the best preamp is no preamp, After you connected the CDP direct you realized your current pre was not transparent? Forget about adding another component in the signal path. go direct and spend your money elsewhere.
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Not to beat a dead horse, but did you adjust the internal output switches in the Wadia for highest output voltage(0.3V to 4.25V) and set the 7BSST to 1V input sensitivity when you tried the Transformer Volume Control(TVC)?
Seems odd that such a bad performance resulted because, on paper, your system should have been perfect for a TVC with the Wadia's high output voltage and low output impedance of 15 ohms into the the Bryston's 1V input sensitivity and 20Kohm balanced input impedance.
The problem was not with 7B SST input sensitivity or Wadia’s output (which I did not adjust BTW), and here is why.
I had another player available during this mini session, Esoteric DV50, which gives much higher voltage on output, problems with TVC were the same. Music was louder, but still dull, no dynamics, and with loss of transparency in comparison to Wadia direct (Esoteric of course could not go direct to amps since it has no its own volume control).
Also, TVC I had was balanced unit, so I used 2V setting on 7B SST which works well for balanced, it was balanced out of Wadia into TVC and balanced into 7B SST.
Sashav- I used the Placette Passive Linestage for few years. The Placette Passives(you may already know) use no attenuator at all. They are a resistor ladder, built exclusively of Vishay Bulk Foil resistors(virtually invisible in an audio circuit). Bottom line: Nothing will be added or taken away from your signal but level, when you require. Now the caveat: If you choose the passive route: Be certain your sources have enough output voltage to drive your amps/speakers to satisfying SPLs. there are a lot of recordings out there that were engineered at low average levels, and are(or were to me) un-exciting at the SPLs that result(ed). I bought an inexpensive passive attenuator to experiment with(a Creek) first. The vast majority of my collection was quite satisfying, and the Placette was extremely transparent with my system(which is all about definition/resolution from top to bottom- without glare/stridency/etc).
Sashav- I should have included this with my last post, RE: Availablility of a balanced Placette. Read the last two paragraphs on page one of this review:(http://placetteaudio.com/reviewpage1.htm) You may want to download and check out this review as well: (http://www.avguide.com/products/product-497/)
The issue with the Wadia has been that while its a great player, the volume control gets you into trouble. In basic terms, its no good below about 85 on the display- you loose too much resolution. So to get the best results with it you have to have a good transparent line stage.
The way you set up the Wadia is to set the internal jumpers to the lowest output setting available, then run it in the preamp.
With some amplifier/speaker combinations, upon resetting the output level as above, you can get by without a preamp, but otherwise, the result **should** be that if the preamp is a good combination, it will actually sound better with the preamp than without.
Direct drive is better than through mediocre pre but a superior pre will beat direct drive every time. My dcs stacks sound excellent driving my power amps directly but improve much further with a Boulder 1010 pre. Look for the balanced tube pre such as atma mp3 or asthetix calypso or Modwright 36.5.
I have expereinced the same thing with a GNSC modified 850. The most transparent I have heard was an Audiopax per-amp. Although I did not take it home to try in my system, I spent a few hours with it at a shop in NH. I could not hear any clear difference between the system with the pre in or with the Wadia direct. In my system, the best I have heard is the Pass X1, which accentuates the midrange a bit, which could be good opr bad depending on system matching. I have not been able to identify drop in resolution due to the digital volume control, although it is difficult to tell due to the change in percieved sound as volume changes. My experience has been that the drop in resolution due to adding a preamp is quite obvious, more so than anything the DVC does. I have not tried an AtmaSphere pre-amp, though.
I disagree with Tvad..............the Lamm LL2 Deluxe is one of the best preamp when using 1950's black sable mullard tubes and all the Vishay caps are replace with Vcaps TFTF/OIMP and Mundorf silver/gold caps. Those who have not heard a Lamm LL2 Deluxe with these modifictions are missing out on an extreme preamp at its best. Check out my system and you will see what it takes to make a great system much greater by ten fold.
I did not say it wasn't a great preamp. I owned one. I know how excellent it was in my system.
However, I stand by the statement that it is not as transparent (neutral) as many other preamps (although it's also not rolled off, bloated or lacking extension). It's what made mine so musical. I used mine with Mullard Blackburn 12AU7, 6922 and 6X4 tubes from the late 50s and early 60s.
Also, I was speaking about a stock Lamm LL2 Deluxe preamp, as this is what 99% of buyers would be purchasing.
Tvad, sorry you took this personal, I am only telling Sashav that the Lamm LL2 Deluxe can be a good choice and not to rule it out because of one negative thread. If you don't like what I have said, then take a hike and leave your thoughts out of this forum.
Sashav, good luck on finding the right preamp. I have had many high end preamps and I have found this LL2 deluxe to be just as good as most very high end preamp as a stock preamp and at a very reasonable price. With the modifications that I have done on this LL2 Deluxe, it will be very hard to find any stock preamp to out perform this preamp.
Offering an alternate point of view is not an indication of taking something personally, unlike lashing out at someone for expressing it.
In fact, it seems we agree about the LL2 Deluxe's transparency/neutrality. In November you wrote:
11-30-07: JagdynamicsYou wrote the LL2 Deluxe lacked detail in the highs and lows. Lack of highs and lows are characteristics of a preamp that lacks transparency and neutrality.
If you re-read all I have written in this thread, and all I have written about the LL2 Deluxe in about 25 other threads, you will see that I owned one and that I loved it.
IMO, in my system, it was not as neutral as the Modwright, Atma-Sphere, First Sound or Bryston preamps I have owned.
Lack of ultimate transparency/neutrality doesn't mean the preamp doesn't sound wonderful. In fact, I enjoyed the LL2 Deluxe more than the Bryston, Modwright and First Sound preamps, and if the LL2 Deluxe was balanced (a preferred requirement of Sashav's mentioned above), it's a good bet I'd still own one.
Frankly, we both seem to be admirers of this preamp, and we are both believers in the benefits of using Mullard Blackburn tubes. So, other than differing opinions about the degree of neutrality of the stock unit (which your November post indicates you actually experienced), I cannot understand what your beef is.
I agree with Mrtennis. There are many great solid state preamps along with tube amps that will do well with the Wadia 581i SE. To name a few solid state preamps that I have enjoyed in the past were (Accuphase C-2800,MBL 6010D ref.,Spectral DMC-20 ref.,) tubes: (First Sound Paramount Mk II SE,VTL 6.5 sig.,CJ Art series 2, VAC Renaissance Mk II sig.). The reason I chose the Lamm LL2 Deluxe because of its price range, and it perform the best for its resolution (1.5hz-400khz), extreme transparency (neutral) when using my Stax 4070 cans/SRM-007tII driver. By using the Stax system and having a very good source, I was able to be very critique on the audio gear. Good Luck!
Not much to say as I've been out all day. Based upon my casual (and short) first listen earlier today and brief fifteen minute check in about a half an hour ago the KXR has seemingly already exceeded my expectations; suffice it to say there are no issues with regard to transparency.
The rest of the system is: Wadia 861se GNSC Statement, Ayre MX-R monoblocks, Focal Alto Utopia Be speakers, MIT Magnum MA ICs/SCs, HRS M3 platforms/kits for all components and a mix of VH Audio Airsines and Shunyata Anaconda Helix Alphas for power with MIT Z-Stabilizer III HG units.
There are preamps that are detailed and apparently transparent and dynamic, and then there are preamps that can convey the texture of the instrument's sound as well as the inner details and dynamics. I would hope that the latter is what you are looking for. The best ones that I've foind seem to be tubed.
There was an Audio Prism Mantiss silver signature preamp here on Audiogon that would be a steal, and it has all the attributes I speak of. It is a bit old these days, but an amazing preamp none the less.