Nope, but maybe the engineers among us can make s/thing out of the technical blurb. My knowledge is so limited, I thought Doppler was something docs used...
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I read the Anna Log review on avguide.com and wrote to H-CAT in March saying I would buy a preamp the very second they had one available to sell. They wrote back saying production units should be available in April. I wrote them twice after and heard nothing back again. I have to think this product is more on the myth side of things.
Actually I have the first one. Or rather I should say the 1st then the 2nd and now the 3rd. I feel somewhat like a beta tester, but boy was it worth it! The first version had too low input impedance. The second had problems with thermo-run away. The third is perfect.
I would not pretend to say I fully understand what is going on with this unit, but what you hear is the most immediate presentation you will ever hear. It makes all other preamps sound decidedly slow and unresolving. But its forte is sound staging. Performers and instrument voices are real size rather than exaggerated, and as a result you are there!
You know my excitement has nothing to do with making anything off the H-Cat, but is just that after 35 years of audio with slight improvements, I now know what a quantum improvement is. Run don't walk to get one. I have already order a phono stage, which might well be awesome in the true meaning of this word. The amp will take me longer as I have never heard a solidstate amp I liked and I need mono blocks.
Hi, I thought that semi-review would get some reaction. Bwhite, how did you know I had had a Supratek Syrah? I have had four exceptional preamps in my system, actually five. The Syrah was the first two. First I had a stock unit which sounded great, especially the phono, but ultimately one chanel went bad. It was too costly to return it to Mick, so I sent it to John Tucker at Exemplar. He had already built several amps for me which were parafeed using the 6N1P. He repaired my Syrah and ultimately convinced me to converting it to parafeed with an active load on the 6N1Ps substituted for the 6SN7s. It was startlingly better, more dynamic and quieter. The phono remains as was and was still the best phono I have heard.
Number three was Tucker's full blown Exemplar line stage which was identical to that installed in my Syrah except with the exceptional ss power supply John has developed. It had a better sound stage and better bass extention. You can see it at http://www.exemplaraudio.com/EA-1.ht
Next came version one of the H-Cat P12, which had the sound staging advantage in spades, but the Exemplar, while sounding more like tubes, was more musical or pleasing. But this H-Cat did not like my tube dac. It was called back as was the Exemplar for changes. During this period I tried the Seamless Big Dog passive transformer/pot. After extensive breakin, it was more dynamic than any prior passive unit I have tried, including the Silver Rock, and of course was neutral in sound.
Then the H-Cat returned in triumph. After about two weeks, it was king of the hill as I wrote. The Exemplar is back and breaking in, but I really have no expectation that it can outperform the H-Cat.
I use an Accustic Arts transport, a Zanden 5000 dac, a Marantz SA-1 sacd player, Siltech G5 cables, Omega Mikro ac cords plus some Elrod EPS3s, a Sound Application EX12S, and Beauhorns. The amps are 2A3 parafeed, active loaded Exemplar mono blocks using the TJ300B 2.5 v. tubes. I also have Epps 7' tall subs driven by a Citation 7.1 amp.
Tbg - Me again. Could you be more specific about the H-Cat specs:
- Does it have XLR outs or just single ended RCA
- What inputs can it accept (How many, what type..)
Also, apart from imaging, how does it sound: treble / mid / bass?
Lastly, have you considered getting the H-Cat power amp, if the preamp is so good?
Yes, sorry I forgot It has no balanced capability input or output. It has four inputs; all RCA and only one set of outputs.
Startling and immediate are the best adjectives. The top end with the precise imaging is very impressive as high hat shimmers and metal sounds like metal. The bass is most profound, seriously better than what I am accustomed to.
Yes, as I said I have never heard a ss amp that I can stand, but I am probably going to have to try one or a pair of Roger's, using one channel on the subwoofers. I have already ordered the phono stage.
hmmm... i heard the H-CAT preamp and their amp at Anna Logg's place when NJAS held its meeting over there...it didn't impress me or most of the other members i talked after...we all thought that the units were a little bit pricey for what they can do, and the theory on their webpage is a little bit of mambo-jumbo...why would one wanna buy audio gear that takes away the doppler effect found in every single instrument that plays in an orchestra or in a band?...just my opinion...the are better amps or preamps for the money out there...