I don't have the supratek with my Merlin/Bernings, but I know at least one guy (tubegroover) who does, and he loves it. I'm sure he'll chime in here soon for more detail.
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I have not done the Supratek....yet. But I plan to try a preamp with my Gryphon Callisto in the HT pass through. I tried a cj which was a great pre, but the sad truth is that the matching wasn't as good as the built in microprocessing pre that is in the Callisto.
A friend has a Gryphon Pre that ran about $10K back in '91, and he is bringing it over to see if it improves the perfectly matched pre that is already there. If it does, well I think I am going to trust in my five emails to Mick and buy the Sauvignon. Tubes are magic, and I only hope that the combination of tubes with the Gryphon amp will sound good.
I know of, and have hear your model Berning, and it is a beautiful sounding amp, if they mate, I am feeling that it will knock your lights out. You may want to email Mick at Supratek, or David at Berning and ask them about the matching/input output. Of course if Berning says it will improve your sound, he might hurt his position in that he touts the direct feed is the best method, and that a pre is not necessary.
I have this feeling about the Supratek that I haven't had since I first saw the Gryphon back in 1990. They, although, they look different, have the same appeal, in that you can't help but believe that they are wonderful pieces of gear. Plus, there is always somebody out there ready to take a product or person down just for grins, but nobody...nobody has had one bad thing to say about Supratek or Mick. Good Luck. With Bobby's Merlins you have the makings of a great system.
Larry R. Staples
For your information the Supratek has an output impedance of 600 ohms if this information helps in matching to your Gryphon. The Syrah, which I own transcends superlatives to describe it. It just sounds natural, liquid, continuous and timbrally accurate. The immediacy with the Berning/VSM combo is startling and real. I have run direct from the DAC to the Berning and to tell the truth while the sound is transparent, it can at times be a bit lean and laid back in comparison to using a good tube pre. I was using a CAT SL-1 (Mk 1, the original) prior to the Syrah. I'm sure the newer CAT's would make it closer. The Sarah is MUCH more dynamic with ss bass and greater resolution top to bottom, no comparison really.
So far as a Supratek with the Merlin/Berning combo, don't even think twice 84audio, it is just amazing. I haven't realized the full potential of this combo since I really haven't had the time lately to work out all the bugs but it is really improving and getting into the realm of "scary good" for lack of a better description, tonality, speed, natural layering and spacing of instruments/vocalists with stunning dynamics. Who says the Merlins don't do bass hasn't heard them set-up optimally, certainly not having the energy of a larger system but quite capable of definition and visceral impact to say the mid-low 30 hz region before they really drop off. Of course cabling is extremely critical in realizing this and I have found the Luminous Syn Sigs and Audience au24 to really balance everything quite well without undue emphasis (exaggeration) that can be distracting to the music.
Thanks for the info.
I made a passing comment about the Merlin's lack of deep bass, not that it did not do bass. Even Bobby would admit that the impact in the lower region is a little light. In a fairness, rooms, distance from the rear wall, cables as you pointed out make vast differences.
One of my jobs at THIEL was to help dealers optimize sound of their systems, something that many were poor at. I have years of experience in that relm, but in all honesty, what I hear is more of a curse than a blessing sometimes. HA!
I probably like the heavy handed side of bass rather than the light side. I too value the dynamic contrasting that a great pre can bring to a system. Most pass through pres wimp out and give none of the dynamics that a great pre can bring. Mick said that the pre is the most important part of the equation, and I don't disagree, except of course for speakers; which are alternately the best and worst part of the system.
I enjoy reading your comments, and find you to be fair and reasonable, and most knowledgeable. It is obvious to me since I have been in the business for 20 plus years and been in more than 100 stores, and in the labs with designers, just how much some of these respondants really do know, and or don't know. But hey in cyberspace everyone can voice opinions.
Thanks for the data, and I look forward to your posts.
Larry R. Staples