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You should pick the amp first. Any of these amps would work well with the Tannoy's so it just comes down to personal taste and the type of music you like, room size, desired sonic flavors, etc.
Having said that, I'm a big TRL fan and the used Dodd pre is a great value. Not familiar with Red Wine. The Almarro's might work but not sure about how much grunt these amps put out especially if the Cantebury's have the 15" drivers.
I have 15" Tannoys and you need an amp with some torque (big, good transformers) if you are going to go low watt. Any of these pre amps would be good but the trick is to get the right amp.
I assume you've read the reviews for RWA Isabella? I own one and can't say enough good about it. Off-the-grid (battery operation) has to be heard to fully appreciate.
I've owned many units over the years, but moving to RWA has finally stopped my craving for something better. When friends who've heard my system describe it to others they use words like you felt like you could reach out and touch the musicians. I've heard $200K+ systems that were not as real or natural as what I hear.
My opinion is you never really know what you've got 'till you hear it in your room. Do the web research. Try to get down to a couple contenders. Then -- assuming they have 100% money back guarantee -- try the finalist in your home and your system.
You did not mention it, but the Isabella has optional upgrades to include a very nice DAC and a headphone stage. Making for an even better value if you need these.
BTW: I use mine with RWA Sig 30.2 straight amp and Omega Super 6 Single drivers with Omega DeepHemp sub.
Good luck with your search. Kent
I think I can't go wrong with any of these preamps.They are priced about the same and have fantastic reviews from owners.I have heard Red Wine Isabella with Almarro monos and it was superb,I loved it.I just don't know if amps like 70.2 or Almarro will be enough for my Tannoys.Dude TRL and their Samson amps are probably one of the best,if I trust Grannyring who reviwed his Samson's at http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?ramps&1229800875 .It really comes down to which amp I will be using and then decide.Dude TRL preamp does not have a remote control.I think I can use any of those preamps with Samson monoblocks with no problem.They have 300w/8ohm which is a lot of power and will handle my huge 15' Tannoy drivers.So I am really thinking to get them with either preamp.What are your thoughts?Only Red Wine has a distribution here.On the other hand Audio Horizon have 30days return policy so if I don't like it I can send it back and Dude TRL seem like they don't realy care much because they don't even have specs about their gear on their website,I wonder how they can survive if they don't advertise anywhere and have no dealers where customers can hear their product?Do they count on people who own their gear and then spread out their words to the world?They are really confident to be able to do this.My thought ,TRL must be very good!!!I am very confused,I don't have enough money to try all 3 preamps and I am residing in Europe anyway.One thing Red Wine is probably the best bet,I have heard it and it was really good.I can try other preamps later.What are your suggestions?
If you have already heard the RWA and know you like it I think you have your answer. I agree it should match up well with the Samsons.
TRL is a leap of faith but you will be rewarded. Grannyring's review of the Samson's is spot on. Also, read the review of the Dude preamp by Agear.
Being that you are in Europe makes this tougher, but FWIW TRL's customer base for their uber watt tube amps included many customers located in Japan.
My two cents: the TRL Dude is to die for. Yes, the TRL guys are confident and rely to some degree on word of mouth. To me, that is the ultimate indicator of performance....not neatly packaged data on a slick website. I also own Intuitive Design gear and Dale's philosophy is the same. I would engage Bill/Grannyring in regards to the Dude/Samson synergy. The sum is more than the parts....
I have owned Dodd and RWA Isabella (with DAC option).
Both great preamps and quite close in performance.
Isabella replaced Dodd due to more engaging and analogue presentation.
Its DAC options is really awesome and I would strongly advise going in that direction. Its DAC replaced my $3200 CDP (still use it tho) if it's any indication of its quality. Recently, I have purchased two Isabellina HPA DACs with variable out and remote control. These can work as stand alone digital preamps (that is how I use it).
I am having one of my DACs modified by Vinnie Rossi this Friday so its battery power supply can be shared by another component (Empirical Audio Offramp Turbo). This will keep both components off the grid for about 10h of play time.
As far as amp for Tannoy Canterbury speakers ....... I would suggest looking into Jadis tube amps. They sure do sound great together.
I like the idea of preamp and amp from same company so it comes down to either Red Wine or TRL.I wonder what can be better as far as amp goes,300w from TRL or 30w from Red Wine considering they will run big 15' Tannoy woofers?Pricewise they are both in the same price region when purchased used or new.
While the Tannoy's are efficient enough at 96db with 8 ohms nominal impedance, even the published specs recommend 50 - 275 watts. If you have a smallish room and won't be driving them at loud volume maybe the RWA 30.2 would be enough, but I would think the 70.2 monoblocks would be much better.
On the other hand the Samson's would be no problem and at the price you could purchase them for I wouldn't get hung up on the same equipment paradigm. I owned the stereo version of the Samson's (at the time called D-225) and ran them with a TRL preamp, as well as preamps from Cary, Joule Electra, JRDG, and even a custom passive TVC. It all sounded great in my system. Speakers were Spendor 1/2e at the time.
Don't get hung up on battery power either. In my experience a well designed linear power supply is better than a battery power supply. TRL develops some of the best and beefiest high current power supplies I have ever seen. The headroom in the Samson's will do wonders for macro and micro dynamics and transient attacks. However, the best test is at low listening levels where the amp will deliver extremely linear and clear sound that you won't believe until you hear it.
I wouldn't go so far as to say you could use the Samson's with any preamp, but from my experience I had no issues using different preamps and I don't see why a Dodd Audio or Red Wine Isabella wouldn't work. In fact, if your digital source has enough output, try a passive preamp. Some of the best sound I got was using the D-225 with a passive TVC (the Samson's are highly sensitive at about .8V and have higher gain than most amps). Then again I'm probably part of a very small minority that is a big fan of passive preamps. TRL can help you with a passive preamp as well to match the Samson's.
As for comparison to other amps. Well I think the biggest difference is the Samson's have the ability to play with "balls" or finesse based on your listening tastes. I've cranked up mine with no distortion issues and listened at the lowest levels late night and not missed a note. Rock, complex classical recordings, solo cello, chamber music, whatever you through at it the Samson's will handle it. My VAC amps I use now can crank it out, but at low level I do sense minor loss of dynamics and bass linearity. My Cary amp used to peter out too easily and was very colored. TRL will be very transparent. It will power your speakers with ease and run cool and efficiently in the process.
I have heard D400 from Audio Research and it was adding bass and that is why I did not like it,then I heard some single ended triode tube amp and that was also too heavy on bass.Don't take me wrong,I like lots of bass but my Tannoys Canterbury have already lots of it so I need amplification with more details and clarity (more definition).At the same time I don't like too analytical presentation because then it is loosing a musicality.Also I like a lot of complex music like progressive rock,classic music and 70's rock and so I need my future amp to have PRAT(Pace rythm and timing)and I that is very important for me.Here I don't see people to talk about this feature in their amps.And many fine amps does not have this PRAT!Do you think Samson has that?
Sorry for my english,I am trying the best to explain what I am concerned about.
If you read Grannyring's review here on Audiogon I think you will find all the qualities you described in the amp. I certainly did with mine. The TRL house sound will draw you into the music. I wouldn't say it is bass heavy, but if you have never heard accurate bass reproduction before from an amp be prepared for a new experience with the Samson's. Of course your other components, including your room, need to be up to the task as well.