A Shindo Aurieges could very well prevent you from thinking about a better preamp for a very long time.
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What are you looking for in terms of a sound from your system? What would you like to improve on in the Jolida?
If you want something that conveys musical ebb and flow and color superbly, with a very low noise floor, I would second anything from Shindo as well, but you would need to budget in an SUT if you want to use an MC cartridge.
I'd look no further than ARC, VAC or Rogue were it me. Rogue will likely be the best value.
For a SS alternative, probably can't go wrong with a matching Classe pre-amp. Classe is one of teh few SS lines I would feel good about going in as an alternative to a good tube pre-amp. Bel Canto is another.
thinking the same thing myself...I liked the joule 150-300 line, but they have since stopped production. I also liked the hovland line, but have gone out of business...so whats left...I am a huge fan of Conrad Johnson and since you have some of their equip already start there...I was told the premier stuff is pretty good (15-17) but also keep in mind the modwright AND vacuum tube logic, (VTL) GEAR I currently have a pv10 and pv12
Thanks for the responses. I have some research to do.
As far as the PVC, I first inserted this into the system when I was powering it with a McCormack amp. The signal was making a popping sound, which called for attenuation. I now have the monoblocks, but like the PVC in the loop to adjust the signal where I can put the preamp volume control in the 10 -11 o'clock range when listening to either the turntable or CDP.
I had a Classe ss preamp some years back and that's what pretty much got me into the higher end. SS isn't out of the equation if the situation is right. I'm just figuring that the Jolida retailed around $1750, and I should get quite a bit more out of the system if I spend more. The only reason I can do this now is because my life partner, companion, best friend, and much better half, passed away the end of January. Just trying to find a little pleasure now. I'd gladly give it all away to have her back. Miss her so.
Looking into the responses this evening. Thanks again.
Abucktwoeighty- The Modwright is a very good unit. More toward the neutral side of the tubey vs. solid state spectrum. I still don't think that there is really any advantage to running a pre-amp into a PVC as a long term solution. Better to match the gain of your phono stage properly to the line stage than to have two attenuators in the signal chain.
But that's small change if the music is getting you through a such a tough time. I am very sorry for your loss and hope that you eventually can come to peace with the fact that your loss is great because of how much your spouse brought into your life. Peace, brother (or sister).
Thank you for the kind words. The loss is the hardest thing I have ever had to endure. Some days are terribly bad, others I smile, I just never know what each day will bring. Most times I cry at the thought, today I'm doing ok.
Since the system has changed again, I'll see about pulling the PVC out of the loop. I may not need it as much as I thought. Will post results.
Been busy lately. Thank you all for your kind thoughts. Sbank, Kaye didn't really have any favorites, just listened to whatever I decided to play.
I'll be sure to follow up on the equipment as it arrives. The Avid Pulsus is due in today, the Modwright on the weekend. Won't put the Avid in the system until the LS100 gets here. Anxious.
Ok, I couldn't wait. Had to move some things around, but have the Pulsus in the aux. of the Music Envoy. The bottom end is definitely more there. I actually had to remove the MC and put the MM back on the 'table. I also had to turn the sub way down, or off. I'm hoping this is just a breaking in period with all of the bass. The MM isn't completely broken in yet either, but not bad. Haven't removed the PVC yet. Waiting until the Modwright arrives. Such fun.
Not happy. Got the Modwright, inserted the tubes and had 40db (measurements from 2 feet away)noise in the left channel. Had to wait to swap tubes until today. With the other tubes the noise dropped to 22db in both channels, so I'm figuring a bad tube in the other set. But 22db of hiss is definitely loud, and audible when I try to listen to music. About ready to ditch the tubes and go solid state. The Jolida preamp I was using before I purchased the Modwright didn't mate with the amps I was using, now this. It's frustrating not being able to plug and play after spending around 16 grand upgrading the entire system.
Spent today trying different things to lower the noise. Nothing helps. Sent an email to Dan at Modwright to see if he could help. If no suggestions help, I'll sent the unit to him to have it gone over to be sure it's operating correctly. If it is working as it should, I will go back to solid state and be done with the noise. I've had nothing but bad luck with tube preamps. Hoping for the best from Dan. The Modwright sounds real nice, other than the hiss, which is very audible.
Got to thinking about the hiss. Also thought about my previous preamp, the Jolida Music Envoy. To use it I had to attenuate the signal going to the amps so I inserted a passive volume control between them. Then I wondered what would happen if I did that set up with the Modwright. Would my hiss be reduced? Sure enough! I have to place my ear very near the drivers to hear any noise whatsoever. I can have the pvc turned up about half way with the Modwright around the 10 o'clock position and the music is very loud, but the hiss is gone. It sounds wonderful and I'm happy again. I think I've learned to leave well enough alone and keep things as they are. Time to enjoy the music.
Something seems very wrong here.
1) Good tube preamps (including the Modwright) don't normally making loud hiss
2) In many years in this hobby you're the first I've heard of inserting a PVC preamp between an active preamp and amp to try to eliminate noise. An extra box and extra cables should be helping.
Perhaps there's an impedance mismatch? what are the specs on the amp and pre in that regard. Maybe someone more technical than me can comment based on that additional info.
Don't give up, figure it out :-) Cheers,
Talked with Dan at Modwright and he said some of the earlier models had a bit of tube rush.
The LS-100 has an output impedance of 300 ohms. The Classe monoblocks have an input impedance of 75K ohms. As far as using the pvc I'm happy with it. Just an added resistance between the components that doesn't add any unique traits of it's own.
When I had the Jolida Music Envoy in the system I had to attenuate the signal with the pvc because the signal was popping, causing the speaker drivers to extend to full excursion. Luckily nothing was damaged. Originally I didn't insert the pvc in this set-up, but when looking the system over, I glanced at the pvc sitting there and wondered...wouldn't hurt to try it back in the same configuration to see what would happen. Surprised me when it reduced the noise floor considerably.
FWIW it sounds like the amp has too much gain.
You should not have to insert a passive control to set things right- and don't think for a minute that passive controls don't have an effect! If you can eliminate it you will get more immediacy and more impact.
We use tube preamps on speakers that have a good 12 db more efficiency than yours with no problems. So its my opinion that you have a matching problem or a noise problem at the input of the amp.
Did the Jolida have noise without the passive??
The SLP-98P is very nice. Only downside is that it uses 6SN7 tubes so tube-rolling will be expensive and difficult. I have 13,000 vintage 12AU7's and maybe 500 6SN7. They are about gone in the world of NOS. But the stock Chinese 6SN7 sound great.
If you can find a PrimaLuna DiaLogue Three that would rock. They rarely come up used. But from the standpoint of build and sound it will compete with the most expensive out there regardless of cost and it has only 10dB of gain using 12AU7's.
The Manley Chinook is the best phono stage I know of for under $3500. It sells new for $2250 (going up to $2400) and there was a dude selling a used one for $1799 I think if you look. If you shop hard for those two it may barely meet your budget.
Here's what I did. I re-connected the Jolida with the pvc removed and there is a little hiss, not real bad, but audible. Then I put the Modwright back in with the pvc removed as well. There is a hiss that is quite audible from my sitting position, around 10 to 11 feet away.
I contacted Dan Wright and he stated that the earlier models had more tube rush than the later models. I'm unsure as to which this one is, earlier or later.
The Classe monoblocks have a sensitivity of 1 volt in for the rated output. 29.02 dB gain and an input impedance of 75 Kohms.
The Jolida has an output impedance of 600 ohms, the Modwright 300 ohms.
I'm guessing the difference I'm hearing is just the type of the tubes being used in different configurations. The Jolida uses two 12AT7 tubes for power and two 12AX7's for the pre-amp. The Modwright uses a 5AR4/GZ34 rectifier tube and two 6SN7 signal tubes.
OK- my surmise was correct- you have a lot of gain with that amp. If you want the Modwight to work you will have to hand-pick the 6SN7s for low noise. This should not be that challenging- we use 6SN7s in all of our line stages and can get them to be nice and quiet on speakers that are much more efficient than yours!
I would also listen to the character of each preamp and see which you prefer. Generally speaking I find that I like 6SN7-based circuits better as they are usually smoother without lacking detail. But that is not always the case so you will want to play them and see which you like other than the noise.
If the Modwright comes out on top then you might want to consider some boutique tubes for it- hand picked by Andy at Vintage Tube Services or maybe Sophia or TJ Music tubes; Kevin at Upscale is a good source too. However you do it the tubes should be returnable if there is a problem.
Have fun! but don't drive yourself nuts- different tubes sound different and some people go right down the rabbit hole with this and trust me on this one, its not worth it! You want to solve the problem you have and spend the money left over that you didn't spend on 50 other types of tubes just getting more tunes to play :)
Thanks for all of your information, Atmasphere. I like the Modwright fine and will do some experimenting with different tubes. When I purchased, it came with 2 sets of tubes. The first set were Sophia's, and one was terribly noisy. Still have to test them to see if one's bad.
I'll pick up some others to compare. Something to look forward to!
Don't give up on those Sophias Abucktwoeighty. Their premium 6sn7s are rather pricey BUT they are hands down the most satisfying of all the 6sn7s I've used in my Supratek pre-amp and I've tried virtually all of them. Very linear with excellent extension. This is not to say I haven't had a couple of them go noisy on me before their time. Just make sure to purchase the 1 year warranty. I also have the same result in my Oppo Modwright with the Sophias.
Many vintage 6SN7's from companies like Ken Rad, Brimar, and those silly metal base Sylvanias are microphonic. It's going to be very tough to get low microphony quality ones as we move down the road. The regular Shuguang 6SN7 sounds fine to me. The Russian ones are more durable. I cast a suspicious eye on some current production tubes that are being priced so high. I'm not sure how to reconcile the increase in price.
My inventory of vintage 12AU7's from Mullard, Brimar, Siemens, etc is about 13,000 pieces. My 6SN7 inventory that is TRUE low noise low microphony is about 500 pieces.
The reason is that most stocks of vintage NOS tubes comes from ex-military goods and 12AU7's were used extensively.
I've been doing a bit of searching and have come up with the Northern Electric 6sn7's and the GE 6sn7GTB's for their claimed low noise and extended highs.
I tested my Sophia's on the ancient tester my brother gave me years ago and found one of them questionable.
I like detail and extended highs, with good bass as well. Read about the TJ Full Music 6sn7's that were described this way. So far I'm leaning towards the NE's and GE's.
QUIET!! Put in a pair of GE wide grey plate 6SN7GTB tubes and they are so quiet. I'm very pleased. Was actually thinking there may be a problem with the preamp since both sets the seller sent me with the preamp were noisy. Thought I'd have to send it in for a check-up, and was prepared to spend some serious cash on a solid state preamp. Was leaning towards a Pass Labs XP-20 and almost ought one the other day. Glad I waited to see how these GE's sounded. Will wait for these to break-in before I try more. :)