I heard the Thor amp on Alon speakers a year or two ago and it was really, really nice! Very memorable. The Thor amps were also in use. It could be that the circular design makes them less valuable on the used market?
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I've owned them both, and I preferred the Thor: easily as fast as the Syrah, but tonally richer, with more heft and authority. With its round chassis Thor is hardly a plain Jane, as poster above suggests, but I agree Syrah is the ultimate looks champ. As to resale, look at the buzz: the drumbeaters have outdone themselves with threads such as "preamp of the century" here on Agon--so of course your Syrah is a much easier sale when the time comes. And the Syrah has a very good phono stage (although I used mine with outboard phono stages) while the TA 1000 is line only. At this level I've found there is a bit of "sideways" to most of the changes I make, as system synergy and personal preferences come into play. The Syrah offers a nuanced delicacy and speed that's surprising at the price--if the rest of your system fills out the sonic picture. The Thor offers weight and richness (with speed) that was a better fit for me.
Being a Thor owner ( T1000 and TPA30 ) my guess is since there recently have been some new changes to the Thor peices
the mk1 peices or mk1 pieces upgrade to mk11 status are usually priced very reasonable.I have an older mk1 and still love the peice but must admit some of the prices on less than 2 year old stuff is hard to pass up. As far as the quality/sound value. Great! As far as the look? You'll have to decide for yourself. I find the new stuff drop dead gorgeuos myself...
Thanks for all the responses. I think the Thor is pretty cool looking and not plane jane. I know it's a line stage, I was thinking about getting it and then later picking up a great standalone phono stage. So I'll spend the Thanksgiving holiday pondering this potential change. Happy holidays to all!
I have never heard the Supratech, but, I did compare the Thor TA 1000 mk ii, to the Exemplar Exception, and felt the exception bettered it in transparancy, bass, sounstage, and listenability. The Exception is gorgeous, and is only a line stage. You should really check it out, cause at the price point it cannot be beat. I use a pair of E1800CC Amperex PW rated at 10,000 hours, so tubes are not an issue. I am also waiting for my new Exception to be completed with siltech wiring, and REMOTE control, which is wonderful for when the wife is yelling, TURN IT DOWN.
The Syrah is terrific, but Mick is cranking out even better pieces at this point.
The new Chenin is a dramatic bump up from the Syrah and the Cortese is another universe.
Don't overlook going from the Syrah to either the new Chenin or Cortese (depending on your budget).
The circuitry on both the Chenin and Cortese are dramatically improved, as are the sonics.
Are you using stock tubes in your Syrah or are you using NOS ?
I've changed out all the tubes in my Syrah, I'm using NOS Sylvania 6sn7's, RCA black metal 6l6's, Mullard 6gk5's, Raytheon 5842's and a Phillips Miniwatt GZ34. The sound is much improved over stock though I've been advised to replace the 6l6's.I've heard that some people prefer the Syrah over the Chenin because it uses 6sn7's versus 6922's. I don't know since I haven't made the comparison, but I can say that the Cortese is out of my price range. Do you really think the Chenin is that much better? How different is that circuit? Thanks.
I've owned quite a number of preamps, including the
original Syrah, then an upgraded Syrah, also both Thor
TA-1000 Mk1 and TA-1000 Mk2. My experience puts the Thor
at the very top rung sonically. The Mk2 upgrades to the
TA-1000 were not subtle, so any comparisons should be done
with this new version. Increased transparency, air,
dynamics, bass clarity and depth came with this upgrade.
All TA-1000s are NOT the same - not even close!
That being said, I would like to take this opportunity to clarify some of the questions that have been raised here lately.....
During Thor Audios history (starting in 1996), there have been over three separate iterations of our preamps. The first was the gray and brass series an Oakton Gray powdercoated chassis with a solid brass front panel. These were produced from 1996 to 1998.
Then, in 1999, the black chassis (the one most people are aware of - with a choice of either chrome silver or 24kt gold accents) was introduced. This chassis change also coincided with a significant audio upgrade.
These continued in production until the beginning of 2003 when BOTH the chassis and all circuitry went through an extremely large engineering change (and we went from our Five Year to our Lifetime Warranty). Since these changes encompassed 100% of the preamp, it made sense not to refer to these as just an upgrade. It required a new name hence the MKII model designation was born.
In our continuing effort to support any/all Thor owners, we then sent a flyer to all registered owners offering to upgrade the electronics (just the electronics) in their older chassis versions (now being referred to as the MK1s) with circuitry closer to the new MKII versions. This effort was to help our customers on a budget glean the best possible sound from their preamp. What we offered was a relatively inexpensive, achievable upgrade path and did not put our customers in a position of HAVING to purchase a brand new preamp just to remain current a practice we had seen too often in the industry. The Electronics Only upgrade gave them about 80% of the sound of the full MKII version with many customers writing in later to say how happy they were with the sound and especially our continuing support and customer service.
However, as we all know, anytime there is a large change to an existing product, there will be many customers who want the very latest/best, and this was certainly the case with us. There was an immediate increase of Audiogon sales offering the old versions in order to purchase the new MKII versions. Unfortunately, some months later when some customers started selling these upgraded MK1 versions, they started referring to them as MKII. This wording caused massive and IMMEDIATE confusion! Buyers thought that they were hearing/purchasing FULL MKII versions, not knowing that it was just an upgraded MK1. Buyers had no way of knowing that these preamps did not reflect EITHER our best sound or our MKII chassis design quality!
FYI - As of 11/04, there have been NO full MKIIs ever sold on the internet. This is proved very easily - If the serial number on the preamp is less than serial # 1000, it is NOT the full MKII version! Make SURE you ask for the serial number before you purchase any of our components over the internet!
Further confusion can be also be cleared up right now regarding whether or not the "electronics-only" MK1 upgrade was ever really done to the preamp - Look at the back of the preamp on the top left of the RCA jacks. If there is a 1 round gold sticker saying Mark 2, then it was done. No sticker = No upgrade.
Regarding recent resale prices...
To our dismay, we noticed that five of the last six preamps for sale on Audiogon actually started life as discounted B-Stocks! Obviously this goes directly to the original selling price, and ESPECIALLY to the subsequent resale price! (Not one of the sellers mentioned anything about this for obvious reasons.) Add to this that fact that one seller was the THIRD owner and two sellers were the FIFTH owners of their particular preamps, it is now easy to see why you wound up with the ridiculously low prices posted recently!
Please contact us directly BEFORE you purchase any of our used components on the internet. While we can only estimate (but very closely) how many previous owners the preamp may have had in the past, we WILL be able to answer the most important questions of how it started life (a B-Stock?), or whether it was originally a Show or Dealer Demo, etc.! As you can see, all this is crucial to your purchase and goes directly to you get what you pay for! More importantly, if you contact us first, we can also point you towards an authorized Thor retailer who may have a MK1 and/or store demo/trade-in available. (Very Important - If you purchase your used Thor component directly from an authorized Thor dealer, you will automatically receive a free Five Year Warranty with it. You can then also order any of our After Market Options like a Remote Control or a Home Theater Bypass Switch, etc.)
For complete information on warranty policies and upgrades, please refer to the Warranty Page and After Market Options pages on our web site.
Lastly, it is indeed frustrating for us when people see a TA-1000 for sale with a very low selling price, and think that figure reflects Thor's true resale value. As stated, the preamp does not reflect our best sound or chassis, and could be up to nine years old. Please note that this is long past the warranty and the life expectancy of many other preamps with their one, two, or three year warrantees. Many of these other components could have stopped working and obviously would not even be available for purchase anywhere. As strange as it seams, it looks like we are actually being hurt on some level for our longevity!
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I sincerely hope that it has helped in guiding any future internet sales or purchases. Please feel free to contact Thor Audio directly at the telephone numbers or email addresses listed on our site with any questions. We make ourselves available at all time and will respond quickly and thoroughly.