Floored by the Sound Quality of TEO Liquid Pre


I recently reviewed the TEO Audio Liquid Pre and now own it. So, as a happy user I would encourage the community to read my review at Dagogo.com.

I have rapidly come to the tentative conclusion that the liquid conductor is holistically superior to TVC technology. I will continue to assess this conclusion going forward, but at this time I have the sense that the liquid cable is of a similar caliber as the ESS Sabre chips I wrote about years ago - a product which is capable of causing a sea change in manufacturing of audio equipment. I envisioned the ESS chips and accompanying architecture as the future of digital playback, and they have become so. I get the same sense with the liquid conductor technology. It's way too good to not move to the forefront.

I did not switch to a passive until I had a means of remotely controlling the volume, and that came along when I switched to file playback. Both have been wonderful moves, terrific steps in building better sounding rigs. I strongly encourage people who are at a junction, who are sitting on the fence in regards to file playback to push onward, and to procure a passive preamp for demo. I think you will be astonished at the level of improvement available to you. I suggest you do not make your audio experience all about tweaks, but rather focus on the signal path and get yourself some serious gains in performance. I don't recommend junk products or insipid improvements. File playback with passive preamp is the ticket to a new vista of digital listening. :)

A factor which must be taken into consideration is the output of the amp relative to the speaker's efficiency. I advise you discuss this with prospective amplification sellers. Since a passive does not add gain, you must have an amp/speaker pairing which the speaker can be easily driven by the amp to sufficient listening levels.

The Liquid Pre is reference quality fit for elite systems. TEO deserves a lot of eyeballs on this product, and I'm happy to direct yours there.
douglas_schroeder
The toe liquid cables are definitely an interesting technology. Whether they can compete with the newer magnetic conduction technology cables from High Fidelity Cables is another story. Hopefully someone, hint, hint, will get around to doing a review of both Teo and High Fidelity.
I don't know Douglas, I was reading part of your review and saw the part about you moving the piece to a different shelf and then it sounded tighter and much better. I don't know if I could tolerate dealing with a piece that finicky?? Plus it's very expensive as are the Liquid cables. Next thing you know you'll need to buy an optional refrigeration module to keep the rig at just the right temperature.

And when it breaks (leaks) does one call an electrical tech... or a plumber! Also, is that six 9's pure tin particles they put in the mix with the Gallium and whatever else is in there???
I am a big fan of passive Pre amps, I recently borrowed 3 and did a mini shootout, just on my own, not to scientific I know. The units were, a Prometheus Reference, Audio music and Music First Audio Baby Reference. The latter stood out as being exceptional. Dynamic, with excellent base, said to be a failing with passives, neutral, very transparent and detailed. I had previously compared it with an Audio Research Ref 3 and preferred the passive, but it was very close.

I note that you think the Teo is a significant improvement on the MFA Baby Reference, so it must be very good indeed. Unfortunately, without balanced outputs, it is no use to me, as my ARC Ref 75 only takes XLR inputs.
Plato, yours is the standard response, regarding worry over the liquid. The liquid cables have been around a while, so I'm not terribly worried. It is a very simple design relatively speaking, so I think the odds of an active preamp breaking is higher.

Speaking about refrigeration, have you ever had a Cryogenically treated cable? I don't spend too much time worrying about Cryo of audio products; the wire either is superior or not. The real question to answer would be what the effect might be on the sound if the liquid cable was frozen! But, I'm not conducting that test, not the least reason of which would be potential for condensation - not a good thing around audio gear. :)

As regards the benefit of the shelving, I don't believe you understand. The Liquid Pre is so vastly superior to whatever active preamps I have used, that even if I placed it on a not so perfect surface it handily outstripped the performance of the others. It's not a matter of the Liquid Pre needing a perfect surface to sound fantastic, but an added advantage. When a product is, say a perceived 50% better than another, but you can gain an additional 2% performance, why not?

Your sarcasm isn't very friendly. :(

David12, as a less favored option, get a pair of XLR to RCA adapters, such as the ones from Cardas. It's a poor solution sonically, but a lot cheaper than buying a pricier amp. My experience is that adapters kill much of the quality of the sound, but I wouldn't be surprised at all for the Liquid Pre to be superior, even with adapters. At least if you compared the others using the adapters you would know with relative certainty which was better.

I would be quite easy to get far better results with the Liquid Pre and single ended amplification, even in some cases with less expensive single ended amps, than any number of balanced active pre/amp combos. Balanced is not the holy grail; it's a good way to go, but even without the Liquid Pre I can make systems with single ended components which can best balanced amplification. But with the Liquid Pre I'm having no thoughts at all about missing XLR connections. I used to be quite concerned about such things, and now know from lots of experience building systems that it's not nearly as critical as the inherent quality of the components being used.

If TEO Audio made a balanced version, you can bet I would use it. But since they don't, and the Liquid Pre is so superior, that's the route I'm going. When I use this preamp and get vastly superior results to any balanced config. I have ever set up, then I'm not going to grouse about not having XLR. So, theoretically, what if next year I find a preamp that is XLR only and wipes the floor with the Liqud Pre? Then I guess I'm back to XLR! I don't anticipate that happening, at least with components at a price in the orbit of the Liquid Pre. But I am not foolish enough to say it could not happen. :)
David12, as a less favored option, get a pair of XLR to RCA adapters, such as the ones from Cardas.
ARC Reference amps require a true balance preamp so don't think XLR to RCA adapters will work.
Knghigi, thanks for that insight.
Guys, i don't have a dog in this fight. And having just purchased a Manley 300B preamp for one of my systems, I'm not looking for a new preamp. But a few years ago when I was looking at the Pathos integrated for my family room, I read Doug's review and ended up purchasing the integrateds in mono-block form. I 'm still using them with my Sonus Faber speakers and am still very happy with them. My point is, that Doug is a very good and fair reviewer. He answered all my e-mail questions promptly and I found his review comments spot on once I got the Pathi in my home. I would trust his comments on any audio product as being fair and his honest opinion. After reading his comments what you do about the product would be up to you.
I am sure the Teo is an upgrade from the MFA Baby Reference, but I would count the ARC ref 75 the centre of my system and a wonderful match for Daedalus speakers, that you have used Doug. I saw that you were trying to sell yours, I don't know if you succeeded. I have heard Lou's speakers with a number of amps, none come near to the quality I get with the Ref 75, including Modwright amps that I know he favours.
I'm surprised no one has pointed out how much you are screwing up the sound by using the "slider" volume control on your ipad in conjunction with ANY preamp.

Shakey
Shakeydeal - please elaborate. Why is htis bad? What is the optimal setting for the ipad (or pc) slider volume?
The attenuation from an ipad or similar device is done in the digital domain, and therefore limits dynamic range. It should always be in the maximum position and attenuation should be done by the connected preamp.

Shakey
Shakeydeal, I am open to your suggestions on how you wish to help me accomplish my goals of having my media collection and level control at my fingertips without potentially negatively influencing the signal path.
Simple.

You control your media with your ipod. You get up off the couch to adjust the volume. If you want than done remotely, you have the wrong preamp.

Shakey
Rudge, I sincerely appreciate your endorsement, and am elated that the Pathi worked out for you. Thanks!
Douglas_schroeder,
Has TEO stated categorically that they will not produce a balanced version of the liquid preamp? And if so, did they say why?

I also think they should seriously consider adding another output.
I guess Mr. Schroeder didn't like the answer to his question. I hope that wheels are turning in his head to figure out how to solve his issue.

Shakey
Shakeydeal, these things and much more have all been taken into consideration. Thank you for your thoughts. :)

I apologize for the above post being late and after Doug's. I am on double secret probation and my posts aren't as timely as those of others.

Shakey
4orreal, you may wish to contact TEO to see if they might fabricate an XLR cable for you. I make no assurances of this, but it doesn't hurt to talk to them about it.
Doug,
I wasn't asking for for Teo XLR cable. Do you have the email for TEO since I could not find one on their website?
4orreal, my apologies for a tardy response; the email is on the TEO site, but not intuitively. It's at the bottom of the "About" page, at the end of discussion about recycling. :O

Taras@teoaudio.com