Cool project Brad, I will be interested to see your impressions and track your progress. And congrats getting an essentially bespoke piece of audio gear is pretty damn cool!
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I have Fred's Poeta preamp, also driving a Cary (v12) amp, and I love it. He swears the Sira is way better, so that would have to be a pretty great piece of gear indeed. My one complaint is that the output from the pre-amp is too high for the amp, so I'm only really able to use about the first 25% of the volume knob's rotation. I'd prefer to be somewhere in the middle of it's range, but other than that, it's great.
I had initially looked at the poeta, but I am enamored by point to point and no pcb. I will certainly keep the thread updated as it progresses. Fwiw, Fred has the chassis, but not the woodwork. He is still waiting on it to arrive.
Jond, I am hoping the preamp is serial number 1. Or, better yet no serial number, just a signature edition. Woot. There are some things that Fred is doing differently, but I can't speak with any authority as to alterations of the existing sira circuit.
If the volume control position is something that really bothers you, contact Fred. He can install some dropping resistors around the volume control that can reduce the gain to whatever you want. A number of years ago, I had a Sira, Poeta and Erato in my system for 2 weeks (that was fun!) and the Sira had some gain-reducing resistors that dropped the gain so much that I was running the control around 3:00. The volume control on the Poeta on the other hand was around 9:00 despite their using the same audio circuit. So Fred can set it for whatever position you want.
Fred is using his base caps. My budget didn't allow for upgraded caps. However, Fred did install Teflon tube sockets for which I was grateful. There should be plenty of room to upgrade later with caps etc.
Fred has said that one significant difference on my unit is engraving rather than silk screened lettering. Still not sure on an eta, but I will post more as the build progresses.
I would love to here anyone's comparisons between emotive gear and other pre amps. I am hoping to hear a improvement over my current audible illusions, but would love to hear what others think will be noticeable.
I would like to help you but my listening time to the Sira was almost 7 years ago so recollections are rather vague. I compared it to two other Emotive models---the Erato (which I owned) and the Poeta---as well as an Audio Research LS-2. I liked both the Sira and Erato very much but eventually decided to go with a custom version of the Epifania with a solid-state regulator. One aspect of the Sira that I recall vividly was the see-through transparency on live recordings. It also had very wide dynamic swings on orchestral recordings.
If you google the Sira, you can find a number of reviews and user comments from back when it was first introduced.
The sound of the Sira will be affected quite a bit by the output coupling capacitors. You mentioned that Fred was using his basic cap, but do you recall what cap that is?
Ok, so a small update. Fred says the wood is in and he is finalizing the build. Mine is in a queue so it will be a little longer.
The circuitry is supposed to be the same as the standard sira. The chassis is aluminum rather than stainless and Fred indicates that he has tried engraving on the aluminum rather than silk screening. Mine will have Teflon tube sockets and a new switch that Fred is trying. The output caps are stock polypropylene in oil made to Fred's specs. Upgrades for the future are the volume pot and caps. But, I want to try the amp as specd by Fred. We will see then if I even feel the need to upgrade.
Well, it ships tomorrow. I received word from Fred tonight. Serial number is sequential in the sira line, 10065. I am waiting to hear if Fred is going to employ the differences such as aluminum chassis in future siras. I will certainly let everyone know my impressions once the pre amp arrives. Fred's been a pleasure to deal with on the project. I can hardly wait for its arrival.
Ok. It arrived today. I had about 3-4 hours of listening time. Most of the time I was working at my desk and tending to work I had to do, but periodically I would listen to a particular track or two.
Initially it sounded marginally better than my current audible illusions pre. The soundstage was slightly pinched with limited depth. It only took a short while for the soundstage to widen, at first matching then surpassing the audible illusions. Towards the end of my time I found the soundstage deepening significantly.
The one thing that I did notice in particular was a distinct difference in low end. Colin Hays track, don't wait up is mixed with a heavy emphasis on the bass. In my room with minimal to moderate treatments, I always had a resonance that necessitated slightly lower volume than I would normally listen. With the sira there is no node evident. It doesn't seem that the bass is shy, it's just not bloated or boomy on this track in particular.
So far I am very pleased. I can only imagine how things will improve as burn in continues. The looks of the pre are to die for in my opinion. I can hardly wait for a late evening at the office to dim the lights and enjoy the ambient light of the bottles.
Rarely does an item meet expectations of both performance and appearance. Fred has delivered on both fronts. It is a very good match to my Cary AES Sixpacs. I can't fathom how the epiifania could be any better.
Thank you Fred! This just keeps getting better. Immersive is adjective that best describes what I am hearing. There is just fantastic synergy between the pre amp, audio electronic supply mono amps, Cary cdp and my gallo ref3.5. It's not a subtle difference. I can't believe it will get better as it burns in.
Saletric, how do i import pics into a thread?