ARC REF 6
Einstein The Preamp
VAC model function of budget
No I did not. I actual came to this combination from the other direction. Previous amp was a VAC kt88 based 100 watt per channel and I decided to move to a SS amp hopefully without losing some of the traits I appreciated. The VX5/20 has performed that role well. I’m not saying it sounds like a tube amp, but it checks the boxes I was looking for in my change better that I expected.
In order to really get all you can out of the amp you do need a balanced preamp as you've already surmised. But what most people don't realize is that there is a balanced standard; and that this standard is there to prevent ground loops and also prevent your interconnect cables from imposing a sonic fingerprint. If you've ever auditioned cables to see which is better then you know what I mean.
So I would always check with the manufacturer to see if the preamp supports the standard. Most tube and many solid state preamps don't. This is why there is a controversy about balanced line; there would be none if all the gear supported the standard.
in the other hand I am afffraid to lose openness, dynamic and holographic sound I have with K-1xe preamp.
If would expect this to be improved by a tube preamp.
Good point, Atmosphere. I assume you mean by “balanced standard” that there are conpanies that incorporate XLR jacks but that they have single ended circuitry, as opposed to fully balanced designs such as those by Ayre and Aestestix?
I had XLRs on my former preamp, a Modwright LS100. They were there to permit using XLR cables but they were not balanced, and there would be no sonic benefit to using them.
I assume you mean by “balanced standard” that there are conpanies that incorporate XLR jacks but that they have single ended circuitry, as opposed to fully balanced designs such as those by Ayre and Aestestix?Actually no. A component can support the balanced standard and be internally single-ended. In such a case transformers are used to convert from one to the other.
The balanced standard has to do with how the signal moves from one piece to the other. Here it is in a nutshell:
1) pinouts: pin 1 is ground, pin 2 is non-inverted, pin 3 is inverted (pins 2 and 3 are reversed in Europe)
2) Ground is **ignored**. This means that the pin 2 and 3 signals do not reference ground; instead they reference each other. This is where the vast majority of high end audio products fail to meet the standard. For example ARC has the pin 2 and 3 outputs, but each one references ground to complete the circuit. This is important as this puts signal currents in the shield, which isn't supposed to have any, otherwise ground loops can result and the construction of the cable can also be a lot more audible. Output transformers do this by having no center tap and just a simple secondary (if an output) connected to pins 2 and 3 and nothing else.An input transformer does this by having its primary connected again to just pins 2 and 3 and nothing else. Pin 1 in both cases is simply ground.
3) the system is low impedance- 600 ohms used to be the old standard; these days its considered adequate if the balanced output can drive 2000 ohms or less. For this reason the line stage is essentially a small power amplifier. The resulting low impedances also help prevent noise pickup, longer cable lengths (although the benefit is there even if the cable is only 6 inches) and immunity to the cable itself, allowing the system to be less colored and more musical.
I have been running a K-5xeMP and VX-5 twenty for one year. Then moved to a Rogue RP-7 for the headphone output. Both preamps played well with the VX-5.20. The K-5xeMP is my first pick when a "stock" comparison with the RP-7. the K-5xeMP has a very small advantage to the RP-7 in terms of "just right" sonics and has been considered a the best of tubes and solid state preamp for many years. The stock RP-7 has more connectivity (headphone, two XLR outs) and potentially could sound better with NOS or upgraded current production 12AU7 tubes. I loved the K-5xeMP and VX5.20. The RP-7 is current production and meets more of my daily requirements. I would live happily with either pairing.