Rare find Blowtorch Audio Preamp


Went to one of my local dealers today to buy some used records and on the used audio shelf was a Blowtorch Audio Preamp in excellent condition. This was built by 3 people back around 1997 by John Curl, Carl Thompson and Bob Crump. John designed the circuit and power supply. Carl Thompson created the optimal board and Bob Crump selected the parts. The Preamp and power supply were housed in billets os Aero-Space grade aluminum. Some build features include teflon insulated silver wire. A fully symmetrical circuit. Gold plated circuit boards. Toshiba NOS Jefets and Hitachi NOS Mosfets. It's all hand soldered w/silver solder.. It has 2 separate volume controls and a phase reversal switch. John Curl called this preamp his finest effort. New in 1997 it was $20,000. The production number on the unit was 0004. Dopey me I forgot to ask the price. Very impressive and rare.
luxmancl38
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Next time ask and share it here. Interested in how much it's selling for....
I'll be stopping by Fidelis in Nashua NH next week to pick up a few more records. I'll ask. Wondering if anyone has heard this preamp or owned one.
I was in CES 2001 with Curl and Crump and the Blowtorch and their Bar B Q amp. I isolated the Blowtorch on my sub Hertz Nimbus platform. 🤗 The next year Curl debuted his JC-1s, scaled down Bar B Qs, at CES; I isolated four count em JC-1s on Prometheans in a biamped Wisdom Audio Speaker system. Also Number Cruncher DAC. The high started its downward spiral this year. 😬

“This room used the DDR Digital System Prototype ($12,500) and the CTC Blowtorch Line stage preamp ($12,500). The digital front end and preamp sat on a unique stand using a floating counter weight from Machina Dynamica. The Wisdom Audio M-50 loudspeakers ($23,500) were driven by four of the previously mentioned Parasound JC-1 amps ($3,000 each). Cables and interconnects were all from TG Audio.”
There were only 38 of the CTC Blowtorch preamps made. The second one was specially made for a guy that only wanted a single stereo volume control. It was the only one made with the single volume control.

in October of 2003 Bob Crump was doing a ’tour’ with the Blow Torch preamp + Vendetta phono stage and visited me in my old room. he had been traveling demo’ing to various people. he left the Blow Torch with me for a couple of days and i compared it to my Placette passive in my system. in my particular system at that time i thought that the Blow Torch was really great sounding and very dynamic, and maybe the Placette (passive volume control + custom Jena Labs passive switchbox) was a bit more out of the way of the music. so i did not pull the trigger to get the Blow Torch. the Vendetta was also very good but a ’push’ with my Lamm LP2 phono i had then.

Bob was a real larger than life character (in the best sense) and sadly passed away a few years later.
Hard to believe it was 14 years ago. RIP. At least he got to hear the Intelligent Chip in Vegas that year 2005, which I demo’d for him and Curl. 🤗
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Probably his dying wish....
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Artificial atoms did him in? I could believe antimatter. 
Jump on the preamp asap!!!!
I called them yesterday and they confirmed the price was 10K. For those that heard it how does it compare to some of the higher priced preamps on the market.
Almost bought one a few years ago for 7k but after listening to it (in a friends system) did not impress, yes it was good but not great IMHO.
Uh, your friend’s system must have had some problems, I’ve heard the Blowtorch on really good systems for the duration of two CES. That’s what, six days? 🤗
How similar sound wise is the Blowtorch to the JC-1?
Same general family. Extremely low noise, very high channel separation and realistic sounding.