SMc Audio VRE preamp anyone?

As the title suggests -- anyone have experience with this McCormack preamp? I used to have a TLC-1, DNA.5 and Mod Squad phono stage set up that has always stayed in memory as a wonderfully musical amplification package. I've moved on (and up, to some extent) and now have a pair of Spectron Monos needing a new (hopefully long-lived, if not final) preamp upgrade. I'm interested in learning more about Steve's ultimate pre-amp from anyone who has heard one.

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I just saw the SMC pre review. Interesting for sure. how is it superior to the Llamm pre you had?

Ever try the xa 100s?

I've been using the TDB 5150 in 2ch mode lately. it's power increases using less channels. With only two in play, it's reportedly above 210 or so.... according to Butler Audio.

it's sure an interestng musical experience. Imaging is first rate revealing what added power does for the Silverlines. too bad one can not roll the tubes though.
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"Quietest it's been."

No doubt. Balanced do do that.

tough decision... well that says something too.

I've been toying with the idea of a change in power line devices, but resist losing the tube influence. As you said however, these speaks do better with more power. Not enormously, but surely some... the Odyssey and now Butler have verified that sufficiently enough for me.
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I have had mine since last December. I needed a 0 gain pre-amp to run with my high gain Yamamoto A-09S 300B amp to a pair of Zu Definition Mk II speakers. While this may sound like a somewhat unnatural pairing, I have been extremely pleased. As Tvad indicated, quiet, resolution and dynamics are all there. In addition I have found it to be very balanced. While this is my first high dollar pre-amp, I have owned the Blue Circle BC-3, Joule Electra LA-150 Mk I and First Sound Presence Deluxe Mk II. I have also had in my system pre-amps from CAT and Supratek. While none of them sounded bad, they all left me with a feeling that something was missing. That feeling is now gone. I never think about the pre-amp anymore. That's probably the highest compliment I can give.

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Hi Oscar -

I just want to point-out that there is an owner review of the VRE-1 posted in the Reviews section here on Audiogon. Here is the link:

There is another owner planning to post his observations in the reviews section in a week or 2, so keep an eye out for that. And, of course, feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

Best regards,

Steve McCormack
SMc Audio
I love to hear such enthusiasm about equipment. Since owning the calypso I do not see myself searching for any new preamp any time soon, but I was wondering how much better is the vre over the calypso? Please be gentle I like the calypso very much maybe I shouldn't have asked.
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Just wondering if this preamp is that good, why not come up with trickle down technology of this design for less so more of us can purchase it.
It would be great to see a U.S.A. product dominate the audio scene by making an affordable preamp that outperforms the European models like Dartzeel and the Japanese Zanden-- it is Japanese isn't it. My point let's bring U.S. back to its former glory and at the same time for us paupers to be able to afford world class preamps.
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I too would love a VRE-1 especially after reading reviews & seeing pics of it on the net. Now unless I hit the lotto or get a huge inheritance I won't be getting a VRE-1 anytime soon. Pedrillo as an alternative you can buy a vintage McCormack preamp (TLC-1, TLC-1 Deluxe, etc etc) and have it modified @ SMc Audio. I think the Ultra revision was $1700 last time I looked. Not a VRE-1 but still great US made quality.