TAD 150

I've been thinking of making the switch to a tube pre-amp. I have Marantz CD/SACD player, a McCormack DNA 0.5 and Vandersteen 2ce speakers.

Any thoughts on the TAD 150 would be appreciated.
Hi Ecruz,
Did they delete your previous thread on this? I couldn't find it a couple of days ago.
Anyway, looks like you are not giving up on this one. Given that the TAD 150 is a "hot rodded" chinese tube pre, it might be able to better your MF3cr, but you will have to be very lucky to find it used... is your spending limit higher this time around?
Someone deleted the thread, I don't know who. I was actually looking for you, your advice seemed reasonable and you were familiar with the gear I was looking at.

I've found an elusive TAD-150 for sale used. As soon as the guy gets his new equipment he'll sell me the TAD. And at a good price too. I figure, even if it doesn't work out I should be able to sell it fairly easily.

I did find one person using a TAD-150 with almost the same setup as mine and he raved about it. Just looking for another opinion.
One more thing. As someone, maybe you, posted in the other thread, in this price range, with tubes, I may sacrafice some extension in the lows and some resolution/detail in the highs. Do you think that's the case with the TAD. The guy who owns one thinks not and the guy selling me his thinks not. One of the things I love about the McCormack/Vandersteen combo, is the tight, deep bass. I would hate to lose that.

FYI-the TAD-150 that I'm getting is the upgraded model, not the standard.
Yes Ecruz, it was I who posted that tubes would lose bass definition. But it is also somewhat of a generalization, where this is not so much the case for more expensive good tube preamps. TAD has the advantage of being a "modded" design with higher parts quality that most standard production $1500 preamps, and I think it may indeed be an improvement over your MF3cr in all areas. If I were in your shoes, I would go for it. I am looking at the TAD myself as an upgrade from SS pre, and I would really want to know if you do jump on it-and what your impressions would be.
Have fun,
I plan on buying it. It may be a week or two until I get it, but I'll post back with impressions.


Eagleman here. No bass loss with my TAD/ McCormack combo but, I had the DNA-1. I am getting the TAD-60 to replace the McCormack. I am told that the TAD-60 bass rivals the McCormack by the person who originally reviewed the TAD-60. Don't know if it was the right decision but, I had the itch to try a tube amp and the deal that I am getting was hard to ignore. Stay tuned for my review in a few weeks after break in...
FWIW, I was running a TAD-150 Signature with a McCormack DNA-125. I replaced the McCormack with the TAD-60 and I am very pleased. No bass loss and better midrange and detail.
Keep us posted.

I won't be giving up my McCormack any time soon. If I need to upgrade, it will go back to Steve McCormack for one of his improvements.

I'm very interested to see how the tubes sound. The only other time I tried tubes was many years ago, with lesser equipment. That's where my impression of loose bass and constrained highs comes from.
I am excited by your remarks. I am going from a DNA-1 unmodded to the TAD-60. It shipped yesterday so I will give the rundown next week...

Did you have any trouble biasing?

Well, I received the TAD-60, biased the tubes in 15 minutes. Hooked up to the TAD-150 and I will definitely say that I am not sorry I sold the McCormack. It took about thirty minutes to really sing. Bass actually stronger and tighter, midrange incredible, detail and soundstage wider and deeper. Very well balanced. I will post an actual review after a few weeks but, first impression consistent with Mezzro...
My TAD 150 will be here tomorrow. I'll post impressions when I get it up and running.

Left work early to come home and hook it up. Let it run for about an hour before sitting down to listen.

WOW! It's VERY nice right out of the box. Smooth, tight, extended, detailed, you name it! I didn't know tubes sounded this good. I can't wait to hear what it sounds like in a week.

If anyone is thinking about one of these, take the plunge.

I'll post back in a few days with more details.
Well...I listened to the TAD all weekend and it just keeps getting better. It's very detailed, yet not at all bright. The bass keeps getting deeper and tighter. Overall, very detailed, yet smooth, solid and full.

So far I'm very pleased with the purchase!
Eagleman, sorry I didn't respond to your post earlier, but I am glad you found the biasing easy, as I did. I am also happy to hear you are pleaseed with your initial impressions. Keep us posted on your thoughts. Thanks!
For anyone who bought the original 150 and had it modded to signature level. What differences if any have you noticed. This would be my next venture...
An update. All of the sudden this thing REALLY opened up. Much more low level detail. But not just detail. The dynamics, micro & macro, are much more immediate & realistic. Same goes for the decay.

This meager little assesment doesn't do justice to the 150. I really can't put in to words how good it sounds. I will say my system has never sounded more realistic.
I recently recieved the tad150 and have been using it for the last few days or so. It still has very few hours on it, so I am sure will continue to improve further. Last night I was finally able to sit down for some serious listening and am quite impressed with the sound quality. I'm curious what other amps/speaker combos you folks are using with your 150. I've been running various sources and various amps/speakers through the 150 and find they are all improved with the 150 pre in place.

The best combination of my modest little system so far has been the tad 150 mated with a Cayin ta-30 as power amp combined with a Dynaudio monitor speaker along with a custom subwoofer adjusted for an upper roll off around 60-70 hz; using a Sony x7esd digital source and Denon 62L vinyl source through the tad150 phono stage.

Last night some vinyl, sacd and redbook were used and I came away with an overall impression the tad150 enhanced dimension, ease of presentation, highs, lows, and everything in between.

An sacd of Patricia Barber 'Companion' was as 'in the room' as I've heard her here. A vinyl M&K 'Salute to Duke' showed off some very impressive piano, horn and bass work. A Proprius 'Jazz at the Pawnshop' set us up in the coffeehouse with the players. Amazing details from the crowd appeared out of nowhere and occasionally quite startled me from their dynamic realism. Finishing off the pleasurable evening was Diana Krall 'Girl in the other Room'. Her voice was extremely well done with this system and details of the recording were complete in balance and character. The reverie was only broken by MY 'Girl in the Other room' --lovely wife-- plea (did I say plea? demand is more like it, of course she did not screech loudly or stomp around much either...) from the top of the stairs to Turn That Thing Down! as I'm afraid by this time it was late and the volume had been creeping up for the better part of the evening.

The only trouble I have encountered so far is these units powering some highly efficient Altec 604 speakers create a situation of full gain at only 8:30 on the 150 volume pot. This essentially means it's an all or nothing affair within about 1/8 inch of dial movement. This rules out using the remote control as even one click sends the loudness through the roof. This is most likely due to the fact the ta-30 in power amp capacity must be run at full volume pot to work correctly otherwise it sounds rather rolled off and lifeless.

Other than this eccentricity in system matching, I am really very impressed with the tad150 preamp thus far and look forward to further listening sessions. To this point the tad 150 appears to be a well made, precision product that could take a sound system to the next level of performance, as it did here.
Check out the TAD-60 and sell the Cayin. I just put the TAD-60 in my system. It is still breaking in but, the impression that I get so far is wider and deeper soundstage, deep, tight bass, improved low level dynamics.
Previous Amp was the McCormack DNA-1, pre is the TAD-150, CD is Eastern Electric, speakers are the Vandersteen 2CE signatures. Biasing is simple. Paul still has a special so give him a look...