Grant Fidelity B-283 Tube Buffer: Worthwhile or No

Does putting a tube buffer into a solid state system actually improve the output, or is it all just hyped up the emporer has no clothes syndrome?

There's a Grant Fidelity B-283 tube buffer for sale here and I'm thinking about it. I have an Adcom GFA 535 amp, a Morrison pre amp and an Arcam CD75 CD player.


I bought the same tube buffer. It now sits unused because while it did a little to 'fix' my digital, I decided I needed a 'better' fix and bought a VAC Standard preamp used to put between my DAC and the preamp I use. So now I use the VAC Standard four tube preamp as a tube buffer and am pleased.
So yes the Grant Fidelity does some, but not enough IMO.
I almost bought a Conrad Johnson for the same purpose, but the VAC was a good value.

Hi. I agree I heard a selection of Grant Fidelity products last Weekend and I agree with Elizabeth

Give them a miss.

GF is just rebadged chinese stuff(good or bad) marked up that you can buy from ebay or direct from chinese website.
Thanks, everyone. I kind of suspected this was the case.

What's an inexpensive tube preamp of fairly good quality?
The real use for a tube buffer is not to tailor the sound, though it will for better or worse, but to make impedance differences between source and preamp or preamp and amp more system-friendly. This is accomplished via a high input impedance on the buffer, which in turn outputs a very low impedance.

The EE BBA I used for impedance matching added other things to the sound I didn't like.
I use mine for internet radio. Makes a big difference with compressed source.

Not advised if you use a tube CDP, though.
There is at most a $17 difference in price & you get Canada based warranty back up + it is wired to GF spec's.
So, Elizabeth you are comparing a $180 buffer with a $multi thousand pre amp. I would certainly expect the VAC to be better at that price differential. Apples & oranges.
Team212, you are implying then that none of the GF products are any good? and that they should be avoided based on just your vague, uncorroberated opinion alone yes?
I do not work for the Co or have anything to do with them but this thread appears to be very biased. I do not find this to be so on other forums.
Sugith, I take it then you have tried the actual combination of B283 & tube CD player, yes?. What specifically was it about this particular combination you did not like? and for reference what was the tube CD player you used to formulate your opinion? TIA.
I bought one of them, it is connected to my cambridge 840C CD player RCA outputs (the other XLR outputs go directly to my integrated amp XLR inputs), it is difficult to notice the difference when switching between inputs because there is a voltage difference between the XLR and RCA connections on my CD player, so you must first level them and then judge the differences, in my opinion it is not a bad unit, but it will not turn a solid state amp into a valve my particular case, I am using a class D integrated amp and I´d rather prefer the transparency on my system against the "sweet distorted" sound of the buffer, my idea was to use it while playing MP3 or other compressed music but in the end I rarely use it.....hope this helps!
yes that does help. I do think buffers in general are worthy of greater discussion, too often people turn their nose up at them & take an anti position based on tired old formulaic nonsense about wire + gain which I am sick to death of hearing about because in a lot of cases it has got nothing to do with actually "listening" to different system set ups & more to do with entrenched pre conceived ideas.
Morning David,

Last year I was privy to a session in a private home"featuring " Products

imported/distributed by Grant

Fidelity--a fancy looking CD player with flashing Blue Lights(!)

which name escapes me, and

some massive Chinese Amps--Sheng-Ya.

Both the above were poor to average to say the least ( Speakers were Von Schweikert VR7's Not Grant's)

The Ls35a " clones" they sell are in the same boat in my opinion.

Caveat Emperor that's all I'm saying

Good Luck,

> What's an inexpensive tube preamp of fairly
> good quality?

What's the budget?
There are two versions of the B-283, one for mid-fi or vintage systems and the MKII for higher end systems, they are designed to add a taste of tubes to a SS source player, many thousands of happy customers have found other uses for them as well. The main thing they seem to do is convert SS types to tube :)

Team 212, whoever you are, never heard of you, but you sound like typical sore loser competiton to me, we don't have a CD player with flashing blue lights and not sure which big ShengYa's you are referring to or where or even if you ever heard them, but the big flagship ShengYa's have been reviewed by Dagogo's reviewer that only does big power and expensive amps as being as good and better as anything out there at any price.

Maybe the VR7's don't match with them or maybe they aren't good enough for the ShengYa amps which will reveal their weaknesses if any.

Again those that have heard my version of the LS3/5A beside the originals generally wonder what they were thinking with the fake bass hump, but maybe you like fake bass. Even those that are making current versions who have them are quite impressed.

Ian Grant.
Sorry,But I stick by my call the Big Black Sheng Ya Mono Block Amps I heard at Gary Lea's House in Las Vegas--using the Von S's were
frankly awful.

So put that in ya pipe and smoke it.

Like I stated Caveat Emperor

I've been using a Grant Fidelity B-283 MK 2 for about nine months now. It has taken the edge off of digital and I do believe extended the dynamic range of my system. It makes my ears happy.

I use a GF TubeDAC-09 as preamp with an Adcom 545 amp and it noticeably smooths out frequency response. Not the best but it improves sound. And that's what I wanted.
Well Des, you come trolling into a thread about the B-283 and stating none of our gear is any good based in some listening session, while most of the rest of the world thinks are products sound fantastic and exceptional value for the money.

Why don't you describe how you came to the conclusion the GF gear was at fault for not sounding good, while every owner and reviewer of said gear including Gary Lea who bought the gear thinks it is amazing and who's opinion actually carries weight in the high-end audio world.

I'm sure your explanation will just show you are biased against things you can't compete with as a business and how amateur you are in judging audio components.

I smoke cigars, you can suggest to others what you want them to drugs you want them to smoke that will make them think the stuff you peddle is any good.

I did not realize Des was an audio peddler, it wasn't clear from his post. Thanks for clarifying.
Duhhh? No Audio peddler here--that I know of anyway-ha!--

All I see is a retired old audiophool!

Ah well Mr GF sorry I called it as I heard it--

Over and out

I own both the 283 for my office system, and the 283 MKII for my main system. I absolutely love them both. It made a huge difference in my office system, and smoothed out my main system just enough for me to not feel the need to go to tube amps or pre. I rolled in some super cryoed Mullards for the MKII, which I feel are a nice improvement over stock. Though I will try the treasure tubes soon.

IMHO, for the small amount of money invested...I think trying them is a no-brainer.

I've been looking at the MK2 version but your post has me wondering which would be better for my system (note: first system!). I'm running mac mini (uncompressed files)through usb-DAC into Roksan Kandy Ka-1 integrated powering pair of Quad 22L2. Always liked the tube sound but the Quad's demand their have been on the fence between buffer and full tube preamp to smooth out the SS. Thanks for any suggestions.
I was also interested in a tube buffer to smooth out SS sound and tried the Yaquin 1 tube buffer. I liked what I heard and the buffer convinced me to dip further into the tube world and get a Mapletree Preamp. I'm really happy with this and certainly recommend that approach. For a few $ you can find out if tubes in the system would do anything for you. If so, you have the choice of stopping there with a buffer or go further and ad atube preamp. I find the tube preamp (with CJ SS power amp) to provide a level of musical satisfaction that has had me listening to my system for many months now with no further desire to futz or change anything.
Wow, hard to imagine getting to a place where I wouldn't was to fuss with it...but step in the right direction, thanks!
that Mapletree is one of the great values in audio and a giant killer sonically IMHO.
Pubul57, "that Mapletree is one of the great values in audio and a giant killer sonically IMHO."

Agree 100%, Paul!