Grab the Thor Audio TA 2000 ( on Audiogon ) and don't look back......
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Mcpherson, that other thread we were both on seems to have been deleted. Long time, no see. I would imagine an extra investment would make a difference, but only you can decide it it's worth it to you. I own the Doge and really love it, but don't know how much warmth you're looking to impart. I don't find it to be as warm as some other tube preamps I've heard, but that's a matter of taste and could likely be tweaked through tube rolling. I got the upgraded tubes and haven't done any rolling.
It couldn't hurt to audition other linestages before you buy. If you look into tube linestages without phono sections, you should have a lot of options and be able to get into a more established brand at around the same price as the Doge. I've heard good things about the Rogue Metis at just over $1k, but have never heard it. Once you're at $2k, without the need for a phonostage, I believe you're also in CJ and ARC territory. Will you like them better than the Doge? No way to answer that.
It would be great if you could audition them, though, with your own equipment. Buying without an audition is a real crapshoot. I have done it several times in the past year and it has always worked out, but I don't think I will do it again. It doesn't suit my personality type, I guess. On the other hand, if you don't mind the process of buying and selling things on Audiogon, it is a great way to try things out. And you avoid the ding of being the first buyer, who takes the biggest hit when it comes to depreciation. When I go to sell the Doge ( I already know this will happen...too many boxes...desire to simplify) I will take the loss. This would happen with virtually any brand. Look at the Thor's original price. :) If you're buying the Doge new, you'll have 30 days to decide and then pay the 11% restocking fee+shipping if you don't like it. You may like it as much as I did. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions about the Doge. I'll answer whatever I can. Those Focals are beautiful speakers. Hope you're enjoying them.
Anon..you are right,the other thread about the Sony was deleted.
Glad to hear from you again. I still have a little time to decide before I am ready to buy. I have been watching to see if a Doge 8 would come up on Audiogon to see what it may go for. The only one I have ever seen went for around 950 or 1000 with some extra tubes I think.
As far as it being worth it to me to spend the extra $...it would be because this will be my last purchase for a while.(im sure im the first to say that!)
I got a couple sacds in the mail yesterday and had a day off today so I tinkered around a bit. Initial impression was very crisp and detailed but maybe too bright. It may sound rediculous but I have some old Klipshe surround speakers hooked up to a Walmart special in my garage that this new "Genius Loves Company" cd sounded fantastic on. Balanced and easy to listen to.haha.
Sooooo...where is my upper region overkill coming from? I am hoping it is the preamp? Warmth and midrange is my focus. I think I have enough power with the Citation.
I guess you should go ahead and get rid of the Doge soon, I may know someone to take it off of your hands.:)
In terms of warmth I wanted to know how the preamps I was interested in ranked? Out of the Cary, Joule, Doge, and Mcintosh.
:) I won't be selling it that soon. I think a year is a more appropriate length of time to keep for me to something and get a feel for it. Wish I could help but don't have any experience with any of those preamp manufacturers' products in one system to comment. I'm sure someone will be able to offer a comparison, though. Lots of people on here who have owned lots of preamps. Good luck in your search. And let me know if you want me to remind you of this if I see you looking for any gear after you solve your preamp situation:
"this will be my last purchase for a while."
McPherson: I have been a Thor Audio owner ( amps and linestage ) for many years and have happily dealt with both original owner Paul Marks and the new onwers Ted and Jordan (Ted was a Thor dealer for Paul)ThorAudio may not be the most popular name in audio but certainly one of the top quality sounding ( and well built ) units around..Since being sold the Thor products have been improved so much it very hard to describe just how much better they sound..Right now the best bargain in audio ( in my opinion ) is an Original used Thor piece sent back and cleaned up an have the latest upgrades..You will end up with a World class sounding piece for less than half the cost of a " Big Name " company...
Sound : Sweet Open,Gorgeuos midrange,Incredibly Transparent with excellent bass energy..With the latesT V/cap upgrades,you also have the option of going with The Copper or Teflon type Caps to boot...
I just read the response from Ted at Thor. He was very nice and prompt. Their new line stage will retail for around 17K. He suggested picking up a used one and upgrades can be done in stages if wanted.
He even offered to check out and clean the unit if I decide to go that route. A+ for Thor so far and I havent even heard one.haha
I am not really good at all of the terms people tend to use in trying to explain their listening but here goes..
Going from a Marantz receiver to the Thor preamp put my system into another category. Really hard to pinpoint a single factor...because everything sounds better. My sound floor is at around step 2 out of 24, which makes for MUCH more enjoyable listening.
The midrange is super full of power as well as detail. Seperartion of instument instead of just a bunch of background jumbled up. I was really reaching to convince myself that my system sounded good before.haha I mean you have to go with what you have at the time.
I probably sound a little over the top but I REALLY feel like the Thor was a homerun. I dont even have any decent tubes in it yet.
I actually have a room of sound instead a lot of LOUD sound. I am sure there is plenty room to grow but I am grinning ear to ear right now. Mind you I am using a rebuilt H/K Citation 16 for amp. I thought before I was lacking power bc I would turn it up so loud trying to hear detail, to the point of clipping.NO GOOD!
I wish I had a better reference to compare how good this upgraded Thor is..I just know it is good.
Something else I noticed is that I really dont hear much difference between the cd/sacd playback on the Sony?? In a good way. Thanks for asking Jayson
thor audio preamps with teds upgrade kills...what a improvement in sound!i am usually skeptical..but I have been to teds house when he lived both in ma. and ct. now in texas..most down to earth dealer in audio..he probably doesn't profit much in this business as he is to honest.He delivers..hope to meet thor man some day as we live 10 miles from each other and have an all thor system