Too excited not to share - TRL Dude tubed preamp

Category: Preamps

I am a 20-year audiofool and thought I had really heard most of what was possible in a home stereo system. I have owned several highly regarded tube and SS preamps costing up to $12,000 new, but this new DUDE preamp from TRL is an absolute sonic breakthrough.

As I listen to music tonight I must say that I am completely overcome with the DUDE. This preamp is the absolute top of the audio chain in terms of sound. If you were to ask me in what ways it is better or what about it makes it the best I have heard, I would be at a loss for words. Why? Because it is not one or two things, rather it is everything. It opens music in my dedicated audio cave in ways I did not think were even possible or attainable.

I know this intro sounds hyped, but it is my honest and actual experience with the new TRL amps - both power and now preamp. I am going to write a full review as I listen to more and more of my collection and the DUDE burns in fully. These are exciting days for me in audio.

Other owners please chime in as the Audiogon cummunity must know more about this breakthrough amp. The DUDE simply transends descriptions like body, texture, organic, extended, natural and commands more - much more. I guess it must be experienced.

I know one easy way for me to explain my experience. When you listen to live amplified music in a great accoustic setting the music is huge, dramatic, full of impact/ energy and is in utter control no matter how loud. The sound is bold and totally uncompressed. Full bodied with detail and texture. You feel the music and it is a live experience. This is the sound of my home stereo now because of the DUDE preamp and 225 power amp.

When I go back to other "well regarded" amps it sounds like a stereo - a puny stereo. Emphasis on puny folks. That is the bottom line description.


Happy in MN

what is the msrp?
Having just recently purchased TRL's M-225 mono blocks the TRL sound is quite additive. You are quite right TRL sounds like music not "hi fi". It looks like my CJ preamp will be going up for sale very soon. BTW your D-225's will continue to improve for months and I am sure the Dude will too. Enjoy!
The Dude preamp is $3500 right now, however I think a price increase will be coming soon. A steal at this price!
How did you even find out about it? I just went on their website, and it's the same as it has been for a long time. They still don't have any info on the 225 amps let alone the Dude.

Small company of Paul and his brother. Each one hand made and no time to mess with things like a website. I suggest you call Paul and talk to owners like myself.

He does no advertising and sells by word of mouth really. Paul is working hard on the Dude and 225 right now.

I heard about Paul from another owner - word of mouth. I am lucky I did. Read through the comments here on Agon and see several others are also saying exactly what I have shared here and on other posts. I love music and this hobby. It is a passion of mine. I feel compelled to let others know about this ground breaking gear at reasonable prices.
Hi Bill,

I talked to Paul a couple weeks ago about the 225 amps, this preamp seems to the real deal ?

I'd like to get some picture(s) of the Dude preamp if possible ?

I emailed you off-line for further details.

BTW, nice review, seems very convincing !
Just wait until you hear the new M225.

Let's just say that my old Mono blocks are going back to TRL, ...

You are in for a huge surprise. :)
I love these small companies that come up with killer stuff without multi million $$ R&D budgets!!! The only explanation is a thorough understanding and commitment to what they're doing. Makes me feel good.
BTW: Grannyring, where in MN do you live?
Hi Bill

I am getting more and more interested in this preamp. I have gotten some information from Bill and would like your honest experience:
1. How is the midrange? I really like midrange that is palpable and dense. I am really very worried if the midrange is lean sounding.
2. What about the bass? Is it textured
From your experience, what would be feeling of this with respect to Audio Horizons TP2.1


I live in Austin,MN. Souyhern, MN.


The midrange has texture and body paired with absolute lack of compression. No, no worries about lean sounding here. I keep coming back to the same thought - sounds like live music in your home. Unheard of depth and width of stage. Holographic music fills the room. Instruments and voices have life like focus, scale and weight. The articulation of each instrument is the best I have heard. Lots of space and air and yes a meaty midrange.

I am a midrange lover and cannot bear to listen to lean gear. Anything lean sounding is out the door in days. The Dude is the Man in this regard.

Bass is the deepest, most powerful and most articulate I have heard with any tubed preamp.

I hear no flaws. All the one word descriptions seem so unimportant as the Dude and the 225 amp go beyond these descriptions. It is all about the experience. Once the tonality, highs, detail, transparancy, mids, bass, staging and imaging are there it then becomes all about the experience. Is it a hifi system or is it much more of a live experience? The Dude and 225 amp deliver music folks.

The AH is a fine preamp, but in my system there was no comparision in any way. The Dude is so much more impressive and expressive of the music.

I thought I would chime in here to again reinforce your TRL Testimony. I have the Samsons with about 300 hours on them and they defy description. I'm working on a review but it is one of the most difficult writing tasks I've undertaken.

...Amplification on another plane. Sounds like the best Steak you've ever had. Perhaps Vino. ..

Chambersburg, PA

Intuitive Design Gamma Summit speakers
Musical Concepts "Chameleon" Preamp, 6H30pi (Beta Testing)
Musical Design DAC1A Platinum Plus Ultra, tweaked
Computer server, primary source.
Cabling by ID and myself.
Thanks for being an evangelist for this pre-amp Bill. More people need to know about it. I just received mine this week, and it is every bit as good as you claim. A formal review is pending further break-in....