Great initiative Markus, I will hopefully have a Supratek pre later this year, will follow this thread going forward and hopefully many Supratek owners will join inn.
23 responses Add your response
The phono preamp is very, very good. As noted above, I am using a Dynavector 17D3 cartridge on a Linn Ittok arm. I have previously owned (and enjoyed) the Dynavector 10x5 mkII, which is a very nice cartridge, and, many years ago, a Sumiko Blue Point special.
In terms of other phono stages, I have used internal phono stages in the following order -
Eico ST70 integrated
Luxman 1055 receiver
Naim 72 with MM and MC phono boards
Main 82 with MM and MC phono boards
I acknowledge that, of all these, only the Linn Linto would be worth talking about. The Linn is a well-regarded phono preamp, but by no means would it be considered reference quality. I've never had the chance to hear listen to a reference quality phono stage. Over the many years I've "been an audiophile" I've mostly concentrated on buying and listening to music. Mostly records. I've had little interest in upgrading. I find auditioning equipment to be stressful and no fun.
I chose the Cortese with LCR because A) the vast majority of the comments about Suprateks on the internet are overwhelmingly positive. No, they are more than positive - they are the comments of very happy people who are delighted with their purchase. B) After reading Mick's blog posts about the evolution of the design of the Cortese and development of the LCR phono stage it sounded like what I was looking for. I wanted to treat myself (I just retired from a near 40 year professional career) to a "final" preamp, with a phono stage. And because I have many thousands of records, I went ahead a pulled the trigger.
I recognize my ability to compare this phono stage to others is very limited. But here is what I notice when listening to my records now;
1. New sonic details emerge which greatly contribute to my enjoyment and and understanding of the recording. Tunes which were previously boring often have become much more interesting, because I can hear how the musicians are - or are not - playing together. These tiny details (an in-drawn breath, an extra bit of force between a flatpick and a guitar string, a more heavily plucked bass guitar string, the atmosphere of the venue within which the recording took place) are delightful. The downside is that, if a producer has been careless in a production choice (like heavily boosted bass on a hip-hop track) I also hear that.
2. Tone; instrumental timbres are weightier and richer. More fully fleshed out, more "rounded".
3. The music is not fatiguing. In fact, this extends to the Cortese overall - this preamp has transformed my soundsystem and I want to spend much more time with it. Listening sessions have become much more treasured and engaging.
As I noted above, I don't really enjoy shopping for hi-fi equipment. I find it stressful and wearing. I don't want to take a handful of albums around to all the hi-fi stores and listen to various phono stages, over unfamiliar speakers, cartridges, preamps and so forth. I want the journey to be over, so I can get back to listening to music. And relaxing, and exploring new musical horizons. I feel blessed that that is where I've ended up.
One other comment; almost anyone shopping for a new component is going to have to gather information from the written word on the internet. I say this because there are simply too many excellent options out there these days. It is logistically difficult and time consuming to go around and hear everything in person. We need information to be able to narrow it down to a manageable number of options, a short-list.
I love the fact that the Supratek has point to point wiring and a lifetime guarantee. And that the standard tube-set can be expected to last 10,000 to 20,000 hours.
Hope this helps.
I ordered the new Supratek Pinot Phono Stage in black on black. I sold my Sutherland 20/20 to make room for it. This will be my second Supratek, the first was the Syrah pre amp. I loved the Syrah but had to sell my gear and downsize around ten years ago. But I still have some of my tube collection and they will work in the Pinot, such as the Sylvania metal base 6SN7A, Western Electric 350B, and Bendix 6106. Its going to be a month long wait though as Mick went on vacation right after I ordered.
Greetings to all who wanna keep score on These two (Don Sachs version of the SP 14 Pre and my Supratek Chardonnay GEN 3 )
...thats right two of the BEST under $3k preamps out there (That can shame 10k to 15k Pre’s) Well if you look at my few earlier post ...i decided after much thought to go with Mick’s drop dead gorgeous...fully loaded GEN 3 Cradonnay PRE( remote....balanced in and outs ) with the brand new Shuguang WE6SN7 Vacuum Tubes that Replicate the Sweet sounding Western Electric 6SN7!....I got almost 500hrs on this Pre with these GREAT sounding 6SN7 tubes....and i will get a little more specific with this KRAZY sounding and and Killer looking Pre in the next few months (my Baby Girl is getting married)..But from my perspective at this point....you wouldn"t have a chance to change my mind and Pry it from my Hands ( After owning sum Pres that ran well over 5K ) ..First is its tonality is spot on.( my opinion).TRUTH...It has a wider and deeper soundstage (Compared to my BAT-33SE which is a great pre in its own right) and nice Height to Boot....soo stay tuned as i continue to burn in and use this GREAT PRE with my Maxed out Audio Mirror Tubadour 3 DAC,( Which is another Giant slayer) ,,with Martin Logan’s (GREAT) Montis Speakers....with Dual Vandersteen Latest subs while Driven by The Great American Rogue Tubed M 180 (latest DARK Revision) Monoblocks.....should be and will be F-ing FUN!!
Markus....i had the stock military russian 6sn7 and sum other nos 6sn7...After to talking to Don Sachs he was telling me about the New Shuguang WE6SN7 that in his opinion wipes all other nos 6sn7’s out there....they can be expensive but a got a great deal on a brand new matched pair for $120 shipped from the Shu Guang factory in china and it took 10 days to get here.!!..They are a Replica WE6SN7...WE stand for Western Electric...not made anymore and a lot of tube Heads feel they were the Holy Grail of the glowing gizmo we call the 6SN7...Go on PSvane website and you will see this newer tube...Im in love with it and it is a KEEPER!!....to JTCF congrats on your tubadour DAC3...it made me sell my Schitt yggy anolog 2 dac and not look back...Great dac....BUT to much in my face and couldn’t stand to listen to it for more than a hour b 4 i hit the KILL switch...not a good match for my system...The AM 3 dac is so close to my 5k anolog rig that i quit listening to it and im all digital!!...Now JTCF you may want to send you dac back to Vlad and get the mini maxed out version like i did...Once again Don Sachs raves about a New Polish Miflex KPCU cap which is a clone of the 3x expensive Duelund cast cap...(Go On his website and read about the polish cap that he is now using) with the z foil resistors and have Vlad by pass your fuse....this will set back $400 vs the $660 if you went with Duelund cap...and you will BE AMAZED at the difference it makes over the Great Stock Version...TRUTH!...If i can drop or shed any more info....Please by all means...Hit me up....Love...Peace and Audio Grease!..HA!
@markusthenaimnut the only other dac I've tried was a Parasound.It actually didn't sound too bad,but it became congested with complicated music.My Vincent CDP died(which I loved!) so I am going with separates again after a ten year hiatus.The Tubadour(upgraded caps)is a keeper for sure,really euphonic out of the box and becoming more open and organic as it breaks in.Don't want to hijack the thread,sorry audio123!
The 6SN7 tubes I really like are Sofia Electric,lush but detailed.I've heard good things about the Shuguangs but haven't tried them yet.
Greeting to all the Supratek owners...Just a little info...but these new to the market Shuguang WE6SN7 are SPECIAL!...got about 200hrs on them and they are a end game for me...will be giving a little more info when i get another 200hrs on them...but so far....LUV THEM!... Micks latest Chardonnay GEN 3 pre is a beauty to the Ears and Eyes...and without a doubt one if not the BEST audio decisions i ever made....if your on the fence about buying on of Micks masterpieces...well jump off it and BUY ONE....you'll be glad you waited and got the latest Model (GEN 3)...TRUTH!
Marcus, sorry I did not see your question until just now. I haven't received the Pinot yet, Mick is still tinkering on it. But, with the Syrah pre amp I did quite a bit of tube rolling. As far as the rectifier goes I tried the Mullard GZ34 and GZ37, Bendix 6106, RCA 5V4GA, Cossor 53KU. I could not tell a significant difference in swapping regulators. That is until I rolled in a pair or W.E. 350B's as regulators, then the Bendix 6106 was daddy'o! I put all the others away and stayed with the Bendix. On the 6SN7 I tried too many to list. All of the WWII Sylvania's are just great in the Supratek, as well as the 1949-1951's. You cant go wrong with any of them. But, the 6SN7A, 6SN7W, 6SN7 GT metal base version are easily superior to all other Sylvania's. The Ken-Rad black glass are excellent as well, but not as excellent as the Sylvanias. The very best 6SN7 that I used was easily the Tung-Sol black glass with the round or the oval micas. Just completely gorgeous organic sound when paired with the 350B as regulators, and the Bendix rectifier. I was also using Western Electric 417A in the phono section.
Tube rolling is an obsessive, compulsive madness that can drive you to �the brink of insanity...or am I (you) already there? well the new Shuguang WE6SN7 are SPECIAL...i stand by what my ears hear...you can roll all you want but they are a end game for me...and that is what its all about....your system and your ears!