I recently purchased a new SLP98P preamp. The phono section needs repair and while the unit is back at Cary I am considering some of the Cary upgrades including. (will try NOS tubes later): -Jensen Oil Copper coupling caps -Audio One output caps -hexfreds -direct coupled option
Any suggestions on what is the best combination of changes to give the most improvement for the money. I have built a number of kits and DIY projects so installing caps is not an issue but I would need some guidance on what caps to replace including physical locaton. I especially don't know much about the direct coupled option.
After a short period of time listening to the preamp my initial impression is positive. I would prefer a smoother (not less detailed) top end and better bass - both definition and impact. It is also possible the preamp is not completely broken in.
Rest of system is Aerial 6 speakers, CJ 2250, Naim CD5, LP12. Also trying Spendor S6e speakers and AES Six Pac amps. I enjoy mostly rock and jazz and some classical.
Direct coupling (on past Cary pre's) eliminates any capacitors coupling the gain stage tube to the driver tube. The output capacitors remain and those caps are what you should spend time learning about. Tons of info over at Audio Asylum in the DIY Tube forum and plenty more in Tweakers. Good luck.
I have the oil caps and direct coupling, on my dealer's recommendation (he does massive Cary biz and has a great relationship with Dennis)...have not heard the stock preamp, but it's a giant killer as modded and tube-rolled -in my system (Lamm ML2s, Avantgarde Duos).