anybody have a doshi pre to audition?

I live in new orleans and am considering upgrading from an ARC LS5 MKII or Dodd Battery Pre (I use both) with zyx artisan. I'm getting great sound but considering a major jump in the pre. then again with the economy I really want to hear a big leap here

I've spoken to nick, got the handshake down, but would really like to hear one

willing to drive 8 hours one way to hear one
or hop on a plane and pop in for a short audition if someone would be kind enough to host

then again my parents live in central Michigan
so maybe I should line it up with Nick's dealer in Ann Arbor.

Is anybody close?

Hi Tom- A bunch of us up here in southern New England have done a series of "pre-amp parties" where we have compared various phono/line stages, mostly using an early Doshi as a reference. Its a bit of haul from the Big Easy, but Southwest does fly into Hartford. I've got a Doshi, as does Doug Deacon who lives quite nearby. Dan_ed isn't too far and also Peterayer and MadFloyd and a couple of others whose monikers I forget (sorry guys). I'd be happy to host if you want to come up and meet the crew and listen to some different Doshi set-ups.
Hi Tom - Wow, it's really cool to hear you're still running with the LS5II. That says a lot about this great line stage.

I have gone through a few line and phono stages since the LS5/PH2 days. I'm now running with the New Aria WV5XL and a newly rebuilt Counterpoint SA-2 into the Aria's MM input. The tube regulated/rectified PS's in each of these products surely have much to do with the magic going on here. I would love to hear the Doshi preamp compared to this setup.

When you get a chance to hear the Doshi at a dealer or another A'gon member's setup, hopefully you will have one of your line stages to get a relative comparison. I'm eager to hear about your findings on this.

john - the ls5mkii is mostly on the sidelines for when I relocate and hopefully have a two story / with an upstairs all balanced system. thanks again for steering me that way and my local dealer is jumping for me to turn it in on trade, nope. it's great with the right power chord (richard gray gave me a chord connection), nos tubes and isolation (SRA VR stand).

the dodd - off the grid is a great pre
and I'm using it with a zyx artisan phono pre
but I know theres more - and I want to hear it

Swampwalker - i may just take you up on the offer
and I have a southwest voucher - I've flown into Long Island with them and caught the train into NYC - easier than the three NYC airports.

Doug has been such a great help, Dan_ed' comments got me to galibrier, and I've enjoyed yours as well. So it would be a real pleasure meeting all of you. Might make a side trip to Martha's, Cabe Cod, or the Upton Bass factory!
neat, thanks

then again if Larry at Parasound can lend me a demo to listen to with my own system - that would be ideal

you guys are always welcome to stop in to New Orleans
I'll show you the resolving aspects of my SRA CRAZ rack - my BEST sonic upgrade ever

Unfortunately, you are mistaken. I do not own a Doshi, but have had the pleasure of hearing one at Doug Deacon and Paul's house and MadFloyd just brought his to my house for an audition. It's a very good preamp, but I am currently enjoying Pass Labs' new solid state XP-20 preamp. You are correct about the active and wonderfully friendly group of Doshi owners in the New England area. There is quite a following up here.

Tom, you will not regret making the effort to come up for a visit.
When did Madfloyd get a Doshi Alaap? I see a thread he posted on 4/14/09 in which he was considering one but I thought they took several months to build. Did he find a used one or buy Larry's demo from Paragon?
Time to get some new reading specs, guys. There is a period between the two sentences. "I've got a Doshi, as does Doug Deacon who lives quite nearby. Dan_ed isn't too far and also Peterayer and MadFloyd and a couple of others whose monikers I forget (sorry guys). " However, I do believe that Madfloyd did buy a used Doshi recently.
I sit corrected. Dan_ed does have one, and I thought that is what you meant by naming the members in your posting all of whom have a Doshi except for me. I should read more carefully. I'm getting to the point where I may need bifocals, especially after using the MintLP tractor to align my cartridge. Sorry for the confusion.
NP. I've been using reading glasses for 20 years and had worked my way up to trifocals before going w progressives a few years ago. That's why I always ask Doug to help w the close up work; he's nearsighted and I'm really farsighted.
Hey guys, please let me jump in here. While I’m in the Midwest, not the North East, I very recently joined the Doshi fan club after acquiring an Alaap Line Stage.

My goal was to use the Alaap for auditioning purposes. It has served that purpose better than I could have imagined and my imagination was highly fueled before its receipt!

My first foray into a higher end preamp was a Supratek Chenin that I purchased in 2004 to mate with my newly purchased Galibier Quattro tt. In addition to the Tri-Planar tonearm, both pieces were purchased to support a return to vinyl after a 30-year hiatus of chasing “digital bliss”!? Not knowing how much I would gravitate to spinning vinyl (it’s now my software of choice), for the time and place, the Chenin served its purpose well.

However, I recently upgraded my amplification from CAT JL1’s to JL3’s and believed (in concurrence with Jafox’s sage advice), that the Chenin was the weak link between my Amps and Soundlabs. Indeed, within moments of connecting the Doshi, I’ve found that to be the case!

After connecting the Doshi, I had to also reconnect and reconfigure my brain’s sonic reference points. It was simply that different! But I instinctively knew that it was better! I just didn’t really know why or how!

Of its many sonic attributes, and it is across the board better than anything I’ve heard in my system, the most noticeable and appreciated difference is soundstage. Before, I thought I had one, but as I’m sure we’ve all found out, things we thought good in our systems, can oftentimes be changed for the better – the much better! And better it is!

My wife whose audio opinion I have come to value (but not one to critically listen for pleasure) is happy at my behest, to critique new hardware. Upon listening to the Doshi, she advised in a stunned tone, it’s 3-D. My thought by comparison to my previous reference, was essentially the same, it is painting an image more holographic than I’ve every heard (or should I say seen? [grin])!

I must admit that soundstage and imaging – especially highlighted by the new CAT’s -- were bugging me. Pronounced left and right information was coming more out of the front’s of the S/L’s rather than suspended in the space of the soundstage. Much to my happiness, that all changed with the insertion of the Doshi.

Although my audio room’s width is small (14’) and the S/L’s are big, they simply get out of the way of the presentation – disappearing like never before!

Instruments are now anchored in space. I’m not sure if that’s simply attributable to soundstage, or because sounds are coming from a much blacker blackness? My thought is both go hand in hand, so both are probably producing the end result.

Low level details are superb! I’ve never been so happy listening at low volume levels!

At low levels it’s all there, the bass, the nuances, and the dynamics. That was the biggest difference that I had to get used to. Because the soundstage and dynamics were so much better, low level passages were well,…lower level, but the more robust passages were also more robust.

I initially thought that I was missing something and after having my audiophile son over, he initially sensed the same thing. After going from studio performances to ones that were recorded live, we realized that the soundstage was sooo much broader and with a depth we weren’t used to, that the presentation seemed more laid back. After further discernment that wasn’t really the case. Not listening to a flat, much less dynamic presentation was playing tricks on our abilities to assess the differences the Doshi was bringing to bear on our listening status quo.

Three live performances and one symphonic one, enabled us to hone in on what the differences really were. These were Hugh Masakelia’s “Stimela” (the coal train song). It is one of my favorite reference recordings because it is very musical, but it has low level details, amazing dynamics, wonderful soundstage, great bass, and visceral vocal impact. Alison Krauss and Union Station’s live recording, and Eva Cassidy’s live at the blue note and Reference Recording’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” were others. The length of the gong’s decay at the start of the latter recording was simply astonishing.

Moreover, nuances on Stimela were wonderful, increasing the you-are-there feeling. This is a poignant piece about the use and movement of men in the coal mines of Johannesburg. I’ve never heard Hugh’s voice so expressive, exhibiting such angst. Part of this is because his voice is now firmly attached to a body. It has substance. I have found that the Doshi is presenting all well recorded vocals in this fashion.

Since my youth, I’ve always wanted to increase the volume of symphonic pieces to hear the more restrained passages, but in some cases, this made the crescendos either too loud or too compressed. Any measure of needing to do that has vanished with the Doshi! That’s a first, and until I heard it, I didn’t think it was possible in my home system.

It should be noted that my experiences with fine preamps is very limited, so unless I simply happened across one of the very best pre’s (and I have no reason to believe otherwise), my comments are not very easily related to other’s experiences with a much broader spectrum of component auditions. To help remedy that deficit, I obtained a well burned-in CAT ($10K) Renaissance last weekend. Upon placing it in the system and letting it warm-up sufficiently, both my wife and I were unexpectedly underwhelmed by what we heard.

Because of my positive experience with CAT Amps, and knowing of CAT’s preamp reputation, I figured that we would be hearing a competent contender. Differences were expected, but some of the positives found with the Doshi were also expected. With the CAT, those Doshi positives weren’t in evidence.

What we were presented with, was a return to a not so harmonically pleasing, much flatter soundstage. My wife and I thought it was Supratek like. My son the next day said the same thing. While I’m sure it was better than the Supratek, especially in the bass where it perhaps it also bettered the Doshi, none of us cared, because it lacked the Doshi’s positives of air, space and a wonderful portrayal of low level details.

I also stopped by a local high end, but mainstream audio dealer yesterday. He had a pair of the Magico floorstanders being driven by Mcintosh electronics. I had him spin Hugh Masakelia’s “Stimela”, and called my wife in for a sensibility check. After leaving, and comparing notes, she nor I were impressed!

We were unable to visualize the body behind the voice and the 3-D depth that we have quickly come to expect wasn’t in evidence. Was it the electronics, the speakers, the room, or simply because the Doshi wasn’t present? I would like to think the latter, but obviously, without an in home audition, I won’t be able to judge.

Whew, perhaps this posting should be placed in the review section. I’m just brimming with excitement about my experiences, and wanted to share, but I do have questions.

I need to ASAP acquire an outboard phono, or a multi-function pre-amp to get a fix for my vinyl addition. Based on my comments thus far, the Alaap is the logical choice, but the other preamp that has me very intrigued, is Mike Elliott’s Aria WV5.

Because of Mike’s legendary Counterpoint preamp designs, and because the tricked-out Aria is $3K less than the Doshi, I’m vacillating between the two.

Having both in my system would settle the debate, but that’s all but impossible! The Aria is new, and I don’t have the inclination to buy one simply for auditioning purposes; doing so with a used Alaap was more than enough to kick-in my risk aversion tendencies.

I know Jafox has an Aria, because he has shared his observations in an absorbingly detailed review here on the ‘gon.

Moreover, I believe John and I own the same amps and speakers, so his tastes and mine are assumably similar. In fact, I PM’ed John last night prior finding this thread, asking him if had any experience with the Doshi or knew anyone who had experience with both the Doshi and the Aria.

Seeing that John is scratching his head above, about the same question as I, but in reverse, I believe I already have my answer. Nevertheless, John: if you’re reading this, please don’t let my assumption prevent you from chiming-in either herein, or via a response to my PM. As I mentioned in my PM, I believe you have much broader and deeper auditioning experiences in this hobby, and I would greatly appreciate your assessments.

So, as Tom (Auditomb) who began this thread, I too would love to hear a preamp -- only because I’ve heard the Doshi line stage, I would love to be able to compare it to the Aria line. More interestingly still, would be phono comparisons.

Sigh, I’m interested in buying something as soon as I can! But I would prefer getting these questions answered, or at least sorted out before committing.

I probably couldn’t go wrong with either product, but preferences and system synergy being what they are, and the price of admission being what it is; I’m experiencing a real conundrum! Comments, assistance, direction, and suggestions are welcomed.

PS. While composing this, I’m listening to Dr. John’s, Duke Elegant CD, and had to pause it, to have my wife listen. The instrument separation, tonality and bass licks on “Perido Street Blues” are nothing” like I’ve every experienced! My chair is back about 12’ from the Soundlabs, the lights are on and my eyes open, but there are no speakers in the room, only a stage – amazing!

Cheers to all,

damn Mike,

after reading your thoughful and engaging review I was ready to cut Doshi/Larry a check to start building one!
nice job, thanks
So it must have been you that bought the linestage that was listed here on Audiogon. I'm glad you find it so satisfying. Ask others but I would recommend staying with Doshi for a phono based on what I've heard. Nick's power supplies are said to work best together. I'm sure the Aria's great but probably not near the match for your preamp that another Doshi product would be. I'm strongly considring the Doshi phono/linestage myself versus the Allnic H3000/L4000 combination. Decisions decisions.
Hi all,

Peter, thanks for a very nice time the other day! If we do this again I'll dispense with the Garmin and follow how I know to drive out to the coast. Maybe then I would have the time to have heard Alan's H20. That was my first experience with Eggleston speakers. Very nice indeed!

I keep hearing about the lack of bass with an Alaap. Frankly, I don't get it at all but I suppose we all have different points of reference.

Don't kid yourselves! Dave Grisman, Spooky Tooth, Porcupine Tree, Audioslave, Doc Watson, Tool, etc., all sound damn fine through my Alaaps. Loud or soft. I see between 12 and 20 live shows a year. The Doshi Audio Alaap separates and mod'd amp combine very well with my 110+ dB horns to allow me to re-experience those live performances at will. Except for the ad-lib stuff of course.

Mrmb, Mike, hopefully something will work out for you soon. I have my fingers crossed ;-)

Audiotomb, if you ever get up here to New England we'll throw you one hell of a party!
Indeed Sonofjim, it was me that purchased the line stage, I just couldn't decide to pull the $13K trigger on the full-function without hearing the "Doshi" sound!

Dan_ed, it has been good PM'ing, and thanks for the best wishes! It's nice to know that we have Galibier and Thom Mackris in common. He's the real deal!

Although over a thousand miles apart, I and my family have had the distinct pleasure of having Thom over to the house twice. Initially, when he was towing a table to the east coast for review and last year when he was on an out-of-town assignment here and ironically enough at my former employer’s. They were my former employer before the business was broken-up and sold. 15-years ago, I wasn't too keen being sold by G.M., but the business that bought us is flourishing; time has a way of changing feelings like that (grin).


I'll contact Larry, see if he has the loaner

then consider my options,
any fests or music things going on to entice a weekend trip your way. I'd really like to meet the gang
so many of you have been so helpful to me
and my system quest - you have no idea
living vicariously through your posts, shoot outs and gear acquisitions

it's going to be hot here during or after jazzfest
this weekend and next
an escape class after may be in the cards!

damn damn damn

just missed out on a used Doshi listed here

looks like it's time to give Larry a call
snagged one second hand, as well as a BAT VK600 amp
will have Nic do a few minor mods to it
(phono pre out for 24/96 analog recording)

can I still come up in Conneticut and hang with the gang?

Hi Tom,

that should make for a good combination. Two of my favorite makes, although I never owned BAT amps. I still have my VKD5-SE CDP whose sound always makes me happy. Even if things don't end up working out with the Alaap for you, I'm sure the Connecticut folks will welcome you, as I would up here in New Hampshire.
I would also listen to the Shindo preamps which have been universally praised (I own one and so does Art Dudley) if you can find a dealer close enough to you. Call Jonathan Halpern at Tone Imports who is an absolute gentleman. He hopefully should be able to arrange an audition. Of course, then the choice is yours. Both preamps are great (i.e. Bentley vs. Ferrari).
Aronsss, do you have any information on how a Shindo sounds compared to a Doshi Alaap?
anybody coming to the big easy - my doors and some non tourist better options are always there