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Amp/Preamp Asylum: REVIEW: Tube Audio Design TAD-150 Preamplifier (Tube) by risabet

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REVIEW: Tube Audio Design TAD-150 Preamplifier (Tube)

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Model: TAD-150
Category: Preamplifier (Tube)
Suggested Retail Price: $1699.00
Description: Full function tube pre-amp w/headphone output
Manufacturer URL: Tube Audio Design
Model Picture: View

Review by risabet ( A ) on February 15, 2005 at 20:17:05
IP Address: 68.4.51.180
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for the TAD-150


The TAD is a tube pre-amp utilizing 12AT7's or you can use 12AU7's, or 12AX's as you see fit. This review utilized the pre-amp with the stock 12AT7's. The TAD-150 replaced a Counterpoint SA-1000 hybrid pre-amp and the difference is not subtle. The rest of the system comprises a Valhalla Linn LP-12 with an Ittok and a Sumiko Talisman S cartridge. Amplification is a PS Audio 100C amp and AudioQuest DiamondBack IC's and AQ Indigo Speaker in a shotgunned configuration, connected to Martin-Logan Clarity's supported by a Velodyne F-1000 subwoofer. All reviewing is done with the analog source only.

The first thing one notices with the TAD-150 is that the soundstage naturally extends past the edges of the speakers, causing the speakers to disappear into a soundstage of remarkable depth and dimensionality.

Vocals on the Opus 3 Test Record "Depth of Image" had a level of dimensionality that I previously had not heard; the integration between the front and the rear of the soundstage was impressive. The acoustic environment of the recording comes to life. Concurrently, dry recordings, such as the "Soundtrack to Countryman," stayed dry. Studio recordings generally sound like studio recordings. This is no syrupy, euphonic unit. It simply reveals what is there with no added colorations. On the "Holst: Suites for Band" on Telarc, the bass drum has awesome impact, one can almost count the cycles as the note decays away. On "Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie," Ella Fitzgerald has a realistic presentation and a detailed modualtion to her voice that is inspiring to hear. That detail comes through clearly on "Night in Tunisia" and one wonders if Ella is in the room with them.

The highest compliment I can pay this unit is that I once again am plowing through my music collection, discovering gems and finding new details in old albums from reggae to classical.

At the retail price this is a compelling pre-amp, at the price you can buy it, $799.00 factory direct, it is ridiculous. Compare this to unit's costing three times as much, you won't be disappointed and you can use the money yopu save to buy more albums.


Product Weakness: Taking the price in to account this product is perfect (at the price).
Product Strengths: The frequency response and extension at both ends of the spectrum is exceptional. Soundstaging is awesome, height and depth are incredible and help to recreate a realistic experience.


Associated Equipment for this Review:
Amplifier: PS Audio 100C
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): TAD-150
Sources (CDP/Turntable): Linn LP-12/Ittok/Talisman S
Speakers: Martin-Logan Clarity
Cables/Interconnects: AudioiQuest Indigo (shotgun), DiamondBack
Music Used (Genre/Selections): various
Room Size (LxWxH): 28 x 19 x 10
Room Comments/Treatments: None
Time Period/Length of Audition: 3 months
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner




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Topic - REVIEW: Tube Audio Design TAD-150 Preamplifier (Tube) - risabet 20:17:05 02/15/05 ( 9)