Joseph Chow is a truly gifted engineer, as is reflected in the quality of his products. I own the TP 2.0. It replaced a $16,000 preamp of great reputation, but in my system the TP 2.0 simply outperformed it. Don't let the modest price lend you to believe it is not a high end preamp. It is! Why not take advantage of the audition priviledge and see for yourself. Like many others, you might be most pleasantly surpised. Happy Listening.
His Transparency IC,power and speaker cables are the best I have ever owned. He modded a Tandberg tuner and it sounded better my $6800 CD player. Yes, his stuff is first rate.
I own a TP 2.0B. It is a superb preamp. Joseph Chow, the owner of Audio Horizons, offers a number of upgrades. If you have a balanced system, I suggest you audition a unit with upgraded transformers. Like Gamecock, I replaced a more costly preamp with the TP 2.0B. The Audio Horizons preamp was far superior. I've had a number of transactions (upgrades, etc.) with Joseph. He is entirely reliable and shows a remarkable insight into audio systems.
I can't vouch for Joseph's new product line(although I'm considering his TP 2.0), but Mr. Chow recently turned my sow's ear 1972 Citation 14 tuner into a remarkable silk purse. I am in awe of how transformed musically this tuner has become. It is truly world class now. This man, Joseph Chow, works magic on tuners. I'm a very happy camper.
My relationship with Joseph Chow began when he resurrected a Kenwood L-01T from the dead. Like Sherod, I was stunned at the improvement his repair and upgrade wrung out of that tuner. Joseph is an expert on circuit design and signal transfer, his forte being able to dramatically reduce the noise floor, and this is reflected in all of his products. He recently upgraded an Esoteric UX-1 for me, and again I am amazed at the sonic improvement he achieved while at the same time preserving all of its functions, including multichannel capability. This in a unit that retails for $13,000! To me, this may be his singular greatest achievement thus far. I cannot recommend Joseph and Audio Horizons highly enough. His products (and upgrades) are truly state of the art, all at what I consider to be very modest prices. Do yourself a favor and check him out. With his free home audition program, you really have nothing to lose. Happy Listening.
Hi Gamecock. I'm curious what amplifier and speakers you are using with the TP 2.0 preamp? I am considering strongly Mr. Chow's preamp and I'm then going to buy a tube amp to match it for driving my Reference 3A Dulcet mini-monitors. Thanks, Sherod
Hello Sherod, I am currently using the TP 2.0 with Pass Labs XA-160 monoblocks to drive a pair of Alon Phalanx loudspeakers. To let you know, Joseph is currently working on vacuum tube monoblocks to mate with the 2.0. They should be available later this year, and I plan on buying a pair.
Joseph's new amps sound appealing. If and when you buy them, a brief review would be appreciated. In the meantime, I am interested in his TP 2.0 preamp. It is difficult to understand how this less than $2000.00 preamp can blow away a $16,000.00 preamp like the First Sound; that's a $14,000.00 price difference. I had a brief e-mail communication with Victor, Joseph's translator and marketing man, and Victor told me that the TP 2.0 comes with stock Electro Harmonix 6922's and highly recommended upgrading them myself should I decide to keep the preamp with some good NOS 6922 like Siemens E88CC. Gamecock, have you upgraded the 6922 tubes in your preamp? I'm curious what power cord you use on it as well since Victor was pushing Joseph's on me to buy along with the preamp. Thanks for the input. I hate to bother you as I can try the preamp on my own with the knowledge that they offer a 30 day money-back return policy, which is kind of rare in today's market.
No one was more amazed than myself at the performance of the TP 2.0. The noise floor was much lower, channel separation better, soundstage wider and deeper, bass punchier than my previous preamp. There was a humanity to the music that few other components in my experience can achieve. In fact, the measured specs rival those of many high-end solid state preamps. Truly remarkable since the 2.0 employs vacuum tubes. As to the tubes, I had purchased several matched pairs of NOS Siemens E188CC gold pins several years ago to use in my previous preamp. I am using them in the 2.0. I also have the EH 6922's that come with the preamp, and really they are pretty good. I'm not sure I would ever again spend the exhorbitant amount some of these NOS tubes are commanding these days. As to power cords, I am using Joseph's Transparency cords exclusively in my system. They replaced some very highly regarded power cords. Please e-mail me privately and I'll identify which ones. For the record, I am merely an enthusiatic fan of Joseph and his products. I try to promote his efforts whenever I can, but receive no compensation whatsoever other than a hearty "thank you". I am constantly amazed at the level of performance he achieves at relatively modest prices, and he and Victor are completely straightforward people to deal with. Anyone interested in the Audio Horizons products should not hesitate to take advantage of the 30 day money-back return policy.
I just ordered the TP 2.0n preampifier( with the upgraded Hovland caps) and should receive it in a few days. I also ordered the new VAC Auricle Musicblocs to drive my Dulcet speakers. I'll keep you posted on its performance. Thanks for all your personal feedback on your systems gentlemen.I would also like to mention that Victor has been unbelievable in answering some of my questions. Very prompt responses with incredibly detailed and lengthy replies. I am very impressed with Victor's professionalism and the time and consideration he has given me.
I received my TP 2.0 preamp a little over a week ago.
All I can say is, it has no right to sound this good, esp. at the ridiculous low price !
You owe it to yourself for the 30 day audition, what's to lose ?
(the only thing I lost was my current reference preamp)
It continues to impress me with its realism, stark contrasts, natural warmth and sheer quietness.
Each day more magic eminates from my speakers since the TP 2.0 was inserted into the chain.
These are initial impressions after a week, it's getting better as it continues break-in and settles into my system.
I'll post a mini review later down the road.
Joseph Chow is the most honest, friendly gentleman I had the pleasure meeting.
His design is genius, I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out how the heck he did it.
The TP 2.0 is a winner in my book, it stays on the rack shelf.
What preamp did the TP 2.0 replace in your system?
I have read that the Counterpoint SA-5000A was considered one of the best when introduced, Very expensive as well. Peter Moncrieff of IAR praised it very highly. The TP-2.0 must be pretty special. I can't wait to get mine. I've already ordered some NOS Siemens E188CC tubes to pop in it for even better sonics. Happy Listening. By the way, have you tried any of Joseph's cables? I just got in a few days ago his Premium power cord and I have to be honest, it's pretty amazing.
The TP 2.0 is destined to become a classic preamp.
I never in my life thought it could sound this amazing.
As far as cabling goes, well, I'm pretty cabled up for now with Shunyata power and Cardas cables.
I'm very content with the provided Siemens that came with my unit.
For my system, they strike the perfect balance between detail and warmth.
You're gonna love this preamp.
Your comments about the Audio Horizons TP 2.0 certainly correspond to my experience of it. Joseph Chow does so many things so well that I am a little reluctant to say so. Audiogoners may think I am exaggerating or profiting from my remarks, neither of which is true. But I cannot resist inviting audiophiles to find out for themselves by using the trial program. I think those who try the preamp, the tube DAC, and the cables made by Audio Horizons will very much want to keep them. I did.
Cedar & Gamecock,
What other preamps have you compared it to?
Cedar, what else is in your system? Thx,
Hello Sbank, please e-mail me privately and I will tell you.
A few more days pass, the TP 2.0 settles further into my system, with fully developed harmonics, solid imaging and an open, holographic depth of stage you can see into, extending to the back wall.
It has a tube sound and liquid texture to the overtones, very addictive.
All I could ask for in a simple, one-box solution, I'm a happy camper as y'all can tell by now.
Late night listening is a real gas.
I've answered your first question privately. The rest of my system includes:
Coincident Tech Super Eclipse III loudspeakers
VTL Signature MB 185 monoblock amps
Audio Horizons TP 3.0 tube DAC
Levinson #37 transport (extensive upgrades by Joseph Chow)
VPI Aries II turntable
K&K Audio phono preamp
power cords & interconnects by Audio Horizons
I would like to give a brief initial impression of the Audio Horizons TP 2.0n preamp. I have the "n" upgrade, which is $250.00. This includes the better, larger Hovland caps and some further quieting in the power supply. I just got my amps in yesterday, so I was only able to hook up the preamp this morning, in fact, just an hour ago, so the preamp and rest of the system haven't even broken in. It takes at least 60 hours for the preamp to fully break-in. The overall sound at this initial juncture, is very good. My system sounds very musical with a pure and clean presentation. I am very impressed with just this initial listening. My next update will be sometime next week after full break in. My entire system is brand new to to me. It currently consists of:
Amp: VAC Auricle Mono Musicblocs
Preamp: Audio Horizons TP 2.0n
Speaker: Reference 3A Dulcet mini-monitors w/ Sound Anchor stands
Speaker cables: PS Audio Extreme Reference(newest version)
Interconnects: Von Gaylord Chinchilla and Legend VI
Power cords: Mix of Electraglide and Audio Horizon
Sherod, with all respect, considering every element of your system is new, how can you separate out and evaluate the performance of one component...any component...in your entirely new system?
Well, Grant, I can't. They are new to me in that I haven't heard them all together. The units themselves are all broken in( including cables) with the exception of the preamp,which is brand new. So I can't say that the preamp sounds good in and of itself and I don't have another preamp to pop in and do a comparison to eliminate preamps, but the overall sound is much better than I previously had( which by the way consisted of a Stratos Extreme amp). It's probably a sum of its parts thing. All I know is that at this point, whatever the 2.0n preamp is contributing, it's certainly making some very nice sounding music. Thanks for pointing that out, Grant, with all due respect.
I forgot to mention that my sources for listening are the McCormack UDP-1 universal player and a highly modded H/K Citation 18 tuner. No phono at this time. I sold my Linn Sondek a few years ago(dumb mistake), but I do have a very extensive LP collection that counts in the hundreds. Once system has fully broken in, I'll be experimenting with cabling to fine tune the sound. Being a cable freak, I have tons of cabling to experiment with.
Well folks. I know you're all waiting in anticipation on an update on the sound of my new Audio Horizons 2.0n preamp. You're going to have to wait a bit longer, because I just popped in some NOS Siemens Cca tubes and it needs some further play time now to break in more. I can say that this preamp, in conjunction with the other components, is sounding very musical and I'm really enjoying the music. This is by far the best-sounding system I've ever put together on a decent budget without breaking the bank. I am sending my main tuner( a primary source of listening for me) to Joseph Chow for a slight mod next week. I'm currently experimenting with a variety of cabling to further fine-tune my system. So far, my speaker cable of choice is the AZ Satori, but by next week, I'm going to put the PS Audio Reference back in for a final decision. I'm also going to experiment with a few power cords on the preamp over the weekend to get the right sound I'm looking for. I just ordered some NOS E82cc(12au7), Mullard and Siemens, to put in my mono amps for some fun tube rolling. My goal is within the next few weeks to have the system fine-tuned where everything clicks in. Then I'm going to post my virtual system and enjoy the music for a while. I'm very pleased with the service and communication that Victor and Joseph have given me. Victor actually rewired my power outlets at no charge. This is such a fun hobby! (~:
I've looked forward to reading your update. I'm glad to learn that all goes well. My system, too, has never sounded better. There is only one point in your report about which I may be able to suggest improvement. I see you haven't tried Joseph's speaker cables. They are excellent. I've been using them for months in my system. Break in time is pretty quick (40-50 hrs). I find two characteristics about these cables most striking. First, the tonal balance is wonderful - top to bottom there are no dull or hot frequencies. Second, the noise floor on them is very low. I was a Beta tester for Josph's cables; I heard the improvements in sound quality (via lower noise floor) he made in them. Of course, I also heard the great improvement in sound quality over the other cables I used previously.
So, I recommend that you give them a try.
Thanks, Cedar, for the recommendation on Joseph's speaker cables. I intend to try them, but I currently have three sets of speaker cables that I'm trying to narrow down to only one that I like the best and then I will order a set of Joseph's to do a final comparison. I also have his interconnects on my list to try, but same thing currently having several interconnects to find the best for comparison to Joseph's. I do have both Joseph's power cords and they are both in my main and 2nd systems. I have a lot of projects planned. My 1st is to have Joseph fine-tune my main tuner. I'm glad that you are enjoying Joseph's products. Keep in touch.
I have found that either I have defective Siemens E188CC tubes or they don't work well in tube placement 1 and 3 in the 2.0 preamp. The Siemens Cca and E88CC sound much better there.
I have found that either I have defective Siemens E188CC tubes or they don't work well in tube placement 1 and 3 in the 2.0 preamp. The Siemens Cca and E88CC sound much better there.
In my experience using Siemens CCa, E188CC, and E88CC tubes in my preamp, other than some subtleties among these tubes, one tube type should not sound so different than the others to the extent that the E188CC seems defective. I'd say based on your comment that you do indeed have defective E188CC tubes.
Yes, Grant. That's what I have read as well. There are very subtle differences between the Cca and E88CC, but the E188CC sounds way off, a bit down in volume and disjointed soundstage, almost like an out-of-phase sound. I bought these on Ebay. Too bad we've already exchanged positive feedback, and the guy's in Germany. On Ebay, you take your chances and this time I lost. This should be a lesson to buy directly from qualified tube dealers.
Here's my opinion of the Audio Horizons TP 2.0 preamp after a solid two months.
My room is filled with clear, live, authoritive music !
I gave up trying to find any sonic weakness in an evaluation, I'm just getting too much enjoyment listening and forgetting the equipment.
My TP 2.0 rests on 4 Herbies Tenderfeet with the Gabon Ebony balls and Teflon Halo rings around each of the 4 tubes.
I never heard my music on such a level of stark realism, and this is with my smallish back-up speakers !
You owe it to yourself to check this one out.
Joeseph Chow is to be commended for designing such a wonderful product, he really deserves a lot more recognition.
More to follow later.
I too am very pleased with the Tp 2.0 preamp. Joseph Chow is extremely gifted. I have only had the preamp for a little over two weeks, but each day it seems to get better. The clarity, transparency, dynamics, harmonics, tonal balance,timbre,soundstage,presentation of voices,etc. is the best I have ever experienced with any preamp, mostly solid state. I fell in love with the sound of tubes when I was a young man and it looks like I'll stay with tubes now until I'm an old man. The preamp is so revealing that it very easily shows both the weaknesses and strengths of the cables and power cords used with it. I am so pleased with Joseph's work that I'm sending my last tuner to him to have him work his magic on it. This tuner, a Citation 18, was recently modded by a very reputable tuner modifier, and in this version, it pales in comparison to the Citation 14 tuner that Joseph modded for me last month. I'm still undecided on Joseph's power cords. I am having very good results, however, with his budget Premium cord on my tuner. I just got in some older and supposedly better e88cc tubes that I'm going to drop into the preamp for evaluation, but I'm so happy with the present sound that I've procrastinated doing it. Stay tuned for more developments...
Sherod and Rx8man,
As you know, Joseph has created an upgrade path in the design of the Audio Horizons preamp. To which configuration of the Audio Horizons preamp are you listening? Are you using the TP 2.0nB?
Mine is the n version which has the added noise filter on the power supply and the upgraded Hovland caps. Victor tried to talk me into the balanced mode, but I decided to hold off on that as my monoblocs are unbalanced. I did upgrade the e88cc tubes to Siemens, early 60's, which made a nice improvement.
I have the 'I' version with the noise filter, Hovland caps, upgraded transformers, Siemens falcon logo tubes, but not the extra XLRs.
The 2.0 uses 6DJ8 tubes correct? How many?
Anyone have a tape loop installed?
4 tubes (two per channel) of the 6DJ8 / 6922 / 7308 variety.
I'm sure that if you wanted to try a version of the TP 2.0 preamp Joseph would be happy to include a tape loop. Contact Victor at Vcomerchero@aol.com.
I'm curious if anyone has had a chance to compare the Tp 2.0 preamp to one of the much talked about preamps from down under, the Supratek.
I gave the wrong e-mail address for Victor in above post. It's actually Vcomerchero@sbcglobal.net
In an earlier post I mis-identified my version of the Audio Horizons preamp. I have the TP 2.0nB with Seimens tubes (i.e., more internal shielding, Hovland caps, premium output transformers). Except for my power amplifiers, I now have an Audio Horizons line extending from my transport to my loudspeakers. Joseph has developed a new balanced digital interconnect that sounds terrific between my transport and the Audio Horizons TD 3.0 tube DAC. In addition, I'm using his balanced interconnects from DAC to Preamp and from preamp to power amp. I've also migrated to the Audio Horizons speaker cables.
Last weekend, a couple of local audiophiles asked to listen to my system. They are SET, high efficiency horn aficionados. My loudspeakers are cone configuration. The general conclusion was that my system played the full spectrum of music (classical, jazz, blues, rock, acoustic, electronic, instumental, vocal, soloist, small ensemble, orchestra) beautifully. I've had systems that did one thing or another very well. This system - the Audio Horizons equipment - distinguishes itself by playing all kinds of music wonderfully well.
The other audiophiles and I agreed to gather some more people together in order to compare several preamps. Probably, we'll use another system. I'm very interested to see the impact of the TP 2.0 in other systems than my own. I hope we will get together within the next few weeks. I'll keep you posted.
Thanks for the info Cedar. I look forward to the TP 2.0 preamp evaluation in other systems. Mine is sounding very nice right now. I think I've got the right mix of NOS Siemens E88cc tubes in it. I'm curious what sonic differences the upgraded transformers make compared to the stock ones.
Since this is a technical question, let me answer. The main improvement in installing the line output transformers and the line input transformers is several dB of improved S/N and increased transparency. In conjunction with the "n" upgrade, the "B" upgrade increases the 2.0's S/N from -105 dBv to -115 dBv. The added quietness improves microdetail retrieval and produces a more relaxed and rich textured midrange. In addition it produces a more controlled and punchier low end, more dynamic responsiveness, and a more open and transparent sound. The improvment is not subtle. The more expensive transformers used in the 'B" upgrade as opposed to the "b" upgrade are larger and have metal housings and as such have better noise suppression and better low end control and dynamic output. They are not inexpensive, but they raise the TP 2.0 and 2.0n to another level of excellence.
Having the TP 2.0nB myself, I wholeheartedly agree with Victor's statements in the above post. The improvement of adding the Premium transformers is not subtle.
Have any of you TP2.0 owners compared it to any of the high end preamps? I've read about one comparison to the $16K First Sound so far. Any others like the ARC Ref. 3 or Callisto?
Regarding Sherod's question: As a beta tester of the preamp, I had the opportunity to listen to all versions of the preamp. I was impressed when Joseph delivered a tube preamp capable of 105dB S/N. However, when he added the transformer and other upgrade options, the quality of the music was greatly improved. More detail emerged. The music was communicated more vividly and with greater subtlety. Ultimately, I bought the TP 2.0nB (premium transformer version) because it sounded so beautiful. Fortunately, Joseph has made an upgrade path for this preamp. Those who enjoy versions lower on the upgrade path can look forward to new and substantially greater pleasure in the future.
I've definitely got the "B" upgrade on my "wish" list. I'm so happy with the "n" version that I don't know if my ears can handle the "B" upgrade (LOL). I'm glad you're enjoying your preamp.
Hey you A.H. TP 2.0-ers, you know who you are !!
Wanted to bring this thread up from the archives to keep up to date on what's happening.
My new 3/4" gloss black acrylic lid is completed, took some time, I've been busy with other stuff.
It looks beautiful and functions as a damping device.
Cooling is not a problem, plus there are no holes for mounting, it "sets into" the top of the chassis by a step I cut around the outside diameter.
The bottom edge that rests on the top of the chassis has been lined with strips of black adhesive-back felt.
Gravity and the weight alone keep it in place.
What I didn't say is the four hours + I spent on the Bridgeport after work, shaving and fine-tuning this sucker to fit like a glove.
The looks and sound are well worth it, pictures will be available soon.
Good to hear from you. I look forward to seeing the pictures of the new lid for your preamp. I'm enjoying my TP 2.0n more everyday. It's very musical and natural. I just got in a pair of Joseph's Transparent interconnects and although it's been only a few days in the system, so far I'm pretty impressed. It is very natural sounding with excellent dynamics.
I might get ambitious and try making a pair of these for my amps as well !
It's a shame more folks don't know how great this preamp sounds.
Equipment like this usually don't get the hot-press reports, they go word-of-mouth by owners on forums.
I noticed this trend with other equipment as well, sorta like an underground secret having to be discovered !