Here comes the Dude. What to expect?

I have my new Dude preamp in the Post and coming my way this week. It is my last component buy.

It has been told to me that the Dude had bigger balls than the AR Ref 3/5. Can the Dude keep up and run by some of the better preamps out there? If so what?

Hopefully there are some new Dude owners out there that can pipe in.
I don't know how it compares to the Ref 3 and 5 but it has transformed what I thought was possible in audio.

Here is what you should do to prepare and get the most out of the Dude.

Get footers as it does not come with any. I suggest a Sistrum stand to go under it. They work great under the Dude.

My second choice would be large brass cones - 3 of them.

Now buy some good 6sn7 tubes - 2 of them.I suggest Marconi black base NOS for $75 or so.They are the best I have heard in the Dude.

Last, please allow for burn in. At least 150 hours.

The Dude abides.
12sn7 tubes in my Dude.

They are 6sn7's? Please clarify what you are saying?


Glory, I understand now. Paul is using the 12sn7's as they are more affordable and widely available at real world prices.

You will love the Dude !!!!
Hi. I put the dude on three aurios pro max and they work quite nicely i think. as mentioned, do not listen too critically for a week or two because it takes a while to settle in == sounds veiled at first and dynamics are not what they will be. hope you enjoy it
I have Equarack footers for the Dude. As good as the HRS M3 stuff and better than the Sistrum 101-SP.

Have you tried the Sistrum VS. Equarack under the same piece of gear? Tube gear? Love to hear your comments on the differences.

So, is it what you expected?
The Equarack footers are better than the Sistrum in my system.. I had 4 SP-101/3 SP-1 and sold them for the Equarack footers. Had the Sistrums under my speakers and amps and the Equarack had a better organic sound to the music. Fuller and richer sound. Sistrum stuff is good / Equarack is better IMHO.


With 150 hrs. on the Dude it is now growing a beard and gaining weight/height. 6'5''and 185lbs.

Here is my review of the Dude:

LMAOAROTF/Farout/Outer Space/LOL/Did you hear that?/BIG 00'S/3.8k = stolen goods/Ugly looking on the outside/Beautiful on the inside/No name maker fine by me. NOT FOR SALE for many moons.
Thoughts on Equarack,

I couldn’t get enough of the sound. Sea changes were obvious from the first disc, Solo/Quartet, a multitracked solo-vibes outing from Bobby Hutcherson. It’s just a routine Fantasy OJC CD [OJCCD 425], digitally recorded in 1982, but with vibraphone, marimba, gongs, bells, and drums, it’s a percussion feast. Although my tube amp usually gave the proceedings a nice, warm glow, highlighting the beautiful sustain of the vibes, I always preferred the disc played through my backup amp, a powerful solid-state model. With the VAC-EquaRack combination, however, the sustain remained, but the tonk-tonk-tonk of the wooden marimba was more startling, more insistent, and the actual striking of the gong was now just as pronounced as its ringing always had been. I was getting ahead of myself, but after that first session I began to hope that I’d lucked into a harmonious combination of solid-state attack and tube decay.

After a few more sessions, it became evident that bass -- not deep bass (my Audio Physic Virgos don’t really go there), but electric and acoustic bass -- had lifted itself out of the mud that now permeated my living room; no spikes allowed on this carpet, just the plinths that came with the Virgos. Still, the bass was cleaner and sharper, or as sharp as bass can be and still be bass. All instruments in the lower midrange began to separate -- basses from cellos, bass guitar from the guitar’s lowest string -- just enough to define them in the way a solid-state amp will. But this was through my tube amp, with all the inherent advantages of tubes (the VAC is inarguably superior to my SS amp).

I’ve heard cones and shelves in my system that did this, too, but always at the expense of making the sound leaner. Everything would be tipped up slightly, making things in the middle sound thin, and things up top bright and etched. Not here. The EquaRacks didn’t give me the trumpets dipped in honey that you can hear through some euphonic tube systems (and which I got with my old rack in my old room), but I wasn’t diving for the volume knob, either. If you’ve ever heard someone play a trumpet right near you, you know the experience isn’t 100% pleasant. With the amp sitting directly on the maple shelf, high horn notes made me grind my teeth. With the EquaRack footers in place, Miles Davis could still make me wince a bit (which probably would have made him happy), but Chet Baker and Art Farmer now sounded sweet again -- not "buttery" or "golden," but brassy, as they should.

It wasn’t until I got around to concentrating on vocal harmonies that I realized I was missing something: smearing. I was listening for the syrupy blend of voices I’d gotten to know and love from my 300Bs, especially the "Ooooohs" and "Aaaaahs" from the Eagles and Beach Boys, but it was virtually gone -- the syrup, that is. The resulting sound wasn’t unpleasant, just a touch drier. I heard the five voices more as distinct individuals, with less studio echo -- a closer seat, if you will. Or maybe it’s just the way it’s supposed to sound. I wouldn’t know.

With instrumental music, which I listen to 90% of the time, the overall effect was a kind of stiffening or, more accurately, stability -- like the difference between riding in a Lincoln Town Car and riding in a Porsche. I felt the road more with the EquaRacks in place -- every pit, so to speak -- rather than happily but numbly gliding over them. Consequently, hard-edged music could sometimes get a bit uncomfortable. (You gonna drive that thing through the Baja? Ha!) On the other hand, because I listen much more often to jazz than to metal or late-1970s punk, the nimble ride is exactly what I’m looking for. For those of you who have trouble with the concept of pace, rhythm, and timing (PRaT), one session with these footers should finally raise that curtain. I’m not kidding.

I’m also pretty much convinced that this unusual stability or lack of euphonic smearing (I’m talking tube amp here, not SS) contributed to the solidity of the imaging and the origin of sounds. The soundstage I’m used to with the VAC-Virgo combination has always been kind of huge and billowy, even now that the speakers are firing the length of the room instead of sitting along the long wall. The images, while very full-bodied -- meaty, even -- weren’t, however, snapped into place the way the way they are with solid-state. (That, by the way, is a very nice thing about solid-state that few tube addicts will admit.) Even the images out on the flanks behind the speakers were more solid, more convincing, giving the impression of a wider stage even if it wasn’t actually expanded. More effective stage area? I was very happy that I could now enjoy this kind of image focus while retaining the Virgos’ panoramic sound spread.

One last thing: My earlier hissy-fit aside, the precision of these finicky little pellets has not been overstated. I tried adding or subtracting just one pellet from each footer (not the ones under the amp -- those are permanent, believe me), and the change was equivalent to using different cables, or substituting squishy Sorbothane pucks (verboten) for the EquaRacks, or using no footers at all. Adding (underloading) made the sound harder and cleaner, in general, while subtracting (overloading) seemed to make things softer, duller, and, yes, more smeary. These are very general impressions, but I was never able to take the sound for long with purposely misloaded footers. Just do as I say, not as I do, and mind the instruction manual. Joe Ciulla hasn’t gone through the obvious trouble for nothing.


So -- with the headaches and backaches now receding into the distant past, was it worth the effort? Duh. Is the EquaRack Multi-Mount still the most annoying product I’ve ever used? Only turntables are worse. Maybe the pellet holes could be a bit deeper, or maybe the cap’s depressions should match those of the base. Maybe perfectly sized blocks could be provided (what would they cost -- a nickel apiece?).

But the gains are hard to argue with, especially with transports and tube amps, although a sampling of EquaRack’s sonic signature (they’ll hate that -- there should be no sonic signature) was available after I’d mounted only my digital preamp. Proceed carefully, trying three or four Multi-Mounts at a time: first under the transport, then the amp, especially if it’s a tube job. The results will vary, as it always does, with the makeup of your system, the room it occupies, the construction of your floor, where you live in relation to fault lines, the humidity, how your stock portfolio is performing, etc.

But most important, I’m using the Multi-Mounts in conjunction with solid maple shelves that I’m pretty much stuck with, and nothing aside from levitation can truly isolate a component from the shelf it sits on. The moment you decouple something from a shelf, it falls down. Nonetheless, three Multi-Mounts cost $300. That may be a bit high for those contemplating a one-size-fits-all platform, but the result will make you glad you gave up that dinner out on Saturday night to make up the difference.

EquaRack Multi-Mount footers are unique. The niche Joe Ciulla has created -- of viscoelastic-based footers that can be easily adjusted to accommodate components of any weight -- is a conceptual A+. Ingenious.

Ha! Nice short review of the Dude. I will look into those Equarack Footers for sure.

At some point I would love to hear more of your thoughts on the Dude and what it has done for your music collection.
The Dude will need White Russians to work properly.
What is White Russians?
You need to go back and watch The Big Lebowski again!
The Dude continues to be the heart of my system.

The heart of huge, effortless and engaging sound.

I like it more everyday like a great marriage!
White Russians? This may help,
Hey, careful, man, there's a beverage here!
What "trash for the can" this Dude Lebowski is. You guys are on the F... drug for posting this.
Glory sorry for dragging down your thread! Just trying to have a little fun. The Dude is an American icon! I guess thats a sad statement of who we are...!
"I'm not--we're talking about unchecked aggression here-"

Sorry, I couldn't help it, Glory.
"trash for the can"....blasphemous....i think in most cases you'll find The Dude abides :)
Gary, nice poetic review...reminds me of the new "flarf" school of poetry where they throw odd word combinations at Google and then transcribe the results. It is stark contrast to your more traditional, detailed footer description. Any current impressions? What did the Dude add to your system that your previous pre did not?
Now that I've been schooled on the history of the Dude and it's name I take back my sly remark about the F bombs.

The Dude now is over the 350 hr. mark and I must say it has added the final piece to my system. Organic sound is the main ingredient in the mix.

It is a keeper.
Great to hear Glory. Enjoy your music collection!
Indeed. Back to the music collection.....enjoy.
Back to those Creedence tapes!
Well, owning the Dude with a pair of Samsons is like owning a Picasso. More on that later.
Topsel. Hopefully you are not in your Blue period!
A nice oriental rug will really tie your listening room together.

Where did you go?
hey man ....many of us take comfort in knowing 'the dude' is out there somewhere...

It's there you just can't see it in the pic.
OK, OK, I don't own a Picasso....but the Dude paints quite a picture.
OK here is a little more on the I can't write this. This is my fifth time trying to write something about this stuff but I can't. How do I find the right words??? I know I can't and won't.

It's everything I ever wanted from music and sound but nothing I could've imagined possible.....and even now, how do I explain the sound when the sound is still improving after all this time when I'm well over 1K hrs. It's smooth, creamy smooth but not's creamy smooth with dynamics that will give you a heart's very detailed but I'm not talking about the detail when you all of a sudden hear an instrument that wasn't there before, you get all that too, it's the kind of detail where you hear or feel, for example, vibrations of an acoustic guitar's sound box if you will. I should know, I played a classical guitar for years and I know that feeling and it's there. Same goes for piano, cello, electric guitar you name it. it's all the intimate details of instruments, pure awesomeness......It's the Dude..........what a perfect name.

I’m bad at this so I better stop here and go back to listening to music. Give it a lot of time, looks like mine isn't done yet.
Can one of the owners of the dude tell me what brand of caps are used within

Mundorf Supremes for the two output caps. Otherwise the unit is full of Red Bull and Coke can sized caps elsewhere.
Sprague caps and many of them in addition to an overbuilt tube regulated power supply contribute much to the superlative sound the Dude produces.

No upgrade itch here, just musical pleasure.

Thanks for the update.


Finally we have a component that abides. Kind of like someone we know.
You guys should read what Gallant Diva has to say about his Dude preamp on his virtual system thread. Very interesting and exciting.

The Dude is a great music maker and the word is getting out! I am happy that more and more Audiogon members are enjoying this wonderful preamp.
I wonder what the Dude would sound like with V-caps at the output stage ? May be this is a good for TRL.
Tuongsy, it could sound very good, but there is only one way to find out. I was interested in the Clarity MRs and Mundorf Supremes and eventually decided on 22 uF supremes in the output stage. Give it a try and let us know. Another friend uses the V-caps in his Musical Design pre-amp output stage and likes them very much....
Hi Agear.

I have the V-Caps on the output stage on my Supratek Chardonay. They are shockingly good !! I am having the urge to try the Dude out. This addiction can get very expensive.
I would give the Dude a whirl (or at least try to hear one)....
Agear, thanks for your input about the DUDE & TRL when I emailed you awhile back! I read all the threads & controversy & went ahead & ordered one anyway!

Got my DUDE 2day it is great!! The build quality is something else!!

It took a little bit to get but it was well worth the wait!

Paul, at TRL was very responsive to my emails & calls!!

I'm very pleased!!

thanks Jim
Great to hear C5vette! Let us know what you think of the sound once it settles into your system.
C5vette, that is sweet. That beast will take a while to break in due to the cap sizes involved. You are in for a treat. The new chassis looks stellar...keep us posted....
If this sounds like this in less then 24 hours & folks are telling me it will sound that much better 3 weeks from now!!

They ought to sell for alot more!!

I got it yesterday! Paul told me not to listen to it for a day, "let it settle"!! Thats a joke!! Thats like telling an addict, wait for tomorrow the stuff will work better!

I had a signal going through it as soon as I could get it into the system!! I thought it was nice,it sounded OK!! Left it on all night! Woke up this morning & put cd in!! I thougth damm this sounds better then yesterday but didn't want to turn it up too loud the wife was sleeping!! I could tell it was that much more improved!! Got home a little while ago, left DUDE on all day!! It wasnt' my imagination this thing is GREAT!!

I had Lamm L2 I bought it used off AG, it was good but it wasn't built as well as this!!

I had never heard of TRL or the DUDE & I thought it was a stupid name for a pre-amp! What do I know!! lol

I buy & sell here on AG for a few years but hardly ever go into the forums! One day I did & read all the threads about the DUDE & some of the glowing reviews & also of the issues some of the members had!!

I decided to get one!!

This is alot of equipment for the $$!!

You know us guys are about this stuff we buy the hype!!

If some major audio house built something like this it would cost us over 15k!!

Thanks to any of members that answered my emails, while I was in the thought process to make this purchase!!

Ordered my Dude today...
So Jason, no need for that Charlotte demo? lol. Good decision....keep me posted....