the research......

"Sounds like this time you are a little late on the research......"

too much free time?

or just unresolved childhood issues?
Well... maybe someone out there owns one and can talk with me?
Hi Rich,

Give Kevin Hayes a call at Vac,I have found him to be very helpful.

Thanks Roger, I did just that before I purchased it. I just wanted to talk with some owners also and get their feel for the preamp and some "unofficial" tips and possible tweaks.

Hey Rick... any follow up on this thread? Ever get a sound that you liked? I am interested in VAC products as well but it is not like I am swimming in cash. Used would be the only way I could go.
Rick, I see that you are now selling this preamp. I find it interesting that after all this research and upgrades from VAC, that you only listened to the preamp for a week. It's been in storage for almost 3 years???
Am I to assume that you did not care for it?

Did you sell this pre-amp?