Tube Research Labs Latest Dude Preamp

For those members following a recently closed thread about my TRL wows, I have an update. The manufacturer has contacted me and offered to replace my first generation unit with their latest and greatest unit free of charge. I spoke with Paul today and we have agreed on a framework to get this done.

This is an extremely generous gesture as the new model is radically different and more expensive then the generation it’s replacing. We had an interesting conversation about the new units fully balanced design that Paul feels will be a much better fit for my particular needs.

I was not expecting anything like this. They really have stepped up in a big way. Keep you all posted on the situation and hope to have some specifics on the new architecture and features soon.
You cant ask for a better resolution then receiving a completely new and updated component at no charge.
I`m glad it worked out this way for you. This was a very generous offer from TRL, I hope you enjoy the Dude preamp for many years t come.
Thanks Chuck for posting this info. This shows good character on your part to write this.

We fans of TRL really did want to see you happy with your Dude as Paul does have a good heart to do his costumers right.

Sorry for the cheap shots I took at you during the now closed thread.

Sorry for the cheap shots I took at you in the closed thread.
As i said "please communicate with TRL and try to be a part of the solution than a problem" but amazingly some guys made personal attacks one me after I said that.

I am glad to know that things worked out.
Cdente, Congrats!

03-25-11: Gallant_diva
As i said "please communicate with TRL and try to be a part of the solution than a problem" but amazingly some guys made personal attacks one me after I said that.
With due respect Gallant_diva, you gotta be kidding me. Sharing your experience with the world WORKS! If the company wants to stay in business ...
For the record, I have no conflict of interest or any special treatment with TRL and I am totally independent mind (sometimes a bit too much) as can be seen for my audio views, but I must say that Paul is the most honest and caring gguy I ever met in audio. He is also an excellent human being and he won't sell his integrity to buy more support from behind the door.

Its great to see the TRL family back together again. Keep in mind that any public debate surrounding a device issue or customer problem does not work in favor of TRL.

Paul had no choice. Happy ending..
Wow, now that is SOTA support and service. Congtratulations and good listening to all involved.
As good as ive read the old Dude sounds,,the new model would have to be incredible to be better!Im looking forward to you owners comparing notes! Did I read that the Samsons will be discontinued, and a new amp introduced?
03-26-11: Sgr
Wow, now that is SOTA support and service. Congtratulations and good listening to all involved.
Sgr (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)
SOTA ... not until after sharing your experience with the WORLD when every options are exhausted. LOL!
That is wonderful new Charlie. The other path would have been a black hole for everyone involved. As I stated in previous threads, I have experienced similar emotions with other manufacturers. Since I did not grow up in NJ, I may have more of an internal filter that prevents me from brawling in It is funny how the internet does facilitate our uncouth behavior. We say things we wouldn't normally say.

Ray, the Samsons are not being discontinued. As a Samson owner, I gave Paul grief about that one. Smart men have dumb ideas from time to time....
Wow 45 can't you leave this thread with all positive thoughts?
I am told that the new Dude will be identical from a circuit standpoint -- this is referring to recent builds (there were some changes in the last couple of years that most units either have or were subsequently performed by TRL). This is a packaging (casework) upgrade. Plus, Paul will do "custom" features if requested. Paul is a great guy and makes World Class products. His primary concern is customer satisfaction. To me, state of the art performance at real world prices. One last note, I am not associated w/ TRL in any way...simply a satisfied customer.
I think a few closing comments are appropriate. Paul made me this offer with no strings attached. After he contacted me I sent him a scathing letter questioning his motivation and making demands of my own. His offer stood even after all that. There was no quid pro quo here and he expected nothing in return. Actually says allot about the man. The decision to create this post was mine and mine alone.

Personally I'm sickened by this whole experience where others are feeling joy and exuberating. It was never my intention to squeeze anything out of TRL. This does bother greatly. I had to question myself in that what kind of a person would I be if I did not accept his offer?

I'm just chalking up the dire predictions about using a third party as nonsense. The people I talked to seemed genuine in there knowledge and in their desire to help and I thank them for that.
A few quotes from Paul regarding my new fully balance unit:

"The Dude now weighs about twice what yours does at 72#, the
balanced will probably be about 85-90#. "

"The balanced use a 4-deck Shallco 45-step attenuator with our TRL bearings on the
shaft. Also a 4-deck Shallco input switch."

"It uses a bigger tube (6080's) instead of 6sn7's for the active circuitry like in
our GTP6 introduced in 2003 so it'll drive low-impedance loads."
Thanks for the update and your closing comments Charlie. I hope this works out for you, please keep us updated.

Glory, what was wrong with La45's post? As I said a number of times all the bickering and attacks on the customer from the TRL camp were not working in TRL's favor. I think there is a valuable lesson that should be learned here (once again as history has a way of repeating itself). Don't you? Paul really didn't have a choice in the end. He should have made the offer much sooner before things erupted, but in the end he came through and that is what matters.

BTW - very nice of you to apologize to Charlie. Indeed very good character shown on your part.
Piling on late, but I too can heap praise upon Paul. Great guy, always fair, honest and helpful in my experience. I'm a satisfied TRL owner.
Sounds like a great screenplay.

"Yankee Dudel Dandy"

The story of one man's journey through audiophilia.
Tony, you know TRL well having owned their products in the past. Does Paul's offer surprise you? Were you ever a recipient of their largess in any way? He is a very generous man almost to a fault. To be frank, the quality of sound many of us have stepped into for the price is stunning. More of the same IMO. He did have a "choice" in this matter, as did Charlie, and they both made the right decision together. Bravo.

Jeffga, what TRL gear do you own?
Amazing what this hobby can do to individuals.
Audiofeil, I have to admit that's funny...

Pat, I agree. This is a very weird hobby and it does take a toll in some ways.

Charlie, your unit is going to be killer. I am almost jealous much like I am of Bug's sweet blue Dude...
BTW I took opportunity to apologize to the previous thread owner for the gigantic distraction I created. I can't imagine what he now thinks about the TRL owner base. Myself included!
Well said Clio09. I have no dog in this fight or anything against TRL and the only reason I participated in this thread is not understanding the attack on a member for sharing his experience with a company.

Yes I agree Glory's apology is both very nice and CLASSY.
Charlie, believe it or not, he is still interested in a Dude despite the fact that we appear to a bunch of douchebags. lol....

I still wound not mind hearing a Shindo pre. I wonder if they will be at Axpona?
Don't know if we are geographically compatible but I did make an offer for him to have a listen to my new unit once it arrives. I felt I owed him at least that much. I'll do what I can to help in his quest for information and evaluation.
I believe Tthean lives in Dallas. There are two Dude owners there....including Gallant.
Anyone know the price of the new dude?
Negative. I know it will vary based on bells and whistles ordered.
I think there are two configurations. If one needs the fully balanced unit able to drive low impedance loads its $1000.00 more than the single ended architecture I have in my unit. $5k until June 1st per the information Paul sent me. Please double check with the directly to confirm.
Ackman00: You'll have to call Paul to get a price. It seems that every Dude built lately has been custom. Very few are "standard" anymore. You have many options to choose from. (Colors, number of inputs, dual mono step attenuators, full balanced, etc.)

Once again, just give Paul a call at (509) 989-4437 and he'll have your answers.
Has any one tried rolling the power supply tubes (6080, OD3, and 6SN7) in the Dude? Can you comment on it? Also, there appears to be a potentiometer next to these tubes, what is it for?
Hi Yo2tup, Paul is particular about that and I would direct questions to him. Grannyring sent me a RCA smoked glass 6SN7 to try in the PS, and I did not notice any real benefit. That being said, rolling can alter Paul's biasing (thus the potentiometer) and you have to be careful. Give him a buzz....
Ah ok thanks. It sound so good as is, I'll leave well enough alone!

Btw, I was able to compare the Dude directly with the Shindo Arieges-L. Granted, the Dude is more expensive than the Shindo...but it didn't take much to determine the winner in my system, the Dude bested it in almost every way.

I'm using a Burgess 45 SET amp btw.
Very kool. Welcome aboard....

And yes, leave it alone...
Agear is spot on to call Paul about those tubes and the bias. Yo2tup, did you just get your Dude or have you been a Dude owner for a longer time?
Hi yo2tup, thanks for answering my previous post. Now I am waiting to see if anybody has the chance to compare the Dude to the more expensive Shindo preamps.

Do you have the SE or the balanced version of the Dude?

I have a series of questions for the technical experts:

1) SE vs. Balanced. It’s a question of application rather than sound quality correct? In my case I have fully-balanced equipment on the input and output side driving the need for a fully-balanced unit.

2)Input component matching. The balanced Dude will handle much higher input. Probably 15 volts of input easily according to Paul. Does a higher voltage output on a cdp or dac equate to better sound in this case?

3) Output component matching. As I previously noted, my balanced Dude will use a bigger tubes (6080's) instead of 6sn7's for the active circuitry for my low-impedance loads. Paul asked if I needed this extra juice so they may still use 6sn7 in the base balanced version. Anybody have the scope on this?

I’m not seeing anything here that indicates a balance unit sounds better than the SE version but rather (like in my case) SE version can sound less that optimal for the wrong application.
I just got the Dude and it's the SE version.
1) Depends on how a company implements a balanced design. Typically true differential balanced circuits resolve noise issues and allow one to use extremely long cables without degrading sound quality. If the balanced circuit supports the 600 ohm standard (and not all of them do) then you get the added benefit of eliminating interconnect cable artifacts. Meaning you should not be able to hear the difference between different types of interconnect cables. Think pro audio equipment. On the other hand whether in general it sounds better than single ended is up in the air. Lots of threads on this in the forums that discuss this. You might want to look up some posts by Atmasphere (Ralph Karsten) who has often chimes in on such subjects.

2) No, not really. It just means the Dude can handle a lot more output voltage which is a good thing for flexibility purposes. A higher output voltage on the source will add more overall gain to the system, perhaps leaving less flexibility over the volume control.

3) Not sure what you mean by this one. Usually output impedance of the preamp is a key spec in determining how well it works with an amp. There are other considerations as well, but your question is vague in this respect so can't say for sure.
Sent in my order today for the DUDE!!
Kool. What color are you getting?
I haven't given the color with the order yet! Just wanted to get in the line up!
Paul is supposed to be getting color chart!
So, most of you guys are into "dudes"? :)
Hey Clio:

Sorry for the really late response. I’m working on a huge addition to my house that has been consuming my time. Got a 500 sq ft room I'm retrofitting for a new audio/office application out of the deal. Should be killer!

I'm clear on your responses in 1 & 2. Where I was going with question 3 is that in my situation i'm going from the Dude to a pro audio active crossover (DBX 260 to be specific). I'm hoping to have a better match between the +4bu pro audio device with the higher output of the 6080 tubes.

As far as the last post, I'm taking a wait and see approach. I should have the new unit in a few weeks. I'll let you know if I'm really into a 'dude' then.
Got mine 2day!! It took a little while but it was well worth the wait!

I normally don't buy New equipment! I prefer to try different used equipment then turn it over for a profit a little loss or break even!

Then I came upon all this controversy about the DUDE! I read all the pros & cons & decided to get one!!

It looked like alot of equipment for the $$$!!

I know a few more were shipped last week when mine was, I'm sure there are more happy owners!!

I have nothing to do with this company (TRL)just happy consumer!!
I got my new Dude today and boy was it ever worth the wait, Wow and Wow again! Mine is RED in color and weights some 75 pounds! Shallco 45 step volume control and a transformer that weights some 14 pounds!

Mine has 2 - 6sn7's per side to better drive my 20K input impedance 600 watt/channel amp and Soundlab M1 speakers. The build quality is simply awesome. Looking inside the unit simply has me in awe. The sheer massive nature of the unit, layout, and build quality are most impressive.

The power supply in this thing puts most power amps to shame. After only 6 hours I am spellbound from the sound. Music is once again in my home!

This Dude is finest piece of audio gear I have ever owned or heard in my 35+ years of audiophiledom.

Once the unit run about two more weeks I will write a more complete review.
Pictures of my new Dude.
Can you post some pics showing inside of the Dude? I was considering this preamp about a year ago, but the build quality inside prevented me from buying one. Thanks.
I would call Paul for some as I don't want to share his circuit and secrets for all to see. I will let Paul make that call as I want to respect him and his work.
nice pics! Love the color.