Tim De Paravicini's designs are well thought of by the likes of Pink Floyd and countless others in the pro audio world. You will likley find this to be more robust than typical comparable products.
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Are their any owners of this preamp out there that have settled with it after owner some of the higher price stuff. This preamp intrigues me becuase it is relatively inexpensive and TdPs reputation is stellar, I jsut wonder if he is able to put out a product at this price point that competes with the likes of the $5-10K stuff out there.
I own one but haven't used it in a while. I used it as a back-up to my SP10II. Harry Pearson of TAS reviewed it and made a comparison between its sonic signature and that of the SP10. Sounds quality is good but its build quality is, IMHO, poor, contrary to Shadornes expectations that it would be robust. The owners manual incorrectly identifies tubes or their locations or both, and manufacturer support was (is?)absymal. Look at one with the lid off, listen to it with the right tubes installed, check out all the functions to make sure they work, and make your own decision whether it will float your boat. If its not already apparent, IMHO, this pre-amp doesn't compete (successfully) with $5 to $10k stuff but if you want a small, cheap, pre-amp that sounds pretty good, check it out.
It beats my SP-9mkII in almost every respect and not by a small margin either. It blows it into the weeds. My only reservation is tonal neutrality. The ARC is more neutral through the frequency range. The 834's upper treble and lower bass could be ever so slightly emphasized by comparison to the SP-9. But this is nothing to be phased about. The most important areas are spot on as can be I.e. upper bass/lower mids. Lots of energy here without overhang or excessive bloom. Just spot on. Rest is very transparent with pin sharp image focus and stability. This is modern day tube sound at it's best. Not for the old school tube lovers of the romantic sounds of yore.
I have the 834L. I bought it used from Echo Audio. It was modded without changing any values except with the resistors to a slightly higher value than the stock. I was told that this increased the sonic weight of the Pre. The caps were replaced with Haviland Musicaps, Caddocks Resistors and HexFred Diodes. Now fellow members, the 834l can compete with any thing out there $5000 to 6000 range. Also get some good tubes and go to Herbies Audio Lab and get some RX7 tube dampning rings and it will go to another level. It will never leave your system. You will be amazed.