Review: AUDIO EXPERIENCE SYMPHONIES Tube preamp


Category: Preamps

I recently asked Mr Chui Chi Wai of YS audio to build for me a new tube preamp, based upon the discontinued Music MK3 chassis but using the Symphonies components. The Music MK3 has tubes mounted on top of the cabinet, whereas the Symphonies tubes are inside the cabinet.
The folks at YS Audio began with a remaining MK3 chassis they had, but constructed a new chrome plated copper top plate to accomodate the the top mounted tubes and power switch. Unlike the original MK3, all other components are mounted inside the cabinet similar to the Symphonies line.
The result is a truly unique and beautiful preamplifier.
It been 3 days since I received this new preamp. I've been listening to it continuously. It has amazed me time after time. The detailed sound it creates is very natural. The soundstage it presents seems to have unlimited depth and width. On music, instruments and voices seem to be suspended at mid level and easily pinpointed in the listening field and well ahead of the loudspeakers.
After using primarily integrated amplifiers for years, I have discovered a new and much more revealing level of enjoyment of my music choices as well as movie soundtracks I listen to. Much more then I have experienced with my previous equipment, being Onkyo seperates.
Craftsmanship is very good with a sturdy chassis and heavy aluminum faceplate and large rubber feet. Volume and selector controls have a comfortable feel. Rear connections are easy to use and well laid out.
The YS Audio preamp matches well with my solid state Parasound HCA 1000A power amp. Although the preamp seems to have a tremendous amount of gain, the 10 o'clock position of the volume control is really quite loud while driving the Paradigm Monitor 9's, it is not at all unagreeable.
While some users may find the preamp to lack certain features such as a balance control, dual outputs, phono input and a remote control, from a minimalists point of view this preamp does exactly what it was designed to do and competes very well with other tube preamps currently available and at a very reasonable price.

Associated gear
PARASOUND HCA 1000A POWER AMPLIFIER
SONY ES CD PLAYER
PANASONIC A7 DVD PLAYER
XM SATELLITE RADIO
PARADIGM MONITOR 9 LOUDSPEAKERS
M&K V125 SUBWOOFER
WIREWORLD INTERCONNECT CABLES
LIBERTY ULTRACAP LOUDSPEAKER CABLES

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chrisras
I have the Symphonies R version along with the Concerto phono connected to a Hafler XL280 amp. I am using a pair of Norman Labs speakers set just over 5' apart and 3' from back wall and a second pair of speakers set next to them on the outside. People who come over to listen to my system are amazed by the experience. Wide (13' wide room) and deep sound stage.

When I bought the used Concerto I thought I was getting a Plus model. Upset at first, I was so blown away by what I was hearing that I didnt complain.

I agree with you that these are very good buys and that used one are not found easily is proof enough.