Does it sound "bright" to you? Does not sound bright to me.
What tubes are you using?
Do you even have one?
How many hrs. do you have on it if you do have one?
I have the Dodd preamp and have about 50 hours on it. I still have the JJ tubes in it. I don't want to change any tubes until I feel that the preamp is completely broken. I have read here on Audiogon that it takes about 100 hours to break this in. I don't know if this going to change drastically by the time I get 100 hours on it or not.....just trying to get other Dodd owners opinions and experience with this unit.
So far my opinion is that this preamp is not actually bright, but it seems to be tilted up abit in the treble region. It certainly isn't overly warm. I am hoping that rolling tubes and more break in time may change this balance slightly.
Give it some time.
My impression is that you want a bit warmer presentation in the middle range and somewhat rolled-off top.
If that is the case, replace JJs with NOS Mullards.
One of the benefits of tube preamp is tailoring the sound by tube rolling.
Being very responsive in that regard is one of Dodd's virtues.
I use the Dodd with NOS Amperex 7308's. They're not cheap, but boy do they sound fantastic. I never even installed the JJ's, so I can't comment in regard to break-in with those tubes. In my experience, the changes of this pre during breakin were not significant. My guess is that at 50 hrs. you pretty much know the character of the pre with those tubes. The Sixmoons review of the Dodd with stock tubes is pretty much in line with your assessment. I agree with Mrjstark that Mullards would be a good choice if you're seeking more warmth. The Amperex are ever so slightly on the warm side of neutral, but maintain a wonderful clarity.
Amperex tubes are worthy recommendation.
Cruz is right about their characteristics and it could prove to be good starting point in fine tuning your system in the right direction.
I've also used Amperex Bugle Boys in my Dodd and they were quite good as well. Not as "middle-rangey" as Mullards but proportionaly balanced throughout the frequencies with touch of exitement and sparkle.
Good tube comments above. I currently use a pair of Tungsrams,which are kind of a poor-man's Amperex. The Mullards will be warmer, too much so for my personal preference. The Dodd will let you hear the differences in each of these tubes. IMO, the JJ's aren't bad, but definitely are tonally on the cool side. It's worth trying a few different kinds. I'm guessing you'll be very happy once you do. Cheers,
I now have NOS Mullards and Siemens CCa (the best of ALL 6922 variants according to many in the know).
I'll try both and report back.
With the stock tubes the Dodd is very good but just occasionally exhibits a bit of treble glare/hardness.
Ok, well, the Siemens are so good I don't know if I'll put the Mullards in. Better all-around. Glare definitely gone. One of those no-doubt, don't-have-to-listen-hard changes.
Heard from few guys about Siemens tubes.
They are very happy using them. I haven't try those yet but I sure will give it a try.
Thanks for sharing your impressions.
I have tried the Siemens, Amperex and Mullards and can report that in my system there is no contest, the Mullards are by far the best sound. They are not at all tubby or bloated or rolled off on either extreme. This is not subtle. Now, all of the tubes are considerably better than the stock tubes. I am getting soundstaging which is magical. I thought the preamp was somewhat thin sounding until this tweak. As with all tube rolling, it will be system dependent. I can also say that Gary Dodd has experieced the same results. Just my 2 cents.
What Siemens tubes did you try?
The early Siemens '60's CCa is the tube to beat in this pre.
How good is the Dodd compared to other modern tube preamps, maybe for example the Modwright? It at the very least must have a low noise floor because of its battery supply.
It is very good. How good?.....is in the eye (or ear) of the beholder.
I have tried the Siemens, Amperex and Mullards and can report that in my system there is no contest, the Mullards are by far the best sound. They are not at all tubby or bloated or rolled off on either extreme.
Glad to hear another Mullard user de-bunk the "tubby, rolled-off, bloated" stereotype these tubes garner from some on this site.
I recently tried some early 60s, Siemens CCa grey riser tubes...(the ones to have...no excuses about how they weren't the correct CCa...) in a tube preamp that uses 6922 tubes, and the CCa while creating a very large and dynamic image were shouty and aggressive in the upper mids and highs. The sound they produced became fatiguing fairly quickly.
I have installed CCa tubes in three different components and in three different system configurations that I have owned over the years, and the CCa have never remained installed for more than a few days. I have never found them natural sounding, although other have found them to be so.
The Siemens were CCa's and I can completely concur with Tvad in that they were not a relaxed sound. In fact, they were somewhat fatiguing to my ear. Not terrible by any means. Perhaps it was the vintage of the tubes or such. Again, this is just my opinion. Now, in my system, I will say that the Dodd preamp tends a bit to the lean or "white" side of the tonality spectrum for a tube preamp. This gets mitigated thru tube selection. In my case the Mullards cured this effect. BTW, Gary Dodd's system is similar to mine (uses large GR Research speakers)...so the tonality from the speakers will be similar. He uses tube amps and I use an Edge NL10.1.
In regards to the Modwright preamp. I have owned this piece in the past. Here is my opinion.....the Dodd with the right tubes is much more musical and involving. The Modwright may be more neutral but less "magical" (more towards a ss feel). Now in the right system this may be a good thing. In fact, the two sound very similar if the Dodd has the wrong tubes in it. It is more of a "flavor" preference. I can attest that IMO the Dodd is much quieter than the Modwright. I think the Dodd is a better value. In fact it is a great value.
The only preamp that I have owned which bettered the Dodd is the Wyetech Opal (at 3-4x the list price). I have owned a few good ones (Lamm LL2 Deluxe..quite good, Supratek..did not care for this unit, ARC, Sonic Frontiers Line 3, Placette Active..very good but not as musical...plus a few others).
I can honestly say that the Mullards took this fine piece to a new level. I listened again last night (Chris Isaak) and it was amazing. All grain and brightness is gone and the "sparkle" is still there in abundance.
Which vintage and geter Mullard? Possibly milspec?
Anyone compare the Dodd to a Ultraverve?
The Mullards I generally use are early to mid 60s Blackburn factory production. "O" getter. They have a more controlled and balanced sound with less grain than the tubes produced in the Mitcham plant, IMO.
Mine are also from the 60's and Blackburn factory. This is the type which Dodd recommends and uses personally...sounds like Tvad uses the same.
Those are the ones, Jeffga. Terrific tubes. Interesting to know Dodd uses the same.