Have you compared the Concert Fidelity to Audio Research REF 5 or the best VAC preamps.
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I currenlty own the Concert Fidelity CF-80 preamp, the Silicon Arts ZL-120 Monoblocks, as well as their Phonostage SPA-4B. I agree with you, these electronics are incredible. To answer your questions, I am using a "Matched Set" of Mullard Tubes (Which is what Olsher found to be the best match with the CF-80 Preamp).
In terms of speakers, I am using the "Venture Excellence Speakers". I have owned a number of speakers, and the speed, resolution, and realism that Venture Speakers offer nothing in my experience matches. They are an excellent match with Concert Fidelity/Silicon Arts Electronics (These are the speakers typically featured with their electronics at shows, and it is the system that Dick Olsher picked as best of show at CES twice in a row).
Hope this was helpfull
Malawar: I have tried many 12au7's (Amperex-Holland, Brimar, Tele-smooth-plate, Mullard GB 1959 with goal-post getters, Raytheon-metal plate, Sylvania-metal and graphite plate, Raytheon 7730 and 5963's amongst others) Best so far are a set of Sylvania (branded Hewlett Packard 5963's, pulled from an oscilloscope). Great body, weight and warmth with all the detail that the CF-80 linestage delivers! Second best are a set of Raytheon metal-plate 12au7's. These tubes just dialed in the CF 80 and the 040 DAC for me. As far as the rectifier tube-I am not a fan of the RFT. An early 70's RCA stop sign logo and a late 60's Raytheon 6ca4 have proven to be the best in my units-however, their are many more to try. Any feedback from other users of these electronics?
Powder: I am using the ZL120 with Proac D100 speakers and it works well together. The Silicon arts have a speed and openess which suits the Proac speakers well. The size of my room is approximately 40 m2.
I have never listened to the Concert fidelity line stage I am currently using Kondo which together with the Silicon arts gives a very coherent sound. I have a Kondo cartridge as well which is the reason I stick with the Kondo preamp.
I can not think of a better transistor amp than the Silicon arts. The only negative issue to the amps is their capability to drive heavy loads but for an amp this quality you find a speaker to match.
Recently found a set of NOS "Valvo" 6CA4's. (1) for the CF LSX 2.0 and (1) for the 040 DAC. 1969 dates. So far this is my favorite rectifier tube-if you can find these I would recommend for the CF electronics. Second would be the original Mullards. Still using the Sylvania 5963's as preference for the 12au7's.
talk to me: I use an CF-080 upgraded to LSX V2. I also use the ZL-120 mono's upgraded to V2. Basically, I think you know how good the linestage is and Masa's upgrade improves every area in which this linestage excelled to begin with.If you wish You can call me 610-905-7297 and we can talk more about the improvements.
I am having a listen to a friends LSX as he has upgraded to a LSX-2.
Sound wise it is excellent. I like the clarity and lack of bass weight yet it does not sound light weight at all. It still sounds nice and balanced.
However the large volume control steps and a total lack of a mute is mind boggling frustrating. There is a mute, but all it does is turn the volume down to zero each time, so you are forced to flick an unused input a best compromise. I know it is all about the music, but this too me is a game breaker.
Does anyone know of a similar sounding pre amp with a good remote volume and mute that works.