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RE: Hybrid Preamps

To answer the question no it's not a better design. As has been said there are plenty of designs that in all likelihood will each have their respective advantages and disadvantages and the more money you throw at each of them the smaller the disadvantages become and the greater the advantage.

So in theory a tube amp may have more noise but it may provide more ambiance than a SS preamp - if you throw more money (better parts quality) at it then the noise in the tube amp reduces greatly while perhaps the SS pre will sound fuller and less like an x-ray of the event.

Just a few days ago I compared two identically designed tube amplifiers at around $8,500 and $20,000US for several hours. The only difference between them was the latter had pricier parts inside. The first amp was terrific. The second preamp was really surprising to me in the way it seemed add "the breath of life" to the music. The first was outstanding high fidelity preamplifcation - the latter was "whole" and just special that I will probably buy. It's just a matter of whether I want to pony up the extra $5,000 for the on board phono stage or buy one separately.

The question isn't - is SS better than Hybrid or tube or hybrid better or tube better. It's when you sit in the chair - does it all melt away and you sit in the chair enchanted and beguiled by what you're hearing. If it does this it has succeeded.

Another poster made the perfect point as to a preamp not being noticed but being noticed when it's not there.

I would add one suggestion as a bit of an alternate that is the Music First Audio Baby Reference which is a transformer passive preamp. Jack Roberts on our staff hailed it as the best preamp he has ever heard by any one at any price. And I believe an ex Stereophile reviewer also claims it as the best preamp he has ever heard. The advantage of this thing is that it doesn't require a power cord and if you move a lot like me - it will work anywhere in the world - no voltage to have to consider - and no noise in theory too. The only complaints I've heard is that unlike the best active preamps it doesn't have the weight or big dynamics but alternatively some find it cleaner and more neautral. Maybe a bit more truth and a little less beauty - depends on what you like. I hope to hear one at the California Audio Show in July.

I am in the market for two very good preamps and the Baby Reference is really intriguing to me. Can't wait to hear it.

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  • RE: Hybrid Preamps - RGA 04:11:44 02/20/17 (0)


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