Hooper - how is it that you can bypass the tube? I own a Decco and have used it both as an integrated and as a preamp with an external amp but in both cases the tubed preamp section is being used.
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Ah, thanks. You're right, that's not possible on the Decco.
I have tried both a Tungsram and a Telefunken in the Decco and can't say there is a huge difference. The Telefunken is in there now. It's pretty inexpensive to pick up NOS single 6922's or 7308's and give it a try.
The only other tweak I've done to the Decco is to apply a few coats of dark red fingernail polish to the LED under the preamp tube so that it glows orange rather than garish yellow.
I have the Nova as well and have been using it for about a month and I agree with you that I have not really been able to ascertain a difference between the tube and the solid state outputs on the pre-amp. I was hoping that the tube would give a slight warmth particularly in the mids, but I have not felt that it has achieved the degree of warmth I was expecting.
My understanding is that there is a mod in the works for a tube swap, but I am unsure of which tube is being considered and if it is in conjunction with any other cap replacement.
I am only using the unit as a preamp, a dac, and on rare occasions as a headphone amp. I am pleased with the dac performance particularly from red-book cds, but not quit as impressed with its performance on the files from the computer or the IPod. Let me know if you find out a good alternative to the existing 6922.