Wyetech Labs Ruby Std preamp - any views?

My curiosity has been piqued by this tube preamp, designed with an original circuit layout. Does anyone have any opinions?
Check out the thoughts of HP at hpsoundings.com He loved it.
Yes, that's where I became aware of it. Just interested in actual user comments. Currently running a 2006 vintage Hovland HP200 pre with NOS Telefunken tubes that I love, but my curiosity is a little piqued by this component, and the price is in the right ball park. The company seem to be v. proud of a proprietary circuit design they claim makes the Ruby Std the fastest tube preamp on the market
Very dynamic, utterly transparent and musical, I find no fault with it. Pairs well with my Sapphire mono blocks Roger also designed... but I believe a mate with his new Ruby monos will compete with anything out there.
Thanx F1a. I've just stepped up to SET monoblocks (Audion Black Shadows) that I'm really happy with. These are coming off my current pre, tube Hovland Hp-200 w. NOS 50's Telefunken valves.
I'd say my current sound is pretty transparent and dynamic, but a change of preamp might be interesting, hence the enquiry.
Do you know much about this proprietary circuit that Roger says makes the Ruby Std the fastest tube preamp out there? Can you describe in a little more detail it's flavour, maybe wrt certain albums/tracks?
Thanx in advance.
Know nothing of the circuit sorry, but Roger has an exceedingly keen ear for great tone... all his products make music.

The Ruby pre's most obvious trait is its explosive dynamics. Far more powerful than my Supratek Cabernet Dual with separate tube-regulated power supply, which is no slouch. Odd that, given the Ruby's lack of separate PS...

The tone is extremely detailed and transparent, bass is well resolved, treble is airy and silky. If I could detract at all, it might be that the tone errs slightly to the warm (musical) side of neutral, which I prefer anyway.
I have rogers ruby 211 mono blocks with 1942 rca radiotron tubes , coupled with his STD preamp , very quiet , liquid , very very transparent , the preamp is a steal at that price , I had the hovland 200 4 years ago , the ruby preamp in a league of it's own , no comparison , I heard the veloce preamp , I thing the ruby has more detail and more natural sounding ,
Has anyone compared the Ruby STD with the discontinued Wyetech Opal pre? I still own mine (with upgraded Solen Teflon caps) and I would sooner have my right arm pulled from its socket than give it up, unless the Ruby STD was notably superior.

Neal the opal is an outstanding preamp, but the ruby STD is so good in dynamics , transparency , and so very very musical I sold my mbl 6010 and bought the ruby from Roger , it's so far ahead of the rest of the PAC it's scary
Pavpet, can you describe in a bit more detail the difference btwn the Hovland HP200 and Ruby Std?
Neal: what did the upgraded caps bring to the table? And did the factory ido the work? I ask because I too have an Opal. Thank you.
A Wytech Rubt STD just hit Audiogon. No affilitation.

The Teflon caps made an enormous difference. The one criticism I had about the Opal is that it was a bit thin on top, especially on strings. The Teflon caps provided a much smoother, more full - bodied and natural sound. Strings sound quite "sweet" now. It takes 50-100 hours to really hear the full effects, but the improvement is immediately audible.

Roger provided the 4 caps but did not do the removal/installation; I had it done by an excellent shop in Westchester County in NY. Very reasonable; about $230.

I cannot see moving from the Opal now, and if I did it would be for a pre with a remote control as I am getting older and lazier.

Good luck.
Hovland is very mechanical sounding ,compared to the mbl, or wyetech ruby , these 2 preamps are very very liquid ,transparent with enormous soundstage, I had the hovland 200 for 6 months but could only listen to it for 1/2 at a time then fatigue sat I'n ,the ruby and mbl only want you to rediscover more vinyl or cd's
If you think the ruby preamp is impressive,

Wait till hp does review, or go on line for a look at the new ruby 300B 36 watts rms


Wyetech ruby 211 They both look the same ,36 watts rms

The 300b outstanding. Midrange ,the 211 very very fast with punch gosebumps I own the 211 ,friend bought 300b for his sonus faber amati futura
Neal thanks so much for the reply.
Hi Pav. I'm surprised you felt the Hovland was prone to fatigue. It has shortcomings, but I wouldn't have accused it of that (neither did any reviews. YMMV, I guess), over the 7-8 years I've owned it.
I guess the Ruby would be an improvement if it's not guilty of this.
No problem, Peter.

BTW, before I bought the Opal, I had a Hovland HP100. It was my first tube product, and was gorgeous to look at and sounded great, albeit a bit light in the bass.

F1a, you state the Ruby is transparent, but on the warm side of neutral. I've actually found v.few components to be warm AND neutral, often these conflict, can you describe the sound a little further to illustrate how it pulls off what can be conflicting qualities?
Yeah somewhat contradictory... Transparent to me means detailed without the artificial edge you often hear in high NFB solid state. Warmth to me denotes naturalness, what we hear live. The Ruby's warmth also reveals the natural body of a tone, and preserves a beautiful harmonic portrayal. These qualities combined with its strong dynamics serve piano particularly well, with its percussive nature projecting effortlessly into the room. Quite engaging indeed to hear reproduced music come to life.
F1a,that sounds like the ideal balance of attributes. I'm actually pretty happy with my Hovland HP200 tube pre, but with a change in the balance of my system with 8kVA balanced power and grounding changes, there may be a bit of accusation of leaness to be made against the Hov.
So, no rush to audition the Ruby, and it's fairly difficult with me being in the UK and no dealer network, but it'll happen. And fortunately it's in the "sweet spot" of sub $10k that I'm happy to pay.
Hi F1a,
Agree with you wholeheartedly, transparency and tonal warmth can and
do coexist. The audiophile dictionary has yet to be written so terms have
various meanings to different people. Transparency to me means the
absence of a veil or scrim that's between you and the music presented in
front of you. The more effectively this obstruction is removed, the more
transparent your sound will be. This will allow the true sound of
instruments and voice to be heard more naturally. This more natural and
honest sound does reveal the full tonality and body that is present. Live
acoustic instruments have much color, timbre distinction, vibrancy and
weight, this is what true transparency reveals. If in doubt, go listen to
someone playing an instrument un- amplified. The current Hifi definition of

transparency seems to be accepted as a thinner and lean sound which is
wrong in my opinion. All this does is strip away the natural full
and complete tone and rich harmonics that exist in reality. SET amps really

opened my ears to this more realistic-natural sound.
Interesting Charles. Are you at all familiar with the Hovland HP200, my current pre? I think it does tick the right boxes, providing a good balance btwn natural tone/warmth, and so called transparency/accuracy.
My move to SETs has been really instructive, and the synergy btwn tonally full Audion Black Shadows and my full range driver/xoverless Zu Definitions 4 which major on density of tone has been fantastic. Feel I'm getting warmth AND transparency. Enhanced by a stabilising in the soundstage via Entreq grounding, and an opening of the whole bass foundation of the music with Westwick 8kVA balanced power.
I was actually not looking at changing pre amp since nothing interesting has entered my view, but was intrigued to read about the Wyetech Ruby Std, and it's fans' view that it has the perfect balance of tonal virtues with no so called transparency deficit.
I don't want to return to the days a few years ago where the choice was between warm, fat and congested (BAT phono amp that I bought) to counterbalance my Lyra Skala cart (neutral, thin and screechy). This is my fear in the warm v transparent argument, even though in most cases since, I seem to have a good balance.
Hello Spirit,
I'm not familiar with the Hovland preamp. Given the evolution of your system and its present make up I'd think that you have achieved both transparency and realistic tonal warmth. My gut feeling is that the Wyetech Ruby STD is as good as advertised when you consider the pedigree.
Sure Charles. That's why I was so surprised to hear Pavpet dismiss it so comprehensively. I may take a punt on a home trial. But the Hov pushes so many of the right buttons for me, this is not the priority it might have been in the past.
What do you consider Wyetech labs pedigree to be? Bob Hovland is surely up there too.
Pavpet has owned both, so I imagine he found the"relative" difference to be rather substantial between the Wyetech and Hovland. Certainly this doesn't mean your findings or impression would be similar.

Regarding Wyetech's pedigree, I was acknowledging their track record of success for truly musical SOTA sound. Hovland could be equally deserving but I'm not as familiar with them.
FYI, Hovland has been out of business for years. Not syre what happened, because they made very HQ products that also were gorgeous to look at.

Hovland Company was done in by a combination of low cash reserves and the extremely high cost of manufacturing its hand-built products.

See the link below for the full story.

Don't I know it. 8 years on since I bought my Hovland HP200 tube pre and Radia SS power amp, it still rankles with me that this fantastic company, with brilliantly engineered products, and a design aesthetic years ahead of the competition, went to the wall.
I won't let you on fully to the details of which I know plenty, but the pressure for disproportionately higher markups of European distributors wrt US ones really did it for the company.
Once you have to keep raising prices to satisfy middlemen margins, your market will shrink. And magnified by the hugher prices needing to be charged to produce the high quality of their hand built products.
No wonder Wyetech labs go for direct sales model.
Eight years on, I haven't found a pre to displace the HP200 (the Ruby Std may be v.interesting), and my Radia is still in use, as my rear spkrs AV duty, while SET monoblocks have taken over music duties.
What I'm even more amazed by is that Hovland seem to be one of the few, if maybe only, high end companies with a 5 star reputation, that went to the wall. If Hovland died, how come eg BAT, Ayre etc managed to survive?
Best sounding products and best managed businesses don't always go hand in hand unfortunately.
I will have a chance to listen to the new Ruby STD next week. I came real close to purchasing an Opal but could not get my mind around the cosmetics, lack of remote, and the very industrial looking design. If the Ruby STD is that much better than the Opal, I just might get over my former reservations.

I just wish Roger would give us a remote option, a non-purple option, and cleaner less homemade look. At a minimum, bring back the gold plated knobs
Hi Brf,
If you don't mind I'd be interested in readingI your impression of the Ruby STD, sure seems to be a fine product.
Will do Charles, I will post my listening impressions on this thread.
The hov 200 is a great preamp, but in 2013 wyetech 's Roger Hebert has put together something here that is very very special ,in his ruby series line, amps, preamp ,phono stage. The superior detail ,liquidness of the music will keep you up for hours rediscovering your music.I'm a proud owner of the ruby 211 set monoblocks with RCA radiotron vt-4c tubes, 36 watts rms , along with the ruby STD preamp, this combination is truly spectacular in sound and build quality , also the design and look of the ruby set monoblocks and preamp absolutely stunning , great design work by Roger ,thanks Roger a designer with vision
+1. Love my Hovland, but interested in your impressions.
As a long term and very happy Opal owner (especially after installing the Teflon capacitors Roger supplied), I actually love the retro, industrial look, and, amazingly, my lady friend likes the look as well. That said, the only reason I would ever sell it is for a pre with a remote. It is a pain to keep getting up to change volume levels or functions. We lazy Americans!

I would be interested in hearing comments on a direct A/B comparo between the new Ruby STD and the Opal.

Neal the opal is good ,but can't match the lightening fast transients of the ruby STD,soundstage bigger , plus it's very very quiet , I had the Mbl 5011 which is quite a bit better than the opal , and the ruby is far better in lower extension , soundstage , transient response than the mbl 5011, the ruby is even quieter
Thanks, Pavpet. Did the Opal you compared to the (better) Mbl 5011 have the Teflon capacitors, or replacement NOS tubes. I use a pair of Russians (I think 1578's) and a pair of Sylvania Bad Boys.

These mods may tip the scale considerably.


Opal is good , doesn't have the soudstage , or quietness of the mbl , plus the weight in bottom end
Pavpet, your comments are interesting, but a little too brief for me to get a clear picture. Can you set aside a fuller description as to how the Ruby Std beats the Hovland HP200. Esp in terms of transparency/soundstage, bass extension, treble air, rhythm and timing.
A big practical issue is that here in the UK, it's going to be really difficult setting up a trial.
Everything you note in these areas the STD is far superior , it's like going from a somewhat good preamp ,to one where the sound is stunning, the STD is very very very quiet , thus enabling tons of micro detail,soundstage is vast ,there is a lot more weight in the bottom ,which all hovland products seem to be lacking compared to the ruby , even the hovland radia which a friend bought has little to no bottom extension, vie been in audio since 1970 ,a lot of products come and go, very very few in the league of the wyetech ruby line
About remote-control; I fitted a Bent-Audio (TAP) in my friends OPAL. Bent-Audio also have other systems.