Review: Audcom AP-120 Tube preamp
Well let me start this review off with the company. Sekei is a wonderful company to do business with. Andy has provided me with lots information on my purchase and a delight to deal with. The package came in just 2 days. The package was double boxed and in perfect shape. Shipping only cost $10.
Now to the preamp, the Audcom is built a lot better than I expected for a piece that only costs. $329. Yes, I know only $329! The front face is pretty thick aluminum and the unit is pretty heavy for a preamp. I started off with the stock tubes, which were Chinese 12ax7. They were ok, and a definite improvement over using my Outlaw 950 pre/pro as the preamp. I already ordered some 12au7’s to do some tube rolling and experimenting with the sound. I went with the 12au7 due to the fact that this preamp has a really high gain output. It will put out upwards of 20 volts. Even though the 12au7’s lowered the output some, I still had to utilize the –6 db setting on the preamp. The only tubes I’ve tried so far are the Jan Philips. After about 4 hours of burn in I’m a happy camper. The preamp added the warmth and smoothness my system was missing. I don’t have all the catchy words or phrases to describe everything about this unit but what I will say it that it is very musical. I’m using this with a Krell KAV-250a and modded Magnepan MMG’s. The source unit is a DPA Renaissance cdp and a Pioneer 563a universal player. Prior to the preamp, my system had a harsh and bright edge to it. Now with the preamp in all of that is gone with all the detail and sound staging there. I do not have an extensive experience with tube preamps but from my various auditions in the local hifi shops this unit is on par with the Rogue 99 and the Audio Research SP-16. I’m not saying that the Audcom is better than them; I’m saying that I have no desire to go out and purchase them even if they were discounted by 50%. I like the Audcom that much. This is definitely the missing link in my system. The only downside is the remote. It is a pretty flimsy piece of plastic but other than that the rest of the unit is pretty solid. I’ve only got about 24 hours on this thing right now. I can’t wait to seed what the following months will bring and how the different tubes will sound.
DPA Renaissance CDP
Modded Magnepan MMG's
Audio Research SP16L