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In Reply to: RE: The Einstein is a TUBE preamp posted by morricab on July 16, 2012 at 08:21:17
Its kind of hard to miss all those tubes sticking out of the top.
given that neither of you have owned it, would you care to tell us all if the einstein has discrete diodes or a one piece bridge rectifier, or is it tube-rectified? (i can tell you, i have photos of the inside to prove it).
you should think about knowing something before posting something.
(name one error in my reviews. any of them. ever.)
answer: Einstein has a solid state power supply. i know, i owned it and was inside it with a soldering iron more times than i care to remember.
now, care to tell us all about the gain stage in the einstein or the edge? i can tell you all about those as a former owner, but seeing as how neither of you owned either product, please enlighten us.
"you should think about knowing something before posting something."
My aren't we getting snippety.
Whether or not the Einstein has discrete diodes or an integrated bridge rectifier, who cares?? I do know that it DOES NOT have a tube rectifier and that it uses tubes as channel switches rather than putting another contact in the circuit. Other than that I can tell you its fully balanced.
Not to split hairs here, but one of my best friends has this preamp so I have seen and heard and replaced tubes on it.
Now, if you want to call a tube preamp solid state because it has a solid state power supply, be my guest but that is hardly a conventional approach to classification. There are in fact not too many tube preamps that have an all tube power supply.
You said: "but there's no pretending the Ref3 has dynamics to match a great SS preamp. Two other preamps that I've owned, the Edge NL and the Einstein, both had considerably more force and explosiveness than the Ref3, and both relied on different SS topologies: the Edge used batteries, while the Einstein used dual transformers in a SS circuit biased to class A (along with the gain stage occurring before the volume control)"
Now, what you clearly state there is that the Einstein is a SS circuit biased to class A. Do you mention anything about power supply?? Nope. If you meant power supply then you should have stated it explicitly because it sounds like you mean the acutal amplification circuitry.
For the record, I reviewed a hell of a lot of preamps (for Positive Feedback no less) and I found that for the most part the best sounding preamps had TUBE power supplies. THe two exceptions that I have heard among the best were the Vacuumstate RTP3D and the Einstein. The Vacuumstate was special because they had their own proprietary "superreg" regulator cirucuit that lowered the noise floor to below that of batteries. My own preamp from that time, the Silvaweld SWC-1000, used a 300B tube as a voltage regulator for 4 Western Electric 417A tubes in a fully balanced, transformer coupled circuit. It was also tube rectified. The Einstein was not better than either the Vacuumstate or the Silvaweld but it is in the same class.
I have also heard the Edge preamp with their NL reference monos driving the Nola Pegasus Extreme. Also a good sound...especially for SS.
" I found that for the most part the best sounding preamps had TUBE power supplies."
Good point. I didn't even like seleniums when they came out back in the day when the lines were cleaner and the rest of the actives were tubes. Hard to beat a 5Y3 and it doesn't stink when it fails...
I got to thinking last night and realized that I haven't done a linear power supply in decades. The very diode characteristics that are a must for switchers are a bane for linears since you want isolation from the out of band, > 120 Hz in this case, conducted garbage not efficient detection of it! But of course I won't be scrounging around for transformers that still have a 5V winding, the tube characteristics that are an asset in preamps can be faked with a few discretes since efficiency is not an issue.
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