Apt-Holman pre-amp

Who can comment on the sonic qualities of the
AUX section for CDs and Tapes.
(I'm not interested in the Phono section.)
The auxiliary section of the apt holman is as excellent as any I have heard labeled specifically for CD. I actually did a side by side comparison with a couple of high end hybrids and liked the clarity of the apt. I currently have a holman for sale and am only parting with it as I am trying a home theater set up. It has been a delightful reliable pre amp that I would not have changed as I really like the sonic qualities. Build quality is top notch.I also recently had the unit cleaned and checked and it is up to spec.You could pay gobs more and get less.
I hate to rain on the beginning of a parade here, but when I replaced an Apt-Holman preamp by a PS Audio 4.5, I felt that I'd finally discovered the world of high end audio--the 4.5 was SO much better! I admired the logic and clarity of the A-H manual, and the apparent build quality (though I have no reason to suppose that other than generic resistors and caps were used), but I think the designers were of the "test bench" school, not of the "listen as we finalize the design" school. I might say that I was primarily interested in the phono stage in those days, and it's conceivable that the A-H was good as a line stage preamp and just poor in its phono stage. I have trouble believing it, but can't rule it out.
I had an Apt Holman long time ago. I replaced it with an Audio Research SP-10 pre-amp. The difference was night and day. The Apt Holman does not have a stable image. You can not tell where a voice is coming from. I feel the Apt-Holman must have done a great job on the reviewers. I do not consider it to be close to high end now, particularly since already in 1987 when I purchased the SP10 the unit was significantly inferior.
i'm with dcaudio. i bought an original model apt-holman new in about 1979-80. even then, it was cosidered to be the sort of "good value" product sam tellig (the "audio cheapskate") would prefer. it was never on the cutting edge of the highend.
Within the past few days, I saw a PS Audio 6.0 on the 'net for $200.00. I owned one of these several years ago and it was quite good. I would highly recommend this piece.
The APT Holman, developed by Tomlinson Holman, the TH in THX, was a well designed piece of equipment that did a lot of things better than average, but never really excelled at any one thing. It was a very good utilitarian piece of audio equipment, but it is now sadly outdated. It would make a very nice preamp in a second system, but it is not anywhere near the reference quality equipment available today. It is a very good deal for a couple hundred bucks if it's in good shape. By the way, I owned one for almost 20 years, having sold it only two years ago. The Bryston BP25 which replaced it, admitedly at three times the APT's original cost, is far superior at resolving and playing music.
I also owned the Apt pre for over 20 yrs. I would agree with Madisonears that is was a very good piece of "utilitarian" audio equipment. Sound spectrum was very neutral from top to bottom and it had the dreaded "tone controls" that allowed correction of speaker/room deficiencies. Imaging and resolution were never it's strong points. For a tube preamp, try the Anthem Pre1L--new ones on sale by www.upscaleaudio.com for $579.
I have enjoyed all of the excellent feedback on the apt pre amp. I can agree with the utilitatian qualities of the apt and must also agree with the fact that it is obviously been outgunned by technology. I still think it is not a bad piece for $225.00 or so.
Still hard to beat for accuracy and neutrality. Phono stage still among the best. Tracking excellent. Distortion at limits of detectability, even after 35 years in service driving everything from Citation II to Macs to Parasound and many others that we have A-B'd in friends' homes.
Soundstage is excellent - the folks above who couldn't find the sound image must have been using the "expand" mode - 12:00 is stereo, 5:00 eliminates center channel, 7:00 is mono. That "Mode" knob is a great tool to "help" lousy recording engineering.
Superb shielding, one of the best at avoiding microphonics. Tone controls have defeat switch if you don't want them.
Doesn't have the "solid state" sound- it's a nice compliment to tube amps (auto mute on turn-on waits for your tubes to get going, too).
Pots and Mute button get noisy after time.
It was a great design in its day.  I had one, I bought it used when i was 16.  It was my first preamp and not a bad introduction to separates.  Then I replaced it  with a P.S. Audio 6.2 preamp which was a great preamp, and the first component I regretted selling.  I replaced it with a McIntosh C15 which was good , but I think I liked that PS better.  Don't get me wrong, the Apt was good but finding a nice one can be tough, and people ask too much for them in my opinion.  In hindsight I wish I still had the Holman because it is unique and super flexible.  I had the Apt 1 amp which I thought was pretty good also.  Another piece I wish I had kept.

Ironically the Apt had a very good phono stage, fairly adjustable.... so if you were looking for a classic pre with a good phono it might not be a bad choice.
17 years later....
a few years ago I used to upgrade the holman preamps.

They are old enough now that a full recap would be a good choice.
There are two short falls with the Holman pre amp.

1. a tiny power supply transformer
2. the TL072 texas instruments op amps.

Both can easily be corrected. Tons of choices out there now for dual op-amps. Same with transformers. I would normally leave the original in place and bring in the secondary wiring from the new transformer into the unit.
The apt pre also uses quite a few electrolytic caps to couple the stages together. These should all be bypassed with a film and foil cap.

And if you really want to go wild, you can Vishay the whole signal path resistors with the metal foil types.


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