Concert Fidelity audition program

I recently auditioned a Concert Fidelity CF-080 linestage as part of an in home audition program from their website. The linestage was mated to an Essence Electro Acoustics Emerald 1B amp and this match proved to be revelatory in improving my musical enjoyment. The CF-080 linestage is of minimalist design and really lets the music through with incredible transparency, lightening fast transients, and the most complete finishing of notes with tonal purity and accuracy I've ever heard.(The CF-080 replaced an $18K tube linestage in my system).I urge you to visit their website and take part in this audition program. If you are a user of Concert Fidelity/Silicon Arts Design products I would be interested in your tube choices with the linestage and your speaker choices when using the amps?
Have you compared the Concert Fidelity to Audio Research REF 5 or the best VAC preamps.
jwm. I auditioned the CF-080 for 2 reasons. 1-I read Dick Olshers rave review and that really quirked my interest. 2-Concert Fidelity has a (free-no strings attached) in home audition program. (what could be better!). I have not compared the CF-080 to the latest audio Reaseach or VAC linestages.
I can't use it because it is not balanced. Dick Olsher is great one of the best still writing. I saw him in person at last years CES with his wife of course and her cd.
Yes, he is one of the few reviewers that I follow and put some stock in. I have been in this hobby almost 40 years so I tend to stick with the old guard.
Hi Powder:

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.
I am also using my CF 080 LS/X with Venture speakers-the CR-8 Signatures. My next upgrade will be bigger Venture speakers, when I move my system to a much larger room. I am using a Burmester 911 MK3 amp and the synergy between these units is awesome.
Has anyone heard the new V2? I mean the version 2 of the LSX. It is a $4k upgrade for us LS/X owners.
Power, Where did you buy the tubes for your CF gear?
Husk01: You can call powder at 610-905-7297 for tube info
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.
Thanks Powder, will do.
How much so they charge to upgrade the CF-080 to the LSX V2.

..considering buying a used 080...

- Mark
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.