Pretty is as pretty does. Glad you like it. I knew it would be good in an application like that.
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Thanks Twl, There have been lots of posts by people wondering about passives so I thought I would post on a transformer based unit. While it is easy to keep your interconnects short from your cdp to pre it is not always easy to keep them short to your power amp. I did also run a set of three meter interconnects to my amp and the sound was the same as the two meter cables. I have three other amps and a couple other cdp's I am going to try when I get the time, should give a little more insite on transformer based flexability and cables.
A friend of mine and I compared this unit (the Bent) against the Transcendent Grounded Grid this past weekend. First off, I was very impressed with the Bent and did not expect anywhere near as much as it gave. I would agree with just about everything said in the above thread, except that I thought the unit seemed a bit too etched and sibilant compared to the Grid. Additionally, some details actually came through with the Grid that were blurred with the Bent, like some background speaking by the musician to his instrument. Ultimately, I, my friend, and his wife all preferred the Grid. More lifelike, natural and, yes, detailed without being etched. And, as big a stage -- probably bigger -- with much more realisitic height to the image. The Bent is a very nice unit, but I'd take a Grid a lot sooner.
Could it be the tube sound as the Grid is an tubed that you liked so much? As the bent transformer volume control is passive with no sound of it's own and not powered at all. Could your system or speakers be a little brite which the bent unit may have let show? I had two sets of speakers set side by side,one full range 200 lb. multidriver system and one Apogee ribbon system. I could not detect anything in the music I played that was to etched or sibilant or blurred in any way. It may be that the more lifelike and natural sound could be the tube sound.
I'm a happy owner of John's TX102 for a couple of months now and with regards to the looks, I think - although, maybe not as ugly as you describe it - definitely not on par with its performance.
Apparently, Josh Stippich made a nice case milled from a solid piece of metal for the CES (see harmonicdiscord.com - did anybody see it?). Would be nice to have that case available.
Hi, Sogood51. Yes, it very well could have been that my friend's system was a bit bright. Couldn't say for sure. And, absolutely it could have been the tubes that sounded more natural and lifelike. I'd probably agree with you here, but only in the sense that they were more truly conveying what was on the recording. :)
On the other hand, while I'm well aware of the theoretical possibilities of passive pre's, I'm hardly the first to suggest that reaching that ideal is another matter altogether. Remember, three listeners heard more things more clearly through the active, tubed unit. Why this was, again, I couldn't say for sure. Only that, in the end, all three of us preferred the Grid. Not only did we find it mor revealing and clear but it possessed a "rounder" smoother quality that was more pleasing. But, I really need to stress here -- I thought the Bent was an EXCELLENT unit and my quibbles are pretty minor. When I say that one wa more X than the other, it was by a pretty slight degree. But, again, I wasn't alone and regardless of theory, we all heard more through the other unit. (BTW, I didn't mention that two of these listeners were long time musicians, one with perfect pitch... My friend's wife has an excellent set of ears and doesn't really care very much about whether tubes were present or not -- and, the tubes were hidden from view in the chassis, anyway.)
So, who knows. As I told my friend while leaving, I'd be happy with either unit. And, if he wasn't going to purchase the Bent for the price he thought he could get it for, I probably would! :) Enjoy yours!
Hi Andy,The Bent unit does work very well in my system. I have not listened to any tubes in my system but have in a few other people's and did very much like what they added. I bought the Bent to use with my Vmps towers as a two channel pre for my sacd player. I have a sunfire theatergrand that I use in that system for everything else. The apogee ribbons are in another system in another room most of the time. I would like to try a tubed preamp in that system some day,I may just try the one you spoke of as I did read good things about it and the price is very good on that unit. Thanks,Dave.