Anyone listen to Octave 500SE or Jubilee preamps?

Has anyone any experience with Octave's Jubilee preamp or HP 500SE?
I have the Octave HP500SE and have autioned the Jubilee preamp as well. I can say that they are both close in character, with the Jubilee exhiting a more frontal presentation versus the 500SE's more 5th or 6th row presentation. The 500SE I won has both a MM/MC phono stage and XLR outputs and a remote also. The Jubilee has both XLR inputs and outputs but no remote and a lower signal to noise ration than the 500SE. The Jubilee has a low output impedence of 30ohms and the 500SE has an output impedence of 100ohms. I am running a pair of custom made Neotech interconnects with extremely low capacitance (3.5 meters long) to the amplifiers with no problem and the gain switch is on low not high on the preamp.

In the time I have owned the 500SE, going on 4 years now, absolutely no problems. I changed all tubes last year with original factory tubes because of the amount of playtime I have with the 500SE (6,000 hours). I used the built in phono amp of the 500SE for a while until I bought the Aesthetix IO Sig which mates very well with the 500SE.

They are both very good in performance in scale of musical details, with very intimate resolution capabilities. Whatever you provide for a source, they will reproduce that signal as pure as it can be. I once had a pair of Bryston 4BSST's mated to this preamp (500SE) and I was floored by the amount of bass capability that shot to my B&W800s, just awesome. I became a total tube nut, traded in the Brystons and bought the MRE130's and never looked back.

I did not notice anything extreme with my audition of the Jubilee compared to the 500SE, I guess that is why I still have the 500SE. They are both capable of wide frequency response and accurate musical reproduction. But the minor difference is that the Jubilee portrays a soundstage more in your face and can cause the music to seem more intimate in some cases, there where no vast differences in details that I can remember. I believe that the Jubilee added a little more sheen to trumpets and sax work, but I do not remember.

Octave has used the 500SE in the High End Show for years mating them to the Jubilee mono amps, go figure, but they are doing it and for some good reason I guess. I truly believe that the 500SE is one of the best cost/performance tube preamps at this cost point.

It is too bad that the Octave products never made it to the states yet, that might change if I get my business plans in order.

let me know if you have additional questions.


Did you compare the 500SE to other tube preamp?

Thank you very much for your detailed post.

Yes, I did compare the 500SE to the Einstein preamp. That was a great sounding preamp with a different flavor of soundstage, also more closer then the 500SE. Right off the Einstein had substantially more bass then the 500SE, I am not sure, I think that we used the balanced cables on this configuration and the fact that the Einstein uses different tubes. I could live with the Einstein if I did not have the 500SE already. The Einstein is priced failry close to the Octave with phono stage in Germany. My next preamp to try will be the Aesthetix Callisto Signature. Have not had a chance to compare that with anything yet.