I have listened extensively to the T+A 1230R and the a1530 amp and they are exceptional for the money. Both the preamp and the A1530 amp are engaging, involving, smooth and listenable. I have owned or listened to Levinson, Naim, Belles, Bat, CJ solid state,ARC, Linn, Krell EVO and others and I believe the T+A to be as good or better than the best of them.
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As the lead designer for Synergistic Research I have the opportunity to hear much of the state-of-the-art gear on the market today including my prior $18,000 three-box vacuum tube pre-amp. Notice I say "prior", since installing a 1230r preamp in our reference system I have never looked back. This pre amp is totally transparent and capable of presenting music with its full speed and inner detail unlike any other pre-amp I have ever heard- without spending a small fortune (think 20k plus). This pre-amp is so good that I could not have voiced my current Tesla Series cables without the 1230r. It allows me to hear what is really on a recording and this in turn allows me to make successive improvements to my cables during the development stage. The size of it's sound stage, the air it is capable of presenting, the quality of it's low frequencies, and it's mid range purity are breathtaking. By contrast, other pre amps sound slow and constricted in the highs and lows masking inner detail and compressing the sound stage. And when compared to "detail" electronics the T+A 1230r has a mid-range "bloom" and musicality that leaves it's competition sounding "hi-fi" in their presentation.
Of course all electronics (and cables) are system dependent so you should definitely give this pre-amp a listen in your system with one word of advise- if you are going to try this preamp you'll need to give it at least 150 hours of uninterrupted play time, without turning it off before it starts to blossom. During the break-in period the highs begin to take on an effortless transparency and the mid-range becomes as smooth and layered as the most expensive sold state gear on the market. Cold out of the box this pre amp will sound somewhat bright and mechanical until it breaks in and settles down.
I have nothing to gain by advocating this company and it's products but as a music lover first and foremost I feel compelled to share what has been for me one of a handful of components that has transformed my listening experience after nearly 20 years in the business.
Yours in music,
Ted Denney Lead Designer Synergistic Research Inc.
I have spent many years with tube electronics always feeling shorted by the musical experience of nearly all solid state electronics. While some solid state preamps sound good with popular music,the T+A 1230r is the first solid state preamp that I have heard that allows classical music to be presented in a rich natural involving way, unraveling recordings with information but always presenting the tonal balance fairly.
Yes, a friend has both the amp and preamp you mention along with their SACD player. Very nice with his Dynaudio speakers. I have a TAD-150 pre that we inserted into his rig just for kicks and to use the phono stage to listen to albums. I expected the TAD to warm up his system and increase the soundstage as it did mine going from a Forte F44 pre, it didn't. Soundstage and great mid range were already present with the T+A. The amp drove the Dyns with seemingly no effort. Build quality is top notch also.
Details of this preamp from the distributor's site:
I have no first hand experience with this preamp, just trying to help out my fellow high-end audio junkies.
The Quartet Group distributes T+A in the U.S.
Call Stirling @ 707.762.0914. He is most helpful.
As remarkable as the P 1230 R is, the A 1530 amplifier is even more astonishing. The price/performance factor of these products must be an embarrassment to many recently annointed über amps.
I have no financial or promotional relationship with T+A whatsoever.
I'm just seriously thinking of replacing my own electronics with T+A just like Ted Denney of Synergistic Research who kindly turned me onto T+A during one of our phone conversations.
Take a listen. I think you'll be impressed.