Finally made the transition to a tube preamp!

I was always curious about the much hyped sound that one can get from quality tube amplification. People talk about 'tubey magic', 'the golden glow', etc. I was always curious, but was reluctant to go in that direction because the received wisdom is that unless you spend big bucks (like, money you could buy used car with), tube amplification will only disappoint. The rationale is that with less than top notch tube equipment, all you get is a muddled sound with weak, flabby bass and rolled off highs.

My opinion started changing once I obtained Carver M-4.0t power amp. I bought it because I wanted a lot of power to drive my Magnepan MG-1 planar speakers. Once I hooked Carver M-4.0t to my Maggies, the sound was transformed. Not only did Maggies start singing, the very character of the sound drastically changed. Carver made that amp with the intention to emulate his flagship tube power amp, and by the way that amp sounds, I'd say he came pretty darn close. Yes, I started hearing that 'magical 'tubey' sound. Very exciting!

However, that's not what really changed my way of enjoying music. Intrigued by this encouraging discovery (courtesy of the Carver amp), I started looking for an all tubes preamp. Of course, quickly realized that without paying at least three of four grand, I won't be able to afford quality tube preamp.

Then, by accident, found an ad on the craigslist selling Dynaco PAS-4. Tempted, I offered $475.00 and next thing you know, I got the preamp. 

OK, so now, with Dynaco PAS-4 hooked into Carver M-4.0t, the sound is completely, radically different than anything I was able to hear before. This preamp is incredible. It seems to have it all: soft, sweet, mellow, liquid, golden glow sound coupled with muscular bass. It delivers almost frightening slam, and the soundstage is way larger than before.

Isn't it amazing that for less than $500.00 one can get such amazing sound? The only problem is, as I understand, Dynaco PAS-4 is quite a rare find. Allegedly, it was produced in the early 1990s in very limited quantities.

Bottom line, if you spot this preamp for sale, don't hesitate to snatch it. In my experience, it is quite amazing!


Thank you all for such fantastic advices! Wow, what a great bunch of friendly people who all share love for good sound.

Question: I am currently using re-tipped Denon DL-103 cartridge (micro ridge stylus on boron cantilever) into Lehmann Audio Decade phono into Dynaco PAS-4. I know that Dynaco PAS-4 also has all tube phono preamp built in. I'm not sure that my Denon DL-103, which is rated at around 0.3 millivolts output (LOMC) would supply high enough signal for the Dynaco PAS-4 phono stage.

I also have in my collection Empire EDR9 moving iron cartridge. Wondering if that cart would give sufficiently high output signal into the PAS-4 phono stage? Also, I still haven't tried Empire EDR9 in my system (although I have it mounted and set up on another Jelco head shell), so I'm wondering if that cart could compete with re-tipped Denon DL-103 (I'm a big fan of LOMC cartridges).

To preemptively answer the logical question "why don't you just try it?", in my defence I must say that in the current configuration in my listening room, I'd have to make a lot of very time consuming changes to enable my turntable tonearm interconnects to reach all the way to the Dynaco PAS-4 preamp. So, I'd rather just ask if that would be worth the trouble, before I invest half a day in rearranging my audio shelf (don't ask why is it so convoluted).

Thanks in advance for any info/opinion on this.

It’s always subjective and there are many variables, but given the quality of your system chain, I’d think that the retipped Denon with the ML profile and boron cantilever would be worth having in your system. I’m not certain, but I’d guess the PAS 4 won’t do particularly well with that small of a signal. If it’s working well with the Lehmann, I’d leave it....even better if its the easier path.