Ginas, if you take a look at my recent review of the Antique Sound Lab Flora EX DT preamp I share details about the highly regarded Shindo Labs Monbrisson preamp which I found to be quite ordinary in the context of my system, and my opinion based on my home audition was it was vastly over priced at $7000.00. Have fun in your auditioning process and if you read my review you might consider putting the Flora on your list.
If you are closer to Cleveland OH, there is a Shindo dealer there called Don Better Audio. Last time I visited, Jonathan Halpern of Tone Imports was there and he played a lot of music on an all Shindo system with PHY single driver speakers. It was very good and had surprising top end extension considering the system - so much so that the 50 year old LPs sounded quite scratchy. But the music managed to come through anyway and it was quite memorable. I left with the impression that the system was optimized for acoustic music rather than classical or rock...which might be bad in light of Shindo prices.... With low-powered amps, sound quality will largely depend on which speakers you choose.
I recently heard an all top line Shindo system (Latour field coils for speakers. Lafon 300b Mono's, top line shindo pre, Shindo Garrard 301) at pitchperfect audio in SF .... it was one of the most musically involving systems I have ever heard. I listened mostly to jazz and classical selections...all on Vinyl.
This is a comment on the entire Shindo system not the individual components out of that context as I have no experience with them in any other way.
Shindo Labs Monbrisson preamp which I found to be quite ordinary in the context of my system
with respect, i could not disagree more with the suggestion that the Monbrisson is anything less than an extraordinary pre-amp. i suspect that the qualifer -- "in the context of my system" -- is the operative part of you statement, if the "system" you are referring to is the one that includes an exclusively digital front-end and a pair of powerful SS monblocks. all of which is very nice equipment, but not what i would think of as good match for Shindo.
Ginas, on the other hand, appears to own other equipment that would mate quite nicely with the Monbrisson.
not sure where you live but there is a demo next weekend of the Audiospace Ref 2 along with the new Usher Tiny Dancer speakers in Michigan, The location is close to metro airport.
I can't compare the brands you mentioned. But I'll add this 2 cents for what it's worth. People always mention the tonal accuracy of Shindo preamps. What suprised me about the Shindo Vosne-Romanee preamp that I demoed in my system was the amount of detail. It had more detail than my EmmLabs DCC2 preamp (I just played digital, EMM CDSD/DCC2 alone vs. EMM CDSD/DCC2 as a source feeding the Shindo preamp). I expected better tonal accuracy, which it had, but I didn't expect even more detail. The demo has eliminated for me the myth that you have to give up detail to get better musicality.
I own a full Shindo system. I have owned the Monbrison and now the Vosne Romanee. If I had the cash, I'd buy the Giscours or even the Petrus. I've been through lots of gear, but to my ears the Shindo stuff is the best by far.
Thanks all for your inputs. Given what i have stated above for amps and speakers, will there be huge benefit for me to try Shindo starting with just a preamp or you think i should add the amp as well to fully realize its potential. What about speakers? Any suggestions? A friend who got me intersted in Shindo is currently using a pair of Wilson MaxxII and selling the Andras that i sold to him a few months ago. He said "Shindo is a revelation and "everything else" sounds fragmented"
Ginas - I encourage you to speak with Jonathan Halpern of Tone Imports or Matt Rotunda of Pitch Perfect Audio regarding Shindo preamps. When I was going through the process of choosing Shindo gear, both Jonathan and Matt advised me that the preamp would make the most difference in my system.
I took their advice and purchased a Shindo Monbrison to mate with a pair of SS monoblocks. I immediately noticed that music sounded more lifelike. Soon thereafter, the SS monoblocks were replaced with a Shindo Cortese stereo amp. The amp was a definite improvement, but I would have to say that the preamp produced the most significant sonic improvement in my system. I have since gone on to upgrade to the Giscours preamp and the Sinhonia monoblocks. Every single upgrade has resulted in a more lifelike presentation of the music. If you take a look at my system page you'll see that I have taken a long and winding road to get to the end of my amp/preamp journey!
I find myself listening to a lot more music and spending a lot less time looking for gear. In fact, I only visit Audigon for the Forum and Music sections these days!
I hope you have an opportunity to audition a Shindo preamp in your own system where your ears and musical preferences are the ultimate deciding factors.
I have also been looking at the green amps for some time as their sound, as described by he reviews, really appeals to me.
However I have three issues: a) a long interconnect length from pre to pwr amp of 5m, b) a sensitive pair of SET monoblocs needing only 0.7V for max output, and c) a pair of very efficient lowther based speakers.
All SHindo pre amps are high gain, high o/p impedance devices which may not function well in my set up. See also asylum thread here http://www.audioasylum.com/cgi/t.mpl?f=amp&m=120802
I would appreciate any feedback or comment, especially from users that have been faced with a similar set of issues and managed to get round them. Unfortunately I'm not able to listen to Shindo before buying.
The Shindo preamps are actually not all high output impedance. Everything from the Masseto and above is an extremely low 600ohms. The Monbrison and Aurieges are 5K. 5 meter IC's of the proper design can be used on the Masseto and above. This is not ideal with any preamp but can be used if necessary. 3.5 meter on the Monbrison and Aurieges is the maximum.
Gain is 16db in the line sections- normal. The taper is quick however and one can get into trouble with any system that utilizes very high sensitivity speakers or high sensitivity amplifiers without level controls on the amplifier.
Contact me offline for more info.
Thanks for your response Jonathan. I've been meaning to call you for a while but never gotten round to it!
Just to completely finish the thread for future reference, could you confirm that by the quick taper you mean the volume control characteristic is steep, that is, you wont have much of a volume control range to play with if the amps and speakers are sensitive?
It is always possible to make the power amps less sensitive by soldering in a couple of resistor at the input. I've talked to the designer who says the amps are immune to any overload regardless of input, the only problem I might have is a twitchy volume control.
I've been using a TVC passive up to now, but in a shorter IC setup. Just last week I bought an old (but good!) ARC SP-11 which I'll play around with for a while. While I'm sure it wont be quite as transcendental as a Shindo, it will at least allow me to see what the effect of having a high gain preamp in the system does for me. And its hardly slumming it ... the 11 is one I've wanted for 20 odd years and need to get it out of my bones!
"Just to completely finish the thread for future reference, could you confirm that by the quick taper you mean the volume control characteristic is steep, that is, you wont have much of a volume control range to play with if the amps and speakers are sensitive?"
It depends on many factors such as source voltage, room acoustics, room size etc. We've only had issues a couple of times with clients that had highly sensitive amps, small lively rooms and high senstivity speakers.