Supratek preamps--more laid back or forward ?

I'm trying hard to get some sort of idea (before I make the plunge) as to the characteristic presentation of the Cortese and/or Chenin preamps, especially on the phono side, for playing lps---that is, do they typically tend toward being more laid back, forward or middle of the road. I realize the possible influences other components in the chain may have, however, many components do manifest fairly specific personalities. For example, most concede the Conrad-Johnsons tend toward being RELATIVELY laid back, etc. I personally prefer things to be more middle of the road or slightly forward, yet all the while still retaining a layered effect. All opinions/comments greatly appreciated.
I have owned two Cortese and now the Grange pre from Mick at Supratek. what initially made it "plunge" for a Supratek was all the comments regarding its ability to make the music sound live. when I first got my first Cortese I didn't have a vinyl set up so I was measuring my response with CD as the source.
I was blown away with its realism. then I got an inexpensive vinyl set up and was absolutely taken back by what I now heard. All I could ask myself was why I had spent so much money over these many years trying to get CD's to sound right.
I believe (keep in mind that I have no reference for what other components will be used in your vinyl set up) taht you will find the music VERY LIVE which in your terms would most likely mean forwrd, but on ly slightly. I find that due to the pre's extraordinary transient response (fast) and its ability to retreave low level detail (thus get out of its own way) you will experience a live presentation which one might call forward on first listening. But believe me it is not that forward, exagerated sound of so many pres that simulates live but only after a short amount of listening you are fatigued to hell! Buy one! You can't go wrong.
I agree with Mike, I own a Syrah. I have been in this hobby for close to 30 years now and the Supratek preamp is the best I have ever heard. The sound is very musical without calling attention to itself. Dynamic contrast is incredible. Soundstage, both width and depth is huge. I have some very good components in my system, but the Supratek Syrah is the heart on my system. I would not be without it. Take the plunge, you will not be sorry. Be prepared for a long wait though. I have never heard from anyone that did not feel the wait was worth it though.
Hi there,
I have a Syrah & find that the pre itself tends toward middle of the road in the best possible sense.
Dynamics & bass are better than any ss pre I've owned which makes it a bit more forward than most valve pres I've had, and all the better for it.
The imaging is pretty much vocals in/or just slightly forward of the speaker plane with very good depth & reasonable if not spectacular width.
Images are though very stable and well defined width wise.
Also gives a far better impression of height than anything else I've owned.
Dependant on the recording it can vary - surely a good sign, good live recordings are pretty upfront & exciting with excellent recreation of the hall/venue - little bits of audience chat/noise are really well resolved.
It can be made to step back or forward with different power cords.
I would reckon the phono stage presentation is a few rows back from the line stage which is brilliant(first time I've happily settled for the convenience of cd's giving very little away to vinyl).
The phono is not quite up with my Quicksilver but the fact that it cost nearly half the price of the Syrah ? & the loading option on the Supratek closes the gap considerably along with less boxes/cables makes it bearable for a small difference. Saying that it's not imo the quietest phono stage in the world unless you are very lucky with the tubes.
Shame as the line inputs are unusual in their lack of noise.
Mike and Slowhand---I thank both of you very much. Your assessments are most encouraging, and exactly the kind I was looking for. I've put my order in for the Cortese. Continued good listening for the both of you. Once I've received the preamp and have given it time to break in I'll post my impressions, and hope they will be as positive as yours.
I own the Sauvignon preamp. What I hear is a more forward sound, but this is directly related to the type of tubes that I have in it at that time. I find that the older vintage tubes with the lusher, warmer midrange tend to sound more forward and the current production tubes tend to make it sound more middle of the road so to speak. Even with current production tubes in it such as the Sovteks, it still sounds more forward that most solid state preamps. I think that the forwardness of the sound is what makes the Supratek preamps have such a 'live' sound.
Hi Opus,I don't think you could have made a better Hi Fi decision.
I have a Cabernet but live near Supratek and have heard all of the preamps.They are all good in their own way.The cortese is arguably the best value of them all [arguably the best value preamp anywhere].
Are you getting sheoak or jarrah?.The photos don't really show up the sheoak so well but it is a beautifully grained timber and is getting very scarce because it comes from small understory trees and all the old growth forest areas are now protected from logging.Jarrah is more common but still a very slow growing and beautiful timber.