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Audio/Video Gear and Systems => Critic's Circle (Equipment Reviews) => Amplification Reviews => Topic started by: Whitestix on 20 Oct 2015, 10:50 pm

Title: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Whitestix on 20 Oct 2015, 10:50 pm
I had a Harmon Kardon Citation I and II for years in my closet that I had been trying to get Jim McShane to upgrade.  Jim was too busy so he suggested I contact Don Sachs to have the upgrades performed.  Don has a long history of doing upgrades on tube electronics and is Jim's go-to guy for such work.  Don upgraded both the HK amp and preamp and they were absolutely stunning, dead quite in operation.  Don has now taken the great SP14 tube preamp design from Roy Mottram at "tubesforhifi" and is selling these preamps with several upgrades and optionality for buyers.  In contrast to Roy's original design, Don puts the basic SP14 circuitry in a custom-made wood cabinet with the tubes exposed on top for better cooling and access for those of us who like to roll tubes (brilliant).   Don has spend countless hours listening to the preamp with a variety of upgrades caps, as well as the very fine 48-step Khozmo volume pot and has come up with a winner. 

I got the preamp a few months ago, with XLR connectors and upgraded Mundorf Silver Oil caps that Don prefers.  I use it with a Emovita UPA-200 to drive Linkwitz LXmini speakers, quite amazing DIY speakers if you are not familiar with them.  I had been using a Dared SL200a tube preamp and loved the sound of the system with the modestly-priced preamp.  Well, it was a moment of magic when I swapped the Dared out and hooked up Don's preamp.  OMG, the clarity of the sound was instantly far more vivid and the increase in the frequency extension on both ends was profoundly different than with the Dared.  I could have sworn that a subwoofer had been added with the increased presence of the LF response!  The music literally hung in a 3-D soundstage in front of my eyes, with enormous air around each instrument.  Each instrument had a weight, vididness, and presence that was totally lacking with the Dared preamp.  Don's preamp is, to my ears, a much more detailed preamp even than the venerable HK C-I, no question about it.

Now if we compare Don's preamp topology to that of the C-I, there is a noticeable difference and therein lies the magic of Don's preamp.  The C-I uses a total of nine tubes, including 12AX7's and 12AU7's if I recall correctly, but Don's new preamp uses four 6SN7's and one rectifier tube.  Don has long believed the 6SN7's are perfect for tube preamps and inherently have the ability to create the immense soundstage and clarity in presentation of music that the 12XX7 variants are unable to.  Don's preamp is the quite simply the greatest improvement I have ever experienced in my 45 years of listening to my system.  I have rolled some fantastic, and not very expensive, NOS GE and Sylvania 6SN7's tubes into the preamp and I enhanced the sound of my system to a degree over the already very good NOS Russian tubes that Don uses in his preamp.  I got a cache of these NOS 6SN7's, so by my estimation, I have enough stock to run the preamp the rest of my life. 

I think Don's preamp will compare very favorably with a lot of mega-buck tube preamps on the market today, but in fact sells his preamp in the range of about $1700 depending on what upgrades the buyer might choose.  I might swap every other piece of gear in my system at some point, but I concluded that I will never look to upgrade Don's preamp.  Don is an analogue guy through and through and will tell you that he prefers tube amps as well (in fact, he is designing one at the moment to go along with this fantastic tube phone preamp and the SP14), but to my ears, a fine tube preamp with a SS amp is the best of both worlds (and I need a 4-channel amp for my Linkwitz speakers).  I encourage all the C&C folks here to check out the website below if this review has piqued your interest.  I have spent a boatload of money over the past 10 year on different amplification (the latest was the top-of-the line Modwright gear), and Don's preamp is the stellar performer in my system.  Literally, I had no idea what I was missing in the performance of my system until I got Don's preamp and other audiophiles who have heard my system before and after have come to the same conclusion.  And, on top of it, Don is one of the nicest guys you will meet in the business and has a profoundly great ear for music. Highly recommended, to say the least. 
http://www.tubes4hifi.com/DON.htm
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: santacore on 21 Oct 2015, 12:43 am
That's a nice looking unit!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Letitroll98 on 22 Oct 2015, 04:29 am
Sounds like a great preamp, worthy of consideration by any audiophile.  However it's insanely far above C&C pricing guidelines.  Let's move this excellent post over to the Tube-o-Phile circle were it will probably get better response anyway.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Rocket on 22 Oct 2015, 09:48 am
Hi,

Thank you for the comprehensive review.  Whilst not C&C its a serious consideration for someone looking for an affordable preamplifier.  Just wondering whether the preamp has a remote control for volume etc.  I currently run tube preamp and SS amps as this is also my preference, especially with inefficient speakers.

Cheers Rod
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 3 Apr 2016, 03:12 pm
Hello, Whitestix.

You are about six months into your SP14 preamp, so I thought I would resurrect this thread to ask you how you feel about it. I'm going to be in Don's area of B.C. in August, so I hope to visit him and listen to the SP14 and (maybe) his new KT88 amp. I have exchanged emails with him, so he knows my plans.

Looking forward to your current impressions.

Michael
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Factorz on 3 Apr 2016, 04:07 pm
I would be interested as well. Exchanged a few emails with Don, and he seems like a very knowledgeable guy.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Tomy2Tone on 3 Apr 2016, 04:12 pm
Me three... :thumb:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Chris Adams on 3 Apr 2016, 04:34 pm
I have one of Don's pre amps arriving on Wednesday. It has the Mundorf Silver/oil upgraded caps and a pair of Shuguang Treasure CV181 that Don said are the best he has heard in the pre. I also had the remote option installed. I will be glad to post my impressions after a bit of extended listening.

My current pre is a PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 3 Apr 2016, 04:37 pm
I have one of Don's pre amps arriving on Wednesday. It has the Mundorf Silver/oil upgraded caps and a pair of Shuguang Treasure CV181 that Don said are the best he has heard in the pre. I also had the remote option installed. I will be glad to post my impressions after a bit of extended listening.

My current pre is a PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium.

YES! Thank you, Chris.  :banana piano:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Tomy2Tone on 3 Apr 2016, 04:43 pm
I have one of Don's pre amps arriving on Wednesday. It has the Mundorf Silver/oil upgraded caps and a pair of Shuguang Treasure CV181 that Don said are the best he has heard in the pre. I also had the remote option installed. I will be glad to post my impressions after a bit of extended listening.

My current pre is a PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium.

Did Don happen to tell you what the gain is on his preamp with the Shugang tubes?
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Chris Adams on 3 Apr 2016, 05:09 pm
Did Don happen to tell you what the gain is on his preamp with the Shugang tubes?

Yes, about 19.5db, I believe the same as with any 6SN7.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: md92468 on 3 Apr 2016, 05:48 pm
I had my Blue Circle DAR integrated modified just so it could accept the larger Shuguang CV181s...took it up multiple steps from the stock 6SN7s in every way that matters to me as a listener. It's a wonderful tube.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: tipatina on 14 Apr 2016, 12:23 am
Chris, Am interested in hearing your impressions of the SP14. Thanks
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Chris Adams on 14 Apr 2016, 02:25 pm
I'm back.  Had a little problem with a broken CV181 when the pre arrived so I had to wait a bit to receive two more from Don (I have two more on order for the buffer position).  In the mean time I tried some of the tubes I had hanging around.  A pair of Sylvania GTBs, GE FAA GTBs, and a pair of old stock Ruby GTCs.  The Rubys sounded the best.  I like clear, dynamic, open sound with well delineated images and a wide and deep stage.  So I got the CV181s on Monday and put them in.  Yikes, big improvement in all directions and they are not fully burned in.  I went with the CV181s because Don said they were the best he's heard and from what he told me he has quite the collection of the finest 6SN7s.

I should start by saying that even with the Rubys this pre amp was better than I expected and I had my hopes up for it.  Don is a terrific person to deal with.  Just an out and out nice guy who knows his stuff.  Everything he told me about the pre and the tubes was verifiable with my ears.  No exaggerations.  The price with remote, cherry case and four CV181s plus the 1 uF Mundorf upgrade with shipping was about $2150.  Not cheap but compared to the ARC I had which at full retail was $7500, a bargain.

This pre tops my most recent units, an ARC LS-25 with full GNSC mods (actually was Steve Huntley's personal piece) and the PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium that I currently own.  The Prima is close to my standards but just a bit fuzzy and not quite as crisp.  By that I mean I can hear the distortion from the Prima (which is not a bad thing) but Don's pre is clearer and that makes it easier to hear the individual instruments and voices as they are placed on the stage.  More air around them.  Bass has slightly better articulation as well.

I'll check in later when I get the other CV181s and everything is fully burned in.

If you have questions, ask away. :D 
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: md92468 on 14 Apr 2016, 02:49 pm
I'm back.  Had a little problem with a broken CV181 when the pre arrived so I had to wait a bit to receive two more from Don (I have two more on order for the buffer position).  In the mean time I tried some of the tubes I had hanging around.  A pair of Sylvania GTBs, GE FAA GTBs, and a pair of old stock Ruby GTCs.  The Rubys sounded the best.  I like clear, dynamic, open sound with well delineated images and a wide and deep stage.  So I got the CV181s on Monday and put them in.  Yikes, big improvement in all directions and they are not fully burned in.  I went with the CV181s because Don said they were the best he's heard and from what he told me he has quite the collection of the finest 6SN7s.

I should start by saying that even with the Rubys this pre amp was better than I expected and I had my hopes up for it.  Don is a terrific person to deal with.  Just an out and out nice guy who knows his stuff.  Everything he told me about the pre and the tubes was verifiable with my ears.  No exaggerations.  The price with remote, cherry case and four CV181s plus the 1 uF Mundorf upgrade with shipping was about $2150.  Not cheap but compared to the ARC I had which at full retail was $7500, a bargain.

This pre tops my most recent units, an ARC LS-25 with full GNSC mods (actually was Steve Huntley's personal piece) and the PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium that I currently own.  The Prima is close to my standards but just a bit fuzzy and not quite as crisp.  By that I mean I can hear the distortion from the Prima (which is not a bad thing) but Don's pre is clearer and that makes it easier to hear the individual instruments and voices as they are placed on the stage.  More air around them.  Bass has slightly better articulation as well.

I'll check in later when I get the other CV181s and everything is fully burned in.

If you have questions, ask away. :D

Love that pre. And if your experience is anything like mine with the CV181 in my Blue Circle DAR integrated, it will shock you how much it brings to the party. Have fun!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: RPM123 on 14 Apr 2016, 03:42 pm
I have one of Don's pre amps arriving on Wednesday. It has the Mundorf Silver/oil upgraded caps and a pair of Shuguang Treasure CV181 that Don said are the best he has heard in the pre. I also had the remote option installed. I will be glad to post my impressions after a bit of extended listening. 

Interesting. Rachel from Psvane told me that the CV181-TII tubes are selected for very low noise and for use in highend preamps and phono stages and that the Shuguang CV-181's were not screened to that extent. I wonder if Don has heard the T-II's? They are much more expensive though...$299 vs. $199 a pair for the Shuguangs. I have heard the T-II's and found them to be a bit too "lush" sounding for my tastes. Then there are the Treasure Globe 6SN7-SE's at $375/pair and $750 for a quad! :o
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 24 Jul 2016, 05:23 am
Well, it's been three months since anyone has posted in this thread, but I decided to post here rather than beginning a new thread. I just paid my 70% down payment for my new SP14/Model 2 Custom Line Stage tonight. I'm going to visit Don in mid-August, and probably take delivery at that time.

I have been contacted privately by three different SP14/Model 2 preamp owners, and each one has sung its praises. I decided there was no point putting my decision off any longer, so I contacted Don last night.

I can't wait to hear it! I'll also get to hear his tube amp. This should be some treat.

I'll be sure to post my impressions in a month. Stay tuned.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: JLM on 24 Jul 2016, 11:47 am
Well, it's been three months since anyone has posted in this thread, but I decided to post here rather than beginning a new thread. I just paid my 70% down payment for my new SP14/Model 2 Custom Line Stage tonight. I'm going to visit Don in mid-August, and probably take delivery at that time.

I have been contacted privately by three different SP14/Model 2 preamp owners, and each one has sung its praises. I decided there was no point putting my decision off any longer, so I contacted Don last night.

I can't wait to hear it! I'll also get to hear his tube amp. This should be some treat.

I'll be sure to post my impressions in a month. Stay tuned.


Congrats and thanks for being a faithful AC member.   :thumb:

When my ship comes in ...
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Guy 13 on 24 Jul 2016, 12:21 pm
Hi mresseguie,
congratulation for your purchase,
any chance that we can see NOW what you purchase look like
or do we have to wait one month ?
Yes, I know, I am a pain in the neck with all my request.  :duh:

Guy 13
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Guy 13 on 24 Jul 2016, 12:26 pm

Sorry, is that your new acquisition ?

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=147350)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Tomy2Tone on 24 Jul 2016, 01:00 pm
Well, it's been three months since anyone has posted in this thread, but I decided to post here rather than beginning a new thread. I just paid my 70% down payment for my new SP14/Model 2 Custom Line Stage tonight. I'm going to visit Don in mid-August, and probably take delivery at that time.

I have been contacted privately by three different SP14/Model 2 preamp owners, and each one has sung its praises. I decided there was no point putting my decision off any longer, so I contacted Don last night.

I can't wait to hear it! I'll also get to hear his tube amp. This should be some treat.

I'll be sure to post my impressions in a month. Stay tuned.

Nice Michael!!!   

Are you getting any of the upgrades?
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 24 Jul 2016, 02:45 pm
Let's see if I can manage to copy and paste with my iPad. I'm getting the Walnut case.

Okay, two attempts have failed to produce my pictures. Guy13, my preamp has a digital readout beside the right gain dial on the right-hand side. Otherwise, it is the same.

Tom,

My upgrades are as follows:

Walnut case
Khozmo 64 step remote attenuator
1.0 uF Jupiter cap to drive low impedance SS amp. [I had considered the Deuland cap, but I'm not convinced I needed to spend $400 more to chase those last few percentage gains.] I've decided to buy the Nuprime ST-10 amp for Taiwan. It can be delivered there from the factory in Taiwan and avoid any ugly import duties (and the price is a bargain).
All film cap upgrade using Mundorf Tube caps
Two pairs of CV181 tubes

I'll decide today or tomorrow if I need XLR connectivity. This adds $200.

Don sells a nice cryo treated PC that he says improves the sound nicely. I expect to buy one, but I'll wait until I actually hear it to decide.

As I mentioned last night. I've been approached by three gentlemen who recently purchased the Model 2 and they can't believe how good it is. I hope to provide my equally stunned and delighted impressions in a month.

I plan to buy a nice tube amp next year. I may decide I gotta have Don's tube amp, or I may go with the Taiwan made tube amp I auditioned last year. It's so hot and humid in Taiwan most of the time that I can't see using a tube amp and tube preamp during the hottest months, so I want a reasonably cool running SS amp that won't break the bank.

I'll be in my Oregon home briefly in September if anyone is in the area and wants to listen to how it sounds paired to my AVA 400R and Gustard X20u DAC.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: screener on 24 Jul 2016, 05:33 pm
Hey Michael,

Congrats on the SP14. I'd be interested what you think of Dons KT88 amp paired with the SP14.

Safe travels, Kim
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Chris Adams on 24 Jul 2016, 07:47 pm
Michael,

I think you will like it.  I am enjoying mine very much.  Yesterday I installed the Mundorf TubeCaps for the power supply and changed out the two 1uF Jupiter copper caps that I had put in for a pair of Duelund 1uF.  I haven't listened to it yet as it is burning in and I am very busy with yard and garden work well into the evenings.  I don't know if I will like the Duelunds better or not.  The Jupiters are splendid and a big improvement over the Mundorf Silver/Oil, but I had to try the Duelunds just to hear.  The 1uF Duelunds were a tight but comfortable fit.  Happy listening.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 24 Jul 2016, 08:07 pm
Michael,

I think you will like it.  I am enjoying mine very much.  Yesterday I installed the Mundorf TubeCaps for the power supply and changed out the two 1uF Jupiter copper caps that I had put in for a pair of Duelund 1uF.  I haven't listened to it yet as it is burning in and I am very busy with yard and garden work well into the evenings.  I don't know if I will like the Duelunds better or not.  The Jupiters are splendid and a big improvement over the Mundorf Silver/Oil, but I had to try the Duelunds just to hear.  The 1uF Duelunds were a tight but comfortable fit.  Happy listening.

Hello, Chris.

You managed to squeeze the Deulands inside the case!?! Don felt it would be too tight, so he suggested I try the Jupiter caps - plus I was skittish about spending the extra cash.

I suspect I'm going to be extremely satisfied with my preamp for a long time. I'll want to upgrade my amp before the preamp, I think.

I look forward to your eventually posting your impressions. The Deuland caps need a wee bit of time to break in, no?

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 25 Jul 2016, 05:37 am
Hey Michael,

Congrats on the SP14. I'd be interested what you think of Dons KT88 amp paired with the SP14.

Safe travels, Kim

Kim,

I hope he's got his KT88 on hand when I'm there. I'm very interested myself. I'll most definitely include my impression of it when I report on my Model 2/SP14.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Captainhemo on 27 Jul 2016, 04:25 am
Cool, Michael, August can't come soonenought  !
I think you'l lbe very happy with the  Jupiter  Copper ?  caps , I've been playing with some  in  a differnt application (using as bypass caps) , I really like them
Hoping we can try the pre with Don's new K&K mon's, will be  cllose schedule wise but right now, it's looking pretty  good :hyper:

jay
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Blueone302 on 29 Jul 2016, 02:02 pm
I have one of Don's pre-amps.  Only had it two weeks now. But man....  To this point I'm very happy. I'm planning a full review when it has about one hundred hours on it.  Mine came in a custom walnut case to match my Decware Torii II MK IV, a quad of the Shunguang Treasure CV181 Z tubes,  Duelund  Copper CAST PIO Cu output caps and the remote option.  I was looking for a decent pre to augment my system and one that would hopefully have synergy with my Decware amp.  I also wanted the remote option.  I only need two, but It came with outputs galore.  So far so good.  A couple of things right off the bat.  Even though the Duelunds are supposed to be notorious for break-in, I immediately noticed a marked increase in low end bass articulation.  Notes I knew to be there before that barely came through, now sound like I'm four rows back in the center seat at a concert.  Right now, it loves anything acoustic.  And joy of joy, the SACD version of Dire Straits Mnney for Nothing is mind boggling.  I'm hearing things I never heard before.  And it seems as if some of the older cd's I have that I couldn't bear to listen to before have lost some of the strident too forward mid and high pitch.  (Something I was hoping would be a by-product of the amp, but not betting on)  I'm running this through a pair of Klipsch Cornwall III's.  I was worried about them before. Not enough grunt in my room and the mid-upper high register was a bit strident and harsh.  But now, 95% of the time they sound phenomenal.  The only bad news is that in order to try and solve this dilemma, I ordered a pair of Spatial M3 Turbo S's for an audition.  They'll be here next week.  Decisions Decisions.  Seriously, if this pre keeps getting better and better as many say it will, I'll be in audio nirvana.  If you're looking for a custom line stage, I wouldn't hesitate to suggest you contact Don Sachs and take the plunge.  I second everything positive that's been said here about his friendly and knowledgeable demeanor and certainly his knowledge and skill in building great custom audio gear.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Blueone302 on 29 Jul 2016, 02:11 pm
Here's a couple of pics.
(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=147692)


(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=147693)

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Blueone302 on 29 Jul 2016, 02:42 pm
A Few More
(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=147701)

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=147702)

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=147703)

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=147704)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Chris Adams on 29 Jul 2016, 03:51 pm
Very nice! :thumb:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: richidoo on 29 Jul 2016, 04:13 pm
Very pretty! Walnut looks awesome and the woodworking matching the grain around the joint is nice job!

Are the 4 signal tubes all the same? The pictures look like the 2 inboard tubes are 1/4" shorter? than the other two. Illusion?
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: JakeJ on 29 Jul 2016, 05:40 pm
Very nice, mresseguie.

Blueone302,
Sweet looking set up.  Your review is welcome here (or a link to wherever you post it).
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: sfox7076 on 29 Jul 2016, 05:57 pm
I wonder if he would add a switch to go from 6sn7s to 12sn7s.  Not a great increase in cost, and could give more options for tubes.  12SN7s are dirt cheap. 
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Chris Adams on 29 Jul 2016, 06:09 pm
Here is a pic of my stuffed chassis.  Unfortunately I installed the Mundorfs and the Duelunds at the same time, so I won't get a true sonic change from the Jupiters to the Duelunds.  I have about 175 hours on them and will listen over the weekend and post my impressions.


(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=147707)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: poseidonsvoice on 29 Jul 2016, 08:40 pm
Chris,

That's very neat work  :thumb:

I have some Mundorf TubeCaps here that I should put to good use  :thumb:

Enjoy,

Anand.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Chris Adams on 30 Jul 2016, 03:34 am
Thanks, Anand.  I'm having fun. :D
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Blueone302 on 30 Jul 2016, 05:03 am
Richidoo,

   Good observation on the tubes.  But yes, they are all Shuguang Black Treasure CV 181Z Tubes.  They are all new.  But they are not all the same size.  Apparently the glass may sometimes be a bit taller or shorter on some of the tubes, but the internal elements are all to spec.  I had heard or actually read where a few people said theirs were a bit noisy.  (Whatever that means.)  To my good fortune or as a testament to the build quality of the Amp and Pre-Amp, everything here is dead quiet. 
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Chris Adams on 2 Aug 2016, 08:10 pm
I had a good listen the other night.  What I heard was similar to what I had which was a very involving stage with excellent depth, width, and height.  Frequency extremes are present and accounted for.  Tone went a notch up with instruments sounding just a bit more like themselves.  Here is the part that made me grin :D  I put on a well know disc to hear a couple of tunes and listened to the whole thing.  I got another disc that has very pronounced sibilance and over done treble on most of the songs and listened to the whole thing.  My take away was this is the smoothest these two discs have ever sounded.  No lack of detail, no reduction of dynamics.  Best I have heard my system sound. 
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 2 Aug 2016, 08:23 pm
Chris,

Thanks!

In just under three weeks, I'm going to be sitting in Don's listening room experiencing what you just described. The anticipation is agonizing.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: advanced101 on 3 Aug 2016, 07:38 pm
Best I have heard my system sound.

How would you compare the Don Sachs to the Primaluna Dialogue Premium in your profile?
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 3 Aug 2016, 07:46 pm
How would you compare the Don Sachs to the Primaluna Dialogue Premium in your profile?

In reply #13, he offered a comparison already. Of course, he may have more to add now.  :)

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: advanced101 on 3 Aug 2016, 07:50 pm
In reply #13, he offered a comparison already. Of course, he may have more to add now.  :)

Missed that  :duh: thanks!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 15 Aug 2016, 07:46 pm
Hello. This is a preliminary presentation of my impression from my visit to Don's home in Nelson, BC on August 10th.

Now why is it preliminary and not a full blown review? Well, thanks for asking. It's not going to be full blown until I get my new preamp into my system with my own speakers. You understand, I'm sure.

Don invited me into his home so I could get a really good idea of what my new preamp will sound like. You see, I ordered one about 10 days ago, and I was eager to know what my money had gotten me. Mine is only a little different (better) from today's preamp.

His system is such:
Source: Laptop with JRiver
DAC:     Schiit Gungnir
D Sachs Model 2 preamp
D Sachs KT88 amp
Joseph Audio RM25XL speakers

Everything in his system was new to me today. I had never heard these speakers before, and never heard the Schiit DAC, etc. Therefore, all I can tell you is how this system sounded. I cannot tell you what impact the amp and preamp had on the sound nor can I tell you how the speakers impacted my experience.

With that out of the way...

I got to hear some mighty nice live sounding - "you are there" kind of music today. The instruments, the singers, the audience (in live recordings), etc. were so real sounding that I nearly pinched myself to see if I was dreaming. The sound stage was huge - at least 8' tall and wider than the speakers which must have been about 7  or 8 feet apart. There was depth as well.

Don played songs that he loves and songs that I love. They all sounded fantastic. The clarity was incredible and even after 4 hours I felt no fatigue.

What did I notice? I didn't hear that syrupy warm sound that I expect to hear from lower grade tube gear. I felt as though I were standing at an open window 8 or 10 feet from the musicians. The bass was tight and not soft or sloppy. His amp/preamp will play down to 20Hz because he uses really good power supplies.
[Edit] Acoustic instruments were very defined and clear. There was never any feeling of sluggishness or of muffling of voices, guitar, piano, drums, etc.

Don explained to me his amp/preamp design so much and in such detail that a good third of the information passed right over my bald head. He really knows his shit.

I can't wait to get my new preamp into my system in Oregon, and then, into my system in Taiwan.

Okay. This was a bit scattered, but I think you get it. I'll follow up in a few weeks once I'm back home and can set up my system for a thorough listen.

Michael
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 15 Aug 2016, 07:55 pm
In an earlier post, I said I had decided on the 1uF Jupiter caps. Well, I changed my mind (before Don placed his order) and decided to go with .47uF Jupiter caps. I made that decision with the idea that I would ship my AVA 400R amp to Taiwan rather than buying a Nuprime ST-10 amp. The .47uF caps are not compatible with the ST-10.

A couple days after I asked for the .47 caps, someone tentatively offered to buy my AVA (we're in negotiations). This raises the possibility of my buying a different amp in Taiwan.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Tomy2Tone on 15 Aug 2016, 08:25 pm
Nice Michael!

So when Don was explaining his designs to you did you at least nod your head and add a few "Sure, huh huh" ?  :D

Happy hunting for the new amp!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Hugh on 15 Aug 2016, 09:12 pm
Michael,

Which Jupiter cap?

The new copper one or the old bee wax?
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 15 Aug 2016, 09:30 pm
Hello, Hugh.

The new copper caps. I'm not familiar with the bees wax caps.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Hugh on 15 Aug 2016, 09:57 pm
That's the one to go for.

Excellent choice.

Hello, Hugh.

The new copper caps. I'm not familiar with the bees wax caps.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Blueone302 on 16 Aug 2016, 03:45 am
Michael,

   You're right on time with your review.  I was just bending don's ear and he told me I should ask you about his amp.  Anything you can or would like to share about that piece of it specifically?  As for the pre, I bet you'll be happy.  I had a tad of an issue with a tube.  But we're working that out.  I love the level of detail I'm getting with his line stage.  It's way awesome.  I was listening to an old Ray Charles cd today and I got goose bumps as the music enveloped me.  First time ever I've turned my head because it was like the music was beside and behind me. That said, I've had to learn to juggle really well to get the synergy I'm getting right now.   It's so good today that I think the thing to do is get another 100 or so hours on the pieces as is with the current tubes before I move another muscle.  But, was it real?  And can I replicate it?  We shall see tomorrow.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 16 Aug 2016, 05:52 am
Hello, Jim.

Don explained a bunch of things about his amp, his design, and how he loves to tweak it, but a good 1/3 went over my head, 1/3 was understood when he said it, but is gone now, and 1/3 has stayed with me....okay....less than that stayed. :duh:

His entire system sounds fantastic. As I mentioned above, everything was new to me, so it's impossible for me to tell you this part or that part is killer quality. Oh, I can imagine all I want, but that wouldn't be honest with you or myself. I wish I had a nice pair of familiar speakers to place in his system for an hour or two, but I don't know anyone here.

Hmm. I'll ask Don about something. Give me a day or two.

Michael
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 16 Aug 2016, 06:22 am
Nice Michael!

So when Don was explaining his designs to you did you at least nod your head and add a few "Sure, huh huh" ?  :D

Happy hunting for the new amp!

 :rotflmao: You must have been hiding downstairs. How else could you have known?

I alternated my "Uh, huh" with "Yeah" and "Mm hmm". I also smiled when I had a clue.  :oops:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 21 Aug 2016, 06:47 pm
Michael,

   You're right on time with your review.  I was just bending don's ear and he told me I should ask you about his amp.  Anything you can or would like to share about that piece of it specifically?  As for the pre, I bet you'll be happy.  I had a tad of an issue with a tube.  But we're working that out.  I love the level of detail I'm getting with his line stage.  It's way awesome.  I was listening to an old Ray Charles cd today and I got goose bumps as the music enveloped me.  First time ever I've turned my head because it was like the music was beside and behind me. That said, I've had to learn to juggle really well to get the synergy I'm getting right now.   It's so good today that I think the thing to do is get another 100 or so hours on the pieces as is with the current tubes before I move another muscle.  But, was it real?  And can I replicate it?  We shall see tomorrow.

My preamp is assembled and awaiting my second visit with Don. I will take possession of it tomorrow afternoon. We will depart Nelson Tuesday morning and drive to Kelowna. The preamp ought to be in Jay's (Captainhemo) hands by Tuesday night. He'll have it for three or four days.

I'm going to attach my 100w IDA-8 integrated to Don's Joseph Audio speakers tomorrow in an effort to get an idea of how the sound differs. This will give me a decent idea of Don's amp/preamp/DAC sound vs the much smaller (and much less expensive) IDA-8. It's not intended to be a 'fair' comparison, but it will aide in my understanding of how his speakers influenced my first impression. I'll post my impressions Monday night.

Michael
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 23 Aug 2016, 03:58 am
I spent 2+ hours listening to Don's system with my new preamp this afternoon. Even though the tubes were not optimal (according to Don), and my preamp had played for a scant few hours, it sounded absolutely wonderful to me. I can only dream about how it will sound once it is fully broken in. String plucks, violins, snare drums, brushes on cymbals, piano, voices....incredible clarity yet not the least bright or artificial sounding.

After listening to my preamp with his KT-88 amp, we switched out to my Nuprime IDA-8 100W Class D integrated amp. Source was the same (Don's PC) and he still used his Schiit Gungnir DAC. Holy shit. What a difference! The Nuprime is good for non-critical, background listening, or even for 2-channel TV sound. However, compared to Don's amp/preamp combination, the IDA-8 sounds flat, 2 dimensional, even tinny. This was a real eye (ear?) opening experience.  :banana piano:

Now I can barely wait till I get back home to hook up my AVA 400R, Gustard X20u, my Adelphos speakers, and my Rythmik subwoofer....Just 10 more days....
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Captainhemo on 25 Aug 2016, 07:53 pm
Now I can barely wait till I get back home to hook up my AVA 400R, Gustard X20u, my Adelphos speakers, and my Rythmik subwoofer....Just 10 more days....

Well, I'm going to give you a decent  head start on your burn in Michael....racked up  about 12 hrs yesterday and another  4 today thus far while I catch up on  some  emails etc.  We'll  give it a good workout Friday night buddy , gonna be  fun :beer:

It's a gorgeous piece, I love the retro look, it's even more appealing in person.
Sorry about the mess in the pic, the recent  "merry go round"  of gear  is causing grief

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=149081)

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=149082)

Pretty premature at this point as there is likely approx 20hr on the pre which I subbed into the system for my Dodd yesterday morning. I've got a few initial impressions that  may / liely  change a bit as the  Sachs pre burns in and opens up.
Both pres have a similar sound, very clean and detailed but musical and  engaging. As Michael mentioned earlier in the thread,  not tubey or  syrupy in  any form.  I'd say the  Sachs at this point has a touch more detail, horns and stringed instruments are  amazing. Upper frequency  strings and  precussion extremely focused and  stand out.   I'd say both  are  very neutral, tone is great .
Again,   it's early but right now, the  Sachs produces slightly improved layering in the sound stage which so far, is not as wide  as that produced with the Dodd in the mix.
Man, Norah Jones  "Don't Know Why" just came on  and her voice is so foucused and up front in the sound stage, it's very life like :) It's a very holographic  representation

I think I've got the pre for a day or two more so I'll  get a few more hours in with it.  Been letting it play all day with a few breaks  along the way.   Should be a good  session on Friday
More to follow at some point soon

jay
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 26 Aug 2016, 04:22 am
Jay,

Thanks for your initial impressions. You know, I'm pretty happy with its sound even at this 'still burning in' phase. In my earlier post I kinda skimmed over details, but vocals seemed especially life-like and right there in the room.

By all means post whatever strikes you - both positives and negatives. You've got that Dodd, and it's got to be a high quality preamp, so you can compare them if you like.

Melody and I will show up at around 4:00 or a tad later. This G2G is going to be a lot of fun! :D
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Captainhemo on 26 Aug 2016, 05:06 am
hey Michael 
Like I said,  even at this early stage, it's an impressive piece, nothing negative to post  thus far . some  late night nlistners may find the volume attenuation  a bit wide spaced, if you can't get it quite low enough  a quick adjustment of the   left/right gain  will do the trick for you. 
Probably   accumaulated another 14 hrs on the  pre today  , gave ti a couople of 1 hr breaks  along the way again.
What I posted above still stands   although it's funny h ow fast the   ability to accurately compare  diminishes. We become  used to what we are listening to very quickly, especailly when it sounds good. Ssome swapping back and forth  will   likely  be in the mix tomorrow night

Speaking of which, looking foreard to tomorrow eve , wil be  great to hang out with the both of you, have some dinner, and enjoy the tunes  :thumb:

jay
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Blueone302 on 10 Sep 2016, 04:17 am
And the latest is?????  I'm still enjoying my line stage Don built for me.  I've introduced her/it to a couple of new friends and am letting them simmer together for a few hundred more hours.  Perhaps the best news out of our household of late is that my wife and I are watching slim to no TV and listening a lot more.  I think this alone speaks volumes.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 14 Sep 2016, 05:58 pm
Hello, Blueone.

My preamp is now up to 100 hours. At this point I stop counting hours and listen for changes only.

I played an old Fleetwood Mac recording "Go Your Own Way" yesterday and the day before. I have always enjoyed this song, but it's not a good recording. It is bright and almost screechy at certain points. For me, it is one of those 'better played on the car radio' recordings. Well, the bright and screechy sounds are nearly absent - just a ghostly hint remains. This clean sound is due solely to the D Sachs Model 2 IMO.

As time allows in the next11 days, I will post more impressions. We must vacate our home for incoming tenants, and begin preparations for another winter in Taiwan.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Captainhemo on 17 Sep 2016, 05:41 pm
Wow, hard to believe you guys are already getting ready to go back  over  Michael, you've hardly had any time to listen to your new  piece.... time flys ! Thanks again for letting me play with the  pre for a few days while you  and Meolody were here. really enjoyed the viisit with both of you, good fun... I promise you'll get cooked corn next year  :lol: Too bad we were kind of pressed for time, it would have been nice if you could have actually  had more of chance to compare the 2 pieces, by the end of the eve when we put the Dodd back in, we were pretty much just chatting and had already switched speakers ....  lets hope next time we get to do some amp  swapping !

Here's a bit of a comparison of what I noted with regards to the D Sachs pre and the  Gary Dodd variable gain pre ..... remember,  I only took the  sachs piece up to about the 50 hr mark and  only had it for  a few days .

The  2 pre's are tonally similar, not a whole lot of difference IMO.  They both seem to be veryneutral,  true to the recording.  Both just get out of the way and  let the music come through (transparentl).  At first I thought the Sachs possibly passed on a bit more detail , strings seemed very pronounced.  But after  reinstalling the  Dodd in the system,  I   would have to say I don't believe that's true,  I feel the Dodd to be just as detailed but a touch smoother, some  might find  that  to be less detailed, I don't  know ?
 
 I  think the Dodd is a bit  softer,  some might describe it as a bit more analog sounding  but again, they are  very  similar.  I only  reached about the 50 hr mark with the  Sachs so it likely will get  somewhat smoother and possibly  make them een more similar sounding  My initial  impression that the  Sachs  had a bit more detail I think was brought on  by the fact  that it is still breaking in and  may have been a bit  edgy, I'm not knocking it here, I'm  just stating I think it's going to get better with time and become more natural sounding.

There was a slight increase in the level of bass out of the Sachs pre,  I had to slightly reduce the gain on the Rythmik amps (a single click on each)  that drive my subs while it was in the system.  The bass didn't play  any  lower in regards to frequency,   just a bit more  output in the lower couple octaves that are covered by my subs.

Something else I noted,  and my buddy noticed it as well,  the sound-stage seemed a little wider with the Dodd yet a bit deeper with more layering with the  Sachs. No excessive difference here either, but it was noticeable.

 As many know, the battery powered Dodd is dead quiet.... the Sachs was just as quiet,  we heard no noise from it  either (it was connected to a PI Audio Uber Buss  with an Arkana grey series power cord)

These are both  great pre's,  either  would make a great "heart"  for most any system. They do have some subtle differences but they  ust that, subtle. After  hearing both,  I don't feel any  need to  make a change but, at the same time, if I were looking for a new pre, I certainly would have the Sachs on  my short list. And, I love the retro look of it, Michae's is gorgeous  :thumb:

I don't really live that far from from Don Sachs,  I'd like to one day make a trip over to Nelson and take my Dodd with me to let him have a listen, wouild be interesting to hear his thoughts  as well.  I'd also love the opportunity to hear his amps as I've heard good things about them  :wink:

jay
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: dls123 on 22 Sep 2016, 04:44 am
Hi all,
Don Sachs here.  Thanks for all the wonderful comments about the preamp.  I don't have much to add except to say that yes, it does take a good 100 hours before all the parts, especially the capacitors are fully run in.  Second, there are differences between the output capacitors in the different models people have, depending on what they ordered.  The one Michael has, and that Jay reviewed has Jupiter Cu caps and they were not quite run in all the way when Jay heard the preamp.  Others have the more expensive Duelund CAST-Cu caps.  These are tad bit mellower sounding, but there is a certain magic to them.  For lack of a better word, they are slightly more "musical" than any of the others.  The effect is subtle, but noticeable.  The standard Mundorf Supreme Silver Oil caps are indeed great, but slightly less detailed than the other two.

Also, some folks have the standard power supply and others have the more recently developed all film cap power supply.  This increases performance, but again, takes 50-100 hours to fully run in.  At any rate, thanks for the lovely reviews and I will try to answer questions as they arise.

cheers,
Don
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: richidoo on 23 Sep 2016, 01:26 am
Welcome to AudioCircle Don! Great to have you here!!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: dls123 on 23 Sep 2016, 08:48 pm
Thanks.  I just thought I should have a presence given that people are talking about one the things I build!

cheers,
Don
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: strateahed on 23 Sep 2016, 11:15 pm
+1 with a big "Welcome" to Don! Not a customer yet ... I certainly hope to be some day; but we've communicated via email. Another one of the gracious and helpful vendors in our hobby. We're fortunate. What other industry offers such a level of direct interaction with the makers and designers? 

I'm not sure if it's kosher for you to do this or not, but would it be possible to put some pricing/cost information around those cap options you described earlier?

Happy Listening to all.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 23 Sep 2016, 11:37 pm
Hello, Don.

Great to see you here.

Hi, strateahed.

I kinda think Don would run afoul of AC regulations if he began posting pricing of options here unless he became an Industry Sponsor. I haven't read the regulations in a long time, but that's my best guess.

Michael
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Whitestix on 24 Sep 2016, 12:22 am
Gents,
I haven't been on the forum for a few months, but wanted to express my joy that Don is now participating in the forum.  By way of background, Don completely modded my HK C-I, CII, and C-V a while back but in a fit of frustration with having so many tubes in my system, I parted with all the HK gear.   I got back in the tube world with Don's SP-14 and I think it is better than the C-I and far simpler in design.  I am sending it back for the Jupiter cap upgrade.  It is a fabulous preamp at any price and I am enthralled with it.   

Wanting a bit more power than my Dennis Had SET amp provides, I ordered his KT-88 amp today.  He spec's it with the best KT88 tubes (trust his ears, he has heard every tube imaginable).  Don admits that it is a better performer than the C-II and that speaks volumes in my mind.  The cabinetry is excellent as Don attends to every deal.  He can add XLR connections to both his amp and preamp, and an array of upgrades to eke out the last bit of sonic pleasure. 

I will be using Don's amp to drive a pair of Spatial Audio M4 Turbo S speaker, an OB design, which have been to my ears the holy grail of speakers in my never-ending quest for high fidelity.  I am quite sure the solid 60 wpc that his amp produces will allow my speakers to perform at their very best.  Or, for that matter, most any other speakers I might have in my system in the future.   Cheers, Whitestix
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: JakeJ on 24 Sep 2016, 12:59 am
Welcome Don and welcome back Whitestix!

JakeJ
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Captainhemo on 24 Sep 2016, 04:33 pm
Welcome to AC  Don,  cool to have yo here . Man, how do you ever fit those  "beer can" Duelands  in that case  8) ? 
As mentioned in that little write up,  hope I can get over that way at some point to meet you and have a listen to your gear. If you are ever over  this way (Kelowan) please let me know, wouild love to have you come by and check some things out
Enjoy  AC :beer:

jay
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Captainhemo on 24 Sep 2016, 05:30 pm
hey Don
I was  thinking of the  CAST Cu's, we put a pair of 1.0uF's in on of Kevin's RakDac MKIV's and they are big

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=150874)

Yes,  I think you did indeed have the  .47uF Jupiters but , you  also split the outputs and used a Sonicap gen1 1.0uF on the 2nd  set of outputs to drive the  25kohm  plate amps. As noted in the  little  blurb I posted, there was plenty of bass :)

My buddy Don has a pair of  SET monos on the way soon from Kevin.  From what I understand, they are  Lundahl all the way through including  coupling,  really anxiou to hear them

Also anxious to hear  how it  works for you, keep us posted

jay
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 27 Sep 2016, 05:44 am
I'm still a newb when it comes to tubes, but I noticed a startling difference when I replaced a pair of problem tubes with the new ones Don sent me. The difference for me was nearly like going from SS to tube sound. Is this normal?

Can anyone describe their experiences when poor/aging tubes are replaced by good tubes?

Thanks,

Michael

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Pryso on 2 Oct 2016, 06:34 pm
Hi all, another new Sachs SP14 Model 2 owner checking in.  I've had it more than a week but a few things restrained the burn in.

For the first several days I listened with stock 6SN7s since I wanted to have a base line for performance.  No surprise to many of you here, I was delighted with the sonic presentation.  Then a couple of days ago I installed one pair of the recommended CV181s.  Don suggests they may require 100 hours or so to reach their potential performance and I'm not close to that yet.  But even with the older (supplied) 6SN7s this is obviously an exceptional line stage.

I will also confirm that Don has been great to work with and provided a unit tailored to my needs.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 7 Oct 2016, 09:59 pm
I visited you too early! Damn.

My departure for Taiwan has been delayed till early November due to my father's unfortunate situation. I'd be proud to babysit your amp until a couple days before I leave.  8) You know, just in case you need someone to break the caps in.

 :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: rhoneman1 on 9 Oct 2016, 12:56 am
Wow,just wow!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Blueone302 on 17 Oct 2016, 03:24 am
Don,

   Just saw this latest email and now this post with the associated time stamp.  Even with the time difference.... (Yawn) I thought I was a night owl. So when do you sleep?

   And if any moderator is reading this.  It is related to the line stage review.  Trust me.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Pryso on 17 Oct 2016, 07:09 pm
Blueone302,

I expect times posted are for AC's base location, likely EST.

My recent post was listed as 6:34 PM which is not a time I ever post.  But being in PST, same as Don, that would figure.  :wink:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 18 Nov 2016, 06:07 am
Don,

This is awesome. It is hard to imagine better sound than what mine gives me, but I know it's possible.

Perhaps it's time to expand the case. Design a case that is an inch wider and 3/4" deeper? Just thinking...

Michael
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: poseidonsvoice on 18 Nov 2016, 03:46 pm
Don,

Very nice, full of boutique audiophile parts. But that brings up another question...what is the basic circuit design of the SP14 in words?

I like your use of FPE by the way  :thumb:

Best,
Anand.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: tweeden on 27 Nov 2016, 03:18 pm
That black beauty is very nice Don!

I am in audio nirvana with the Model 2 you built and can attest that everything folks have said is true about this preamp.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Captainhemo on 29 Nov 2016, 03:12 am
Wow, gorgeous build, nicely done Don & Loren  :thumb:

jay
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Whitestix on 1 Dec 2016, 12:14 am
Let me chime in here and tell you about my latest upgrade to Don's preamp.  In sequence, he upgraded the outstanding Mundorf Silver Oil output caps to Jupiter copper foil caps and the upgrade was instantly preferrable, with great extension on the LF response.  Then he did an upgrade of the coupling caps and the sonic improvement in air and sound staging was immediately obvious.  I had one of the first preamps he produced and every upgrade was every worthwhile.  I have had a dozen fine preamps over the past 45 years and Don's is by far the best I have had in my system.  I reckon his KT88 amp and phono amp are equally as good.  I suppose there is better gear available, but not at anywhere near the price point Don prices this gear.  Check out his website at "Don Sachs Consulting" for more information.  Please support boutique audio designers.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: sfox7076 on 1 Dec 2016, 01:11 am
Have you ever considered doing an LCR phono stage?
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: rtorne on 5 Dec 2016, 06:41 pm
Hi everyone
the SP14 is a great preamp with all the beauty that tubes offer and without any hum or noise at all, specially for females voices and strings it is the best I have heard. I could listen to Tracy Chapman, Nina Simone, Adelle and Tina all night long.
I just wanted to say (hope I am not violating any rule here because I am selling my SP14) that after trying different ouput caps I decided to stay with the russian PIOs supplied by Roy. Pricewise it was the best choice. If you can afford the expensive Mundorf and Duelund go for them, but the difference is very very subtle.
Just my 2 cents.
Regards
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Steve on 6 Feb 2017, 03:28 am
I personally like and appreciate the advantages of dual volume controls, but I thought everyone hated dual manual left and right volume controls?

Cheers

Steve
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: JakeJ on 6 Feb 2017, 05:00 am
I don't but from an engineering standpoint it's pretty much impossible to do dual mono and have a remote, yes?
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: richidoo on 6 Feb 2017, 05:01 am
Congrats on the new twist Don! I want one real bad!  :thumb:


....that is unless you put dual volume controls on it... ;)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: poseidonsvoice on 6 Feb 2017, 10:55 am
Yup, Tom Christiansen's i.e. Neurochrome Audio's Maida regulator is the real deal. I use them in my KT120 build. Top it off with some of K&K's cascode constant current sources for the tubes and you are ready to go.

Best,
Anand.

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Steve on 6 Feb 2017, 01:54 pm
I don't but from an engineering standpoint it's pretty much impossible to do dual mono and have a remote, yes?

I agree, it would probably be messy. Maybe two different remotes, or a single remote using the balance buttons ("code") for one channels volume control. I personally use two manual controls and glad to see the designer uses such.

Cheers

Steve
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: dls123 on 7 Feb 2017, 04:23 pm
Hi
Actually, my dual mono Khozmo remote unit has two remote 50K mono Khozmos that are linked on one remote.  They go up and down in unison, but you can unlink them, move one or the other up or down independently, and then re-link them.  Works like a charm, so that you get balance and volume all in one.  There is really only one resistor in the signal path on each channel at any one time.

cheers,
Don
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: dls123 on 7 Feb 2017, 04:26 pm
Yup, Tom Christiansen's i.e. Neurochrome Audio's Maida regulator is the real deal. I use them in my KT120 build. Top it off with some of K&K's cascade constant current sources for the tubes and you are ready to go.

Best,
Anand.

Hi
Pretty much what I do in my amp!  One of Tom's boards on each channel and the driver tubes each have a CCS on the tail.....  Sounds incredible.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: JakeJ on 9 Feb 2017, 12:09 am
Hi
Actually, my dual mono Khozmo remote unit has two remote 50K mono Khozmos that are linked on one remote.  They go up and down in unison, but you can unlink them, move one or the other up or down independently, and then re-link them.  Works like a charm, so that you get balance and volume all in one.  There is really only one resistor in the signal path on each channel at any one time.

cheers,
Don

Now that's pretty neat!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Steve on 9 Feb 2017, 04:13 am
Hi
Actually, my dual mono Khozmo remote unit has two remote 50K mono Khozmos that are linked on one remote.  They go up and down in unison, but you can unlink them, move one or the other up or down independently, and then re-link them.  Works like a charm, so that you get balance and volume all in one.  There is really only one resistor in the signal path on each channel at any one time.

cheers,
Don

Don, do you have any specs on the pots/website as I cannot find them. I ask because over the decades I have found at least moderate inconsistencies and variations from the A taper and from pot to pot. I take it these controls are much more consistent from pot to pot, custom order? What are their prices. Just asking Don.

Cheers

Steve
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: JakeJ on 9 Feb 2017, 03:34 pm
Steve,

Did you find this? http://www.khozmo.com/ (http://www.khozmo.com/)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Steve on 10 Feb 2017, 12:41 am
Steve,

Did you find this? http://www.khozmo.com/ (http://www.khozmo.com/)

Ok; so it is not a continuously variable pot but a stepped attenuator. No wonder I could not find it.  :lol:

Cheers

Steve
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Pryso on 15 Feb 2017, 08:39 pm
For anyone considering one of Don's SP14s but holding concerns because he is not a major manufacturer, let me share my experience.

First of all, when I contacted him with questions after my initial interest I was pleased by his quick response and straight-forward answers.  Once I decided to place an order he was most helpful in helping me decide which exact version I wanted.

Delivery was right on time and I've been delighted with the appearance, functionality, and most of all, the sonics of my unit.

Break in progressed smoothly and my admiration for his SP14 only grew as I added to the play time.  Then the unthinkable happened, my unit developed a problem.  Don was puzzled since he had not experienced other failures or problems but he was completely professional in addressing mine.  As his warranty implies, he covered everything.  Fortunately it turned out to be something very minor which was easily repaired.  I installed it back in my system yesterday and again it sounds wonderful.

So I suppose the laws of average determined that one of his units would develop a problem and that turned out to be mine.  But he stood behind the unit just as promised.  I would not hesitate to continue to recommend his SP14 to anyone with a budget close to $2K shopping for a line stage.  As the Brits might say, "it punches well above its weight".
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mhr on 16 Apr 2017, 07:22 pm
Hi Don,

Which resistors are you using in your 64 step Khozmo attenuators?

Also, did the dual mono attenuators come with two level displays or was an additional one ordered.

Finally, was there any special that needed to be done with your remote to facilitate slaved mode and unslaved mode?

Thanks,

MHR
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: jvinhj240 on 28 Apr 2017, 07:50 pm
mhr, its faster if you email directly. 

Also, Don also told me to get Bendix 5852 recifier. I just put it on today .  W0W,  I think this is a must for this pre-amp.  Currently I only have 2 Shangung but ordering 2 more. 

This is the link I bought from , if he is out of stock you can ask him in PM.  I pay directly save some $ :))))).  No, I am not advertise for him.  Just want to help anyone want to know what I bought but you can just search Bendix 5852 . it will come up.

ENJOY>>>

http://www.ebay.com/itm/322491275335?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 28 Apr 2017, 08:26 pm
mhr, its faster if you email directly. 

Also, Don also told me to get Bendix 5852 recifier. I just put it on today .  W0W,  I think this is a must for this pre-amp.  Currently I only have 2 Shangung but ordering 2 more. 

ENJOY>>>

http://www.ebay.com/itm/322491275335?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

By 'Shangung' to you mean 'Shuguang' tubes?
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: jvinhj240 on 28 Apr 2017, 08:32 pm
Yes , sorry my bad spelling .   Shuguang Treasure CV181-Z  , this one.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: datman on 28 Apr 2017, 09:02 pm
I received my SP14 from Don in March.

I had mine equipped with the remote 64 step dual mono Khozmo attenuators and a quad of Shuguang CV-181-Z. To say this preamp is outstanding is the epitome of understatement.  As near as I can tell, it has NO sound of its own. It is neutral, detailed, has fantastic bass and is as transparent as all get out. I love the dual output level meters. I feel pretty certain that I am through preamp hunting for awhile.

My next acquisition will be one of Don's amps. He and I have been going back and forth about output tubes--Shuguang Treasure or Psvane-TII. I will make a decision and have the amp built in the next month or so. 
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: bummrush on 28 Apr 2017, 10:41 pm
Ganged volume
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: datman on 28 Apr 2017, 11:02 pm
I forgot, I also have the Bendix 5852 rectifier.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: jvinhj240 on 3 May 2017, 07:57 pm
I received my SP14 from Don in March.

I had mine equipped with the remote 64 step dual mono Khozmo attenuators and a quad of Shuguang CV-181-Z. To say this preamp is outstanding is the epitome of understatement.  As near as I can tell, it has NO sound of its own. It is neutral, detailed, has fantastic bass and is as transparent as all get out. I love the dual output level meters. I feel pretty certain that I am through preamp hunting for awhile.

My next acquisition will be one of Don's amps. He and I have been going back and forth about output tubes--Shuguang Treasure or Psvane-TII. I will make a decision and have the amp built in the next month or so.

Good combo.  I think he build mine and your same time.  Finally I got Quad Shunguang.  So happy with it.   I recently build a similar   VTA 120 using same VTA board but I think Don's amp is quite different .   If I have known Don before I would buy both his amp and pre-amp.  But so far his pre-amp superior work pretty good with my tube amp.   His KT88 is so sexy.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: rickmusicman on 4 May 2017, 10:08 pm
I am interested in a tube amp to complement my solid state amp. I have been looking at the PrimaLuma Dialogue Premium preamp. I saw this thread and it looks like this preamp fom Don Sachs is really nice. Do you know if the case can be made out of black metal to match the rest of my hifi gear? I have an Odessey Khartago amp, Tekton Double Impact Speakers, Onkyo CD player and Uturn Orbit TT. Any opinions on the sound difference between the PrimaLuna and the Don Sachs preamp? Thanks   Rick
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Chris Adams on 4 May 2017, 11:06 pm
Rick,

I had a PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium pre and while it was very good, Don's pre just does everything better with no fatigue. It isn't e even close.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: rickmusicman on 14 May 2017, 02:50 am
I talked to Don yesterday, and will be having him build me a preamp. What a nice and knowledgeable guy!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 14 May 2017, 04:11 am
Congratulations, Rick!

From my own experience, I know you are in for a treat.  :beer:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Blueone302 on 16 May 2017, 04:09 am
I am a huge fan of Don's work.  To those of you who recently got your pre-amps, the initial great sound will (IMHO) only get infinitely better.  Don built my initial pre-amp a little less than a year ago with pretty much all the bells and whistles.   I paired it with a Decware Torii MK IV.  The Torii was a great stand alone amp.  However the difference when I introduced Don's pre was immediately noticeable.  The bass definition was better and the upper treble register was simply pristine.  And like I suggested, it only got better from there.  I've sat in a lot of listening rooms and heard a lot of adjectives used to describe a lot of pre-amps.  I've heard forward.  I've heard neutral.  Another word I've heard used a lot, but never expressed in actual performance was "music envelopment".   "The music from this system" or, "the music from this pre-amp will envelop you."  None of them did.  Or at least, none of them did so to the level of this pre-amp.  I paired it with a tube amp.  Check.  I paired it with a solid state amp.  Check.  I paired it with a Class D Audio amp.  Check.  To a degree, every amp I paired it with sounded better.  So, because Don delivered, I sent it back to get the latest and final tweaks three months ago.  It should be turning around and headed back any day now.  The good news is that this time Don will be sending a sibling along for the ride; a new Kootenay 120 KT-88 power amp.  Why you might ask would I take a chance on ruining such a great pairing by replacing the Decware Torii MK IV?  I'll just say this.  Most of us realize we're chasing something that in it's own way is addictive; aka the euphoria or magic we experience when listening to music reproduced right.  In my case, Don's hard earned reputation along with his attitude for fine detail along with his inventive mindset spoke to me.  I believe Don wants our experience to be more than just chasing the holy grail of sound.  Don knows that life isn't about sterile aesthetics.  Don knows that there are aspects to the journey that once realized speak to us.  And along the way, we recognize a precious few of those moments as profound.  Now, all of the above said, I'm not sure if Don's driving the train, directing the cruise, or guiding the tour.  But one thing I am sure of.  He knows how to get us there!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: rickmusicman on 20 May 2017, 11:44 pm
Ok, I finally bought the preamp from Don. I am having it built in a black case with about all the upgrades. Don said there is a 8 to 9 week backlog, but that's ok. He sent a picture of his new amp, what a beautiful amp!  Maybe one day I can get one? also looking for a phono amp, but cant afford Don's right now. Looking at Lounge Audio, Schiit, Parasound and Emotiva. Any suggestions?
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: JackD on 21 May 2017, 12:51 am
Vista Audio. Look at the Industry Circles.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: richidoo on 21 May 2017, 03:30 am
^ +1  :thumb:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: rickmusicman on 27 May 2017, 11:10 pm
Jack D,
I tried to find out as much information on the Vista Audio Phono 2 phono amp, but not a lot out there. I emailed them as well and recieved a somewhat generic reply. What I can read about it, the phono amp looks good, but it does cost more than the Lounge Audio as well as the Shiit Mani. Have you heard this Vista Audio? I would really like to get more input from someone who has actually heard it. I only saw 1 bad review on the Lounge Audio on You Tube, but not sure it it is legit or not. Its so hard to buy stuff prior to being able to listen to it first. Rick
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: JackD on 28 May 2017, 12:45 am
Rick

The  Phono 2 has only been available for a couple of months so what info you find will be on the Vista Circle from the few owners that have commented.  I have had one of the pre-production units for testing and it was very good.  Just haven't gotten around to ordering the Phono 2 yet.  I have owned two of the Phono 1 Mk II's for almost four years and they are a great unit.  Fully flexible on gain and resistance loading if you don't mind changing the resistors yourself.  The Phono 2 still allows that but adds dip switches for the most popular settings.  Many satisfied users here and on AK.  If you are looking for "Press" reviews you won't find them. Owners and users only. I have also owned the Emotiva and used it in one of the systems for several years.  At it's price point it is very good, but purely sound wise the Vista is better.  If you are buying to a price point that is what I would buy over the other two you listed. 
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: sabciu on 8 Jun 2017, 03:47 am
I started working with Don on spec'ing out one of his Pre Amps. I stumbled upon it while purchasing a pair of Bob Latino's M - 125 Mono Blocks. It sounds like a great piece so I'm biting the bullet and am going to have one built. I'll post my experience once I've had a chance to listen. I mostly listen to vinyl in my 2ch system where this Pre will be utilized. I have a pair of Salk Sound Scape 8's, a NVO SPA II tube phono pre-amp, and a Clea Audio Innovation Deck. I've been running a VanAlstine Pre but really want to try this tube Pre. Hopefully it'll be rewarding!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: strateahed on 9 Jun 2017, 11:52 pm
@sabciu,

Good to hear about your planned move. It'll be interesting to get your take on the differences between Don's SP14 and the Van Alstine. I have a feeling I'm not alone, so please keep us posted.

Happy Listening!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 10 Jun 2017, 12:51 am
Strateahed,

Thanks for replying to sabciu. I had intended to comment, but got distracted.

My previous preamp was an AVA T8. The T8 was good enough to get me interested in tube preamps, but it was nowhere near as good as my D Sachs Model 2. With the T8, I was unable to play poor 70s and 80s recordings thanks to brightness or screechiness. The Model 2 has cleared that up, so I'm once again able to enjoy listening to those songs. Bass is faster, midrange clarity sharper, and the soundstage has really opened up.

I'm delighted with my Model 2.  :thumb:

Michael
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: sabciu on 10 Jun 2017, 03:07 am
I actually have the Frank's Vision DAC/Preamp combo, which is all Solid State.  Don's SP-14 line stage will be my first tube line stage.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 11 Jun 2017, 05:03 am
 :drool:

Oh, man. That would look beautiful beside a Model 2!

 8)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Blueone302 on 12 Jun 2017, 12:44 am
And according to UPS, mine arrives Wednesday.  Gonna work overtime this week so Friday afternoon can be a semi listening day.  I'll also have my line stage back after Don has finished tweaking and bringing it up to it's full blown potential. It's gonna be like Christmas in July!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 12 Jun 2017, 12:46 am
Which airport is near you?  :D
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Blueone302 on 12 Jun 2017, 01:01 am
Michael..... sent you a message.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Blueone302 on 16 Jun 2017, 03:50 am
Okay.... probably need to start a new thread for this.  But Don's KT-88 is in the house.   First thought: The pictures here don't do it justice.  Second thought: The UPS man almost had a heart attack carrying it fifty yards up the forty percent grade of the driveway.  Translation:  I thought for sure he would drop it.  And finally.... I got in three hours of listening time yesterday working at home; and another three this evening.  I'll give it some time and write a thorough review after fifty to one-hundred hours.  But right now?  I have no reservations in saying, I was a bit skeptical and even a tad worried about going all in on both the line stage and the amp.  All that said, this is the REAL DEAL.  I was in a showroom in Charlotte, NC just before Thanksgiving listening to a pair of Primaluna Dialogue Premium HP's and their Dialogue Pre coupled to a pair of Martin Logan Impression ESL's with a Oppo 105D as source.  Price was approx $22,000.  It sounded very nice.  Fast forward to now and I'm using the same source, Don's line stage and his Kt-88 with a Pair of Decware HR-1's and a Golden Ear SuperSub X.  With probably less than 10 hours on the amp, this setup is hands down a cut above what I heard that night.  (And I'm referencing many of the same recordings.)  In other words, for half the investment, I'm convinced this setup is a cut above.  More to come after considerable seasoning.  Special thanks to Don.  And thanks to the other kind folks who shared their honest impressions of both the model 1 & model 2 line stage.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 16 Jun 2017, 04:47 am
Time for me to get off the fence...

How much does Don's amp weigh, and what are its dimensions without tubes?

Thanks,

Michael

I'm emailing Don now to place an order, but I won't actually need it till October, I think. Gee. What shall I do...?

 :dance:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: gregfisk on 16 Jun 2017, 05:22 pm
Michael,

I bet that combination is really going to sing!

Let me know what you think of it when you get everything set up including those wonderful new speakers.

Greg
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 16 Jun 2017, 07:09 pm
Michael,

I bet that combination is really going to sing!

Let me know what you think of it when you get everything set up including those wonderful new speakers.

Greg

Mister gregfisk. You have a pm, sir. Please read and respond. Thank you and enjoy your weekend.  :banana piano: :violin: :beer: :hyper:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: alexscotti on 16 Jun 2017, 07:47 pm
Time for me to get off the fence...

How much does Don's amp weigh, and what are its dimensions without tubes?

Thanks,

Michael

I'm emailing Don now to place an order, but I won't actually need it till October, I think. Gee. What shall I do...?

 :dance:

So I just placed an order for the pre amp.  He said it's going to be ready in the fall.  So you may not have to worry about getting things early. :)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 16 Jun 2017, 08:10 pm
So I just placed an order for the pre amp.  He said it's going to be ready in the fall.  So you may not have to worry about getting things early. :)

From personal experience....you're gonna be one happy camper... :thumb: :banana piano: :hyper:

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: richidoo on 16 Jun 2017, 11:20 pm
Guess we better order now if we want it for our Christmas present?  :D
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: rickmusicman on 16 Jun 2017, 11:35 pm
When I ordered my preamp 4 weeks ago, Don said there was a 8 week wait, not sure what it is now.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Blueone302 on 17 Jun 2017, 02:55 am
Michael, the dimensions on the KT-88 amp are:  13 1/2" deep, 17 1/2" wide.  Height is: 7 3/4 to top of transformer.  8 1/2 to top w/ PS Vane KT-88 Tubes.  I didn't measure what it would be w/o feet and tubes.  The shipping info from UPS said 52 lbs.  That could have been for both pieces.  I put the boxes in the storage building.  I'll verify and let you know. J
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 17 Jun 2017, 03:12 am
Thanks, Blueone.

Even though it would probably fit in the carry on luggage I used for the Gustard and the preamp, I think I will buy either a pelican case or a beefier polycarbonate suitcase for the amplifier. I don't want to risk damage. The tubes would be placed in a separate case.

Michael
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: sabciu on 17 Jun 2017, 03:33 am
When I ordered my preamp 4 weeks ago, Don said there was a 8 week wait, not sure what it is now.

I got my order in as well, and he gave me similar lead time. So we're in for a long wait, but one that'll hopefully be extraordinarily rewarding! :thumb:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Blueone302 on 17 Jun 2017, 03:57 am
The Decware AMP shipped in a Pelican Case. They are bulletproof.  But they ain't cheap.  I think Don has shipped overseas.  You might check with him on his thoughts.  I do know the way he had the KT-88 amp packed was pretty substantial.  It was double boxed and there were gouges on both ends of the outer box.  But the inner was pristine.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 17 Jun 2017, 07:12 pm
Good gracious, me!  I just paid my downpayment.  8)

9 to 10 weeks is the best guess for my amp's completion now. I told him he ought to consider taking fewer orders so as to avoid burn out....after he finishes my amp, of course!  :icon_twisted:

Momentum is building, folks....can you all see that wave on the horizon? It's the Don Sachs Audio wave acomin'!  :hyper: :drums: :violin: :banana piano: :weights: :beer:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Blueone302 on 18 Jun 2017, 02:32 am
<Michael, 52 lbs on the amp boxed.  I'm guessing 49lbs.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: sabciu on 27 Jun 2017, 01:59 pm
Good gracious, me!  I just paid my downpayment.  8)

9 to 10 weeks is the best guess for my amp's completion now. I told him he ought to consider taking fewer orders so as to avoid burn out....after he finishes my amp, of course!  :icon_twisted:

AND MINE!!  :evil: :evil: :lol:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: richidoo on 27 Jun 2017, 02:17 pm
Good gracious, me!  I just paid my downpayment.  8)

Wicked! Congrats.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 27 Jun 2017, 03:26 pm
Richidoo,

Bring the family to Taiwan; hand them over to a tour company, and then come to my house for a listening experience (D Sachs amp and preamp, Daedalus Apollos and Kavalan Solist Sherry Cask Single Malt, and delicious delicacies).
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 27 Jun 2017, 03:29 pm
Good gracious, me!  I just paid my downpayment.  8)

9 to 10 weeks is the best guess for my amp's completion now. I told him he ought to consider taking fewer orders so as to avoid burn out....after he finishes my amp, of course!  :icon_twisted:

AND MINE!!  :evil: :evil: :lol:

Sabciu,

Are you getting both the pre and the amp?

Michael
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: sabciu on 27 Jun 2017, 03:51 pm
Sabciu,

Are you getting both the pre and the amp?

Michael

Hi Michael, no I am only getting the Pre for now. I may pick up the Amp in the future, you know how it goes. For now I'm going to run Bob Latino's M-125 Mono Blocks  :thumb:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Emilio on 30 Jun 2017, 01:52 am
sabciu

I have both Don Sachs preamp and Bob Latino's M-125. They match perfectly. You won't regret it and for those waiting on Don's preamp or amp or both. The wait is worth it. I ordered my preamp last September or Octocber of 2016 and received it early December of 2016. You guys will not be disappointed at all.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: sabciu on 17 Jul 2017, 10:50 pm
sabciu

I have both Don Sachs preamp and Bob Latino's M-125. They match perfectly. You won't regret it and for those waiting on Don's preamp or amp or both. The wait is worth it. I ordered my preamp last September or Octocber of 2016 and received it early December of 2016. You guys will not be disappointed at all.

Great!! That is really good to hear. I just finished up the build of Bob's M-125's. The build went very well and both Amps's powered up and Biased properly without a hitch! I'm just working on some finishing touches on them  :thumb:. These Amps look and already sound very promising. There's just something about that All Tube sound that's addicting and irresistible.

The build of my Pre won't start until the end of this month, so I am hoping to have it by some time early August.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: earwig on 20 Jul 2017, 01:09 pm
Is that like an audio research sp14?
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: tommydoan84 on 25 Jul 2017, 05:12 am






hi Whitestix

I'm interested in used  SP14 tube preamp. If you still have some of your SP14 gears available for sale. Please let me know,
Thanks,
Tom

I had a Harmon Kardon Citation I and II for years in my closet that I had been trying to get Jim McShane to upgrade.  Jim was too busy so he suggested I contact Don Sachs to have the upgrades performed.  Don has a long history of doing upgrades on tube electronics and is Jim's go-to guy for such work.  Don upgraded both the HK amp and preamp and they were absolutely stunning, dead quite in operation.  Don has now taken the great SP14 tube preamp design from Roy Mottram at "tubesforhifi" and is selling these preamps with several upgrades and optionality for buyers.  In contrast to Roy's original design, Don puts the basic SP14 circuitry in a custom-made wood cabinet with the tubes exposed on top for better cooling and access for those of us who like to roll tubes (brilliant).   Don has spend countless hours listening to the preamp with a variety of upgrades caps, as well as the very fine 48-step Khozmo volume pot and has come up with a winner. 

I got the preamp a few months ago, with XLR connectors and upgraded Mundorf Silver Oil caps that Don prefers.  I use it with a Emovita UPA-200 to drive Linkwitz LXmini speakers, quite amazing DIY speakers if you are not familiar with them.  I had been using a Dared SL200a tube preamp and loved the sound of the system with the modestly-priced preamp.  Well, it was a moment of magic when I swapped the Dared out and hooked up Don's preamp.  OMG, the clarity of the sound was instantly far more vivid and the increase in the frequency extension on both ends was profoundly different than with the Dared.  I could have sworn that a subwoofer had been added with the increased presence of the LF response!  The music literally hung in a 3-D soundstage in front of my eyes, with enormous air around each instrument.  Each instrument had a weight, vididness, and presence that was totally lacking with the Dared preamp.  Don's preamp is, to my ears, a much more detailed preamp even than the venerable HK C-I, no question about it.

Now if we compare Don's preamp topology to that of the C-I, there is a noticeable difference and therein lies the magic of Don's preamp.  The C-I uses a total of nine tubes, including 12AX7's and 12AU7's if I recall correctly, but Don's new preamp uses four 6SN7's and one rectifier tube.  Don has long believed the 6SN7's are perfect for tube preamps and inherently have the ability to create the immense soundstage and clarity in presentation of music that the 12XX7 variants are unable to.  Don's preamp is the quite simply the greatest improvement I have ever experienced in my 45 years of listening to my system.  I have rolled some fantastic, and not very expensive, NOS GE and Sylvania 6SN7's tubes into the preamp and I enhanced the sound of my system to a degree over the already very good NOS Russian tubes that Don uses in his preamp.  I got a cache of these NOS 6SN7's, so by my estimation, I have enough stock to run the preamp the rest of my life. 

I think Don's preamp will compare very favorably with a lot of mega-buck tube preamps on the market today, but in fact sells his preamp in the range of about $1700 depending on what upgrades the buyer might choose.  I might swap every other piece of gear in my system at some point, but I concluded that I will never look to upgrade Don's preamp.  Don is an analogue guy through and through and will tell you that he prefers tube amps as well (in fact, he is designing one at the moment to go along with this fantastic tube phone preamp and the SP14), but to my ears, a fine tube preamp with a SS amp is the best of both worlds (and I need a 4-channel amp for my Linkwitz speakers).  I encourage all the C&C folks here to check out the website below if this review has piqued your interest.  I have spent a boatload of money over the past 10 year on different amplification (the latest was the top-of-the line Modwright gear), and Don's preamp is the stellar performer in my system.  Literally, I had no idea what I was missing in the performance of my system until I got Don's preamp and other audiophiles who have heard my system before and after have come to the same conclusion.  And, on top of it, Don is one of the nicest guys you will meet in the business and has a profoundly great ear for music. Highly recommended, to say the least. 
http://www.tubes4hifi.com/DON.htm
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 9 Aug 2017, 03:55 am
Is that like an audio research sp14?

Hello, Earwig.

I know that Don's SP14 (now called his Model 2) preamp is based on Tubes4hifi's SP14 preamp. I also know that Tubes4hifi sells SP9, SP12, and SP14 preamps. However, I do not know if they are related to or based upon Audio Research preamps. There may be someone who follows this thread who knows the answer to your question.

Michael
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: galyons on 9 Aug 2017, 04:08 am
Hello, Earwig.

I know that Don's SP14 (now called his Model 2) preamp is based on Tubes4hifi's SP14 preamp. I also know that Tubes4hifi sells SP9, SP12, and SP14 preamps. However, I do not know if they are related to or based upon Audio Research preamps. There may be someone who follows this thread who knows the answer to your question.

Michael

Not AR, (thankfully)!  They are knock off's  of John Broskie's  Aikido design.

Cheers,
Geary

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Pryso on 10 Aug 2017, 07:23 pm
Confusion about model designations is unfortunately continued here.

Audio Research Corp (ARC) designated their preamp models (preamplification with control features and phono stage) as SP for Stereo Preamplifier, then numbered them in sequence of release.  After the introduction of CDs in the 1980s many hobbyists abandoned vinyl so no longer had need for the phono stage.  ARC, along with many other manufacturers, then began offering more basic units without the phono preamp, identifying them as line stages.  The are identified by LS and again numbered in order of release.

Unfortunately in my opinion, when tubes4hifi introduced their series, they identified them all by SP, whether a phono stage was included or not.  So when Don chose to build his own custom version of their top SP-14 he utilized that designation as well, even though it is a line stage only.

Don does offer an outboard phono stage, his Custom PH-16.  But he does not offer a full-function preamplifier in a single chassis.

Hope this helps any readers confused by the designations.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 16 Aug 2017, 11:41 pm
Guys,

I've also joined the Sachs family, ordered a Model 2:

- Walnut case
- Khozmo 64 step remote attenuator
- 1.0 uF Jupiter cap
- Quad CV181Z
- All film cap upgrade using Mundorf Tube caps
- Black faceplate & knobs

Wig

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 16 Aug 2017, 11:45 pm
Excellent choice if I may so so. It's just like mine except for the black face plate. With your amp and those lovely sounding speakers...heaven...
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: deadhead on 16 Aug 2017, 11:46 pm
Me too.  I ordered a new pre and bought the amp he had advertised for a customer.  Don is a class act all the way AND a reformed Dead Head.  Lots to chat about.  I should have the amp within a week but the pre looks like 10-12 weeks out.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 16 Aug 2017, 11:48 pm
Confusion about model designations is unfortunately continued here.

Audio Research Corp (ARC) designated their preamp models (preamplification with control features and phono stage) as SP for Stereo Preamplifier, then numbered them in sequence of release.  After the introduction of CDs in the 1980s many hobbyists abandoned vinyl so no longer had need for the phono stage.  ARC, along with many other manufacturers, then began offering more basic units without the phono preamp, identifying them as line stages.  The are identified by LS and again numbered in order of release.

Unfortunately in my opinion, when tubes4hifi introduced their series, they identified them all by SP, whether a phono stage was included or not.  So when Don chose to build his own custom version of their top SP-14 he utilized that designation as well, even though it is a line stage only.

Don does offer an outboard phono stage, his Custom PH-16.  But he does not offer a full-function preamplifier in a single chassis.

Hope this helps any readers confused by the designations.

Pryso,

Thank you for that. I just didn't have enough knowledge of the history of these amps to know this. Now I have learned more.   :thumb:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 17 Aug 2017, 03:41 am
Excellent choice if I may so so. It's just like mine except for the black face plate. With your amp and those lovely sounding speakers...heaven...

I just can't even imagine how wonderful my system is going to sound and those Crescendos are going take on a new level of detail and refinement. I'm going to try to forget that I ordered it so I won't start counting down the days...

The black faceplate will allow it to blend in with the rack and not noticed too much with the kids.

Wig :)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 17 Aug 2017, 03:46 am
Me too.  I ordered a new pre and bought the amp he had advertised for a customer.  Don is a class act all the way AND a reformed Dead Head.  Lots to chat about.  I should have the amp within a week but the pre looks like 10-12 weeks out.

Congrats, what an awesome combo! Going to get the pre in my system first to discern the impact and I have his amp on my shortlist. Let us know how the amp sounds in your system after sometime has passed.

Wig
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: deadhead on 17 Aug 2017, 11:01 am
Will do.  I actually feel lucky that Don had something in his shop that was barely used.  He's going over it now and will give it a listen for a few days before shipping.  He also had be order a power cable from Ice Age Audio that he says makes a real difference.  He suggested the same for the pre amp.  For IC's he recommends making my own from Duelund wire. 

Wig, where are you located?
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 18 Aug 2017, 12:04 am
Congratulations to Wig, and Deadhead ,
Well I just spoke to Don this morning and ordered his model 2  Pre amp with all the recommendations he suggested for me to match it to my new kismet in Stratos Amp.
So what went into my decision making process ? well I had short listed the following pre -amps Candela, (odyssey) Demo unit of Symphonic line RG 3 MK 3 , prima luna dialogue premium  & Rogue audio RP 1 or 5 .
Last week end I decided  to take a trip to Sacramento, and visit  WhiteStix , "a gentleman and a true audiophile," he demo-ed his Don Sach's model 2 in his system with his Nelson Pass First watt F5 and Spatial Audio M4 turbo open baffle speakers in his acoustically treated room , we listened in for an hour plus and swapped a McCormack  amp and M22 Revel speakers ( which I did not care for ) he then offered me his VTA-Sp  14 pre amp (with clarity and Dueland caps ) to take it home and try it with my system told me if I liked it  than Don's amp would be about 40% better.
When I hooked it up to my Kismet amp( Kismet does not have its own signature sound , it is very neutral !) and magnipans 1.7i I was surprised at the Clarity openness and soundstage , no distortion, whisper quite tube like with out the muddiness of tubes although  not thin nor bright just about right tonality !  I had  already heard the Prima luna integrated at the the California Audio show, a LIO pre amp  and reading AC  forums and feed back from AC members time had come to make decision Well ! decided to go for Don's pre amp with whatever he recommended  and put the 70 % down , my guess is I will not see the unit before November 15, 2017, but the good news is I have Mark's VTA-SP 14 meanwhile to listen to ! Cheers ! :D :D
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 18 Aug 2017, 12:09 am
A_shah,

Welcome to the club!  :thumb:

Michael
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: sabciu on 18 Aug 2017, 01:09 am
A_Shah,

Congratulations! A lot of us are waiting for Don's pieces, myself included. Welcome to the club and congrats! From what everyone says about Don's pieces, I don't think we'll be dissapointed  :thumb:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: rickmusicman on 18 Aug 2017, 01:18 am
A_Shah,

congratulations, Don sent me an email earlier in the week and he said my pre-amp isbeing built and should be done to ship early next week, Can't wait!

Rick
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: screener on 18 Aug 2017, 01:28 am
Here's a treat for you guys. You wont be disappointed.

http://www.audiocircle.com/thumbnails/user/66590/20977/167157_thumbnail.jpeg

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: screener on 18 Aug 2017, 01:31 am
Sorry not much of a treat if you can't see it.

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: sabciu on 18 Aug 2017, 02:30 am
Congrats, what an awesome combo! Going to get the pre in my system first to discern the impact and I have his amp on my shortlist. Let us know how the amp sounds in your system after sometime has passed.

Wig

That's exactly what I'm planning as well Wig! With this being my first piece from Don, I want to see and hear the impact of the Pre. I also want to check out his overall build quality and attention to detail. Once I have a chance to do this, I am considering one of his Amps some time in the near future. I already have a pair of Bob Latino's M-125's driving my wonderful Salk SS8's, but I'm building a pair of Audio Nirvana's 15" Full Range speakers, which are very efficient, and they might be a great match for one of Don's Amps.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Blueone302 on 22 Aug 2017, 04:44 am
I haven't been on as of late because of a recent move/appointment.  Took me a few weeks to get everything set back up like I want it.  Still fiddling with the speaker placement and room and acoustics.  It's coming in nicely.  As for the amp and preamp, they are stellar performers.  We've had family, drop by, new friends drop by, old friends drop by and they all want to hear the system.  Not sure if it's the look of the HR-1's or the vintage look of the amp and preamp.... nobody knows what to expect until I turn it on.  A pretty good example of the sound I'm getting came from a friend who's had music connections as a performer and has been in the studio for numerous Southern Gospel and Country/Bluegrass recordings.  His wife wife said it best.  "Turn it up."  "More."  "More."  "More!"  No distortion.  Nothing harsh.  Just glorious sound.  Oh.... and smiles all around.

The above said, I did have a minor tube issue right after I got it, but that's been it.  And.... Don's instructions were spot on.  But, the amp being brand new, I didn't want to chance screwing things up.  So being the selfish dog I am, I emailed him on a Friday night at I think 8PM.  He called me back within an hour and walked me through the process of putting the multi-meter on the tubes and tracking down the weak link before opening the case and swapping the blown fuse.  Again, this was a power tube issue.  Simple fix.  Had it running again within twenty minutes because Don also sent me an extra KT-88 tube.  So, as far as I'm concerned, he's covered all the bases.  (Sorry for the harassment Don)

I've kept track of the hours since I got the amp in June.  Normally I would put 15 hours a week on the amp.  However, since the first week of July, the hours I've been working have curtailed my listening time. Right now I'm averaging more like 6-8 hours per week and just passed the 50 hour mark on the amp.  Don had upgraded my line-stage, so it's essentially at the same mark.  Meanwhile everybody tells me that up to 100 hours or so, it will only get better.  Hard to believe.  What's not hard is me saying I wouldn't hesitate to buy another amp or pre from Don or to recommend him to someone looking for a great amp/preamp. 

Once I get past 120 or so hours, I'll be posting in more detail.

J
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 23 Aug 2017, 02:23 am
@ Blueone302

Thanks for the update! I'm looking forward to a new level of refinement, clarity, sound-staging and musicality :)

Wig
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 1 Sep 2017, 04:54 am
Hi, Wig.

I've been doing a pretty decent job of not getting wildly excited knowing that my Kootenay120 will be finished THIS MONTH  :drool:.....but every time someone posts to this thread a PULSE of electricity ZAPS my brain creating ANTICIPATION.  :banghead:

It may take me an hour before I can chill out enough to sleep tonight.  :lol:

Post away. It'll be my turn again before too long. :thumb:

Michael
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: deadhead on 2 Sep 2017, 12:03 am
I spoke with Don today. Power amp is getting a new set of tubes and will be shipped next week.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 2 Sep 2017, 02:43 am
I spoke with Don today. Power amp is getting a new set of tubes and will be shipped next week.

Christmas in September :)

Wig
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: sabciu on 2 Sep 2017, 07:12 pm
I spoke with Don today. Power amp is getting a new set of tubes and will be shipped next week.

Great!! Let the listening begin!!   :D
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 8 Sep 2017, 05:34 am
Just got my D'Sach's model 2 from a fellow AC member the unit came in good condition , it looks beautiful !!! hooked it up this evening
(WAF) needs to sleep to will try run it through the paces over the week-end , my concern was that the 1uf Jupiter capacitors may not drive (Bass)my SS Odyssey Kismet , but to my surprise I did get Bass pretty accurate not boomy at all IC are Gronenberg Quatro Ref: with WBT and Audio Zen and Zu audio missions (sliver over copper) power cord is Don's  recommendation Ice age  audio Cyro copper, also own a Schiit Gungnir, which I prefer to you with my headphone amp. and LCD 2 headphones.
(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=168243)

A_shah


 
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 8 Sep 2017, 05:46 am
Awesome!

That one is nearly identical to mine, so I know it sounds amazing.

Enjoy!

Michael
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 8 Sep 2017, 05:54 am
Awesome!

That one is nearly identical to mine, so I know it sounds amazing.

Enjoy!

Michael
Thank you !
(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=168244)

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=168245)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 9 Sep 2017, 12:31 am
Thank you !
(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=168244)

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=168245)

Awesome and I know you are eager to do some listening :)

Wig
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: sabciu on 9 Sep 2017, 12:39 am
Thank you !
(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=168244)

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=168245)

Looks great!!! Let us know how it's passes the listening test. I'm hoping to see mine next week :thumb:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: gregfisk on 9 Sep 2017, 01:08 am
Congratulations! I had the opportunity to listen to Michael's Pre and you are in for a real treat :thumb:

On a side note, I really like your coffee table!

Greg
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 9 Sep 2017, 01:13 am
Congratulations! I had the opportunity to listen to Michael's Pre and you are in for a real treat :thumb:

On a side note, I really like your coffee table!

Greg

Ditto on the coffee table compliment!

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: rickmusicman on 9 Sep 2017, 02:14 am
A_Shah,  Glad yo got your preamp! You will enjoy it, mine is sounding great. Let me know howyou like it.

Rick 
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 9 Sep 2017, 02:34 am
Ditto on the coffee table compliment!
Thank you gentlemen the "compliments" for the coffee table goes to the Wife ! I will pass it on !
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Emilio on 9 Sep 2017, 05:49 pm
Hello everyone. I would like to share with you my amazing Don Sachs model 1 preamp. It is in black metal case with a pair of 1 uF Jupiter caps and pair of cv181z tubes. The rest of my system:

Bob Latino's M-125 monoblocks amplifier
Vpi Nomad turntable with 2M blue Ortofon cartridge
Samsung Blu ray player
A pair of Boston Acoustics  VR-965's speakers



(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=168357)

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 9 Sep 2017, 05:57 pm
Hi, Emilio.

That's a great system you've got.

I've often wondered about the M125 mono amps and how my 83.5 dB Fritz LS/5-R monitors might sound together. I'm all thumbs and dare not attempt the kit.

I'm pretty certain I've never heard the VR-965s. Can you describe their sound?

Michael
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Emilio on 9 Sep 2017, 06:14 pm
Hi, Emilio.

That's a great system you've got.

I've often wondered about the M125 mono amps and how my 83.5 dB Fritz LS/5-R monitors might sound together. I'm all thumbs and dare not attempt the kit.

I'm pretty certain I've never heard the VR-965s. Can you describe their sound?

Michael


Thanks Michael. The Boston Acoustics VR-965's is a 3 way speaker with a frequency response of 29-20kHz with a 90 dB sensitivity. Very warm and natural sounding speakers. A great match with tubes. I bought the monoblocks assembled. Easier that way :D
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 9 Sep 2017, 06:15 pm
Emilio,

That's a nice set-up you have and Boston Acoustics started my HI-FI journey!

Wig :)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: I.Greyhound Fan on 9 Sep 2017, 08:28 pm
Has any one compared this preamp to other preamps like an ARC LS27, some of the newer Conrad Johnson or BAT tube preamps?

I am thinking of making a major change in my system and selling my BAT VK-51se preamp and Magnepan 1.6's.  I have considered this preamp last year and talked with Don.  I am considering PSB T2, T3 speakers along with Harbeth and Sonus Faber Venere S speakers.  My current amp is a Pass X250.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Emilio on 9 Sep 2017, 08:40 pm
Emilio,

That's a nice set-up you have and Boston Acoustics started my HI-FI journey!

Wig :)

Thanks Wig. Don't you just love the sound of Boston Acoustics? I had a Magnepan 1.7's for a while but came back to the VR-965's.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 10 Sep 2017, 01:32 am
Hello everyone. I would like to share with you my amazing Don Sachs model 1 preamp. It is in black metal case with a pair of 1 uF Jupiter caps and pair of cv181z tubes. The rest of my system:

Bob Latino's M-125 monoblocks amplifier
Vpi Nomad turntable with 2M blue Ortofon cartridge
Samsung Blu ray player
A pair of Boston Acoustics  VR-965's speakers

Emillio,
that looks GR8 specially those Bob Latino M-125  MonoBlocks , I have 2 sets of  back up speakers as Kef LS 50 W wireless  in my home office and passive LS 50 in my 2ndry system in the same room  powered by Parasound Halo , (HINT) , Master bedroom has a pair of Audioengine HD 6 in Walnut (WAF) I just wanted flat panels lived with floor Energy Box Speakers for years, maybe I will try the Daedulus or Wislon Audio Sasha or Sabrina  in a year or two I have heard the top of the line Wilsons and Kef Blade one & two but I guess my ears like the sound of Flat panels
what is the difference between DS-1 and DS 2 ?
Asghar


(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=168357)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: sabciu on 10 Sep 2017, 01:44 am
Hello everyone. I would like to share with you my amazing Don Sachs model 1 preamp. It is in black metal case with a pair of 1 uF Jupiter caps and pair of cv181z tubes. The rest of my system:

Bob Latino's M-125 monoblocks amplifier
Vpi Nomad turntable with 2M blue Ortofon cartridge
Samsung Blu ray player
A pair of Boston Acoustics  VR-965's speakers

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=168357)

Looks like we have something in common!! I am also running a pair of Bob's M-125's and will hopefully be receiving Don's Pre next week! :thumb: He just sent me Pics and advised that it's currently playing music! I'll post some pics of my set-up once I get Don's Pre hooked up. I ordered mine with a single pair of the CV181-Z tubes, but am considering on also trying a pair of Psvane CV181-T Mark II's in it as well. Can't wait to hear this thing!! :P
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Emilio on 10 Sep 2017, 02:35 am
Thank you Asghar and sabciu. I think the difference between  model 1&2 is the case. 1 uses metal and 2 uses wood.

Sabciu, you won't regret this preamp. It is amazing. You will hear all the details and give you goose bumps.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: rickmusicman on 10 Sep 2017, 02:55 am
I just received my Don Sachs Model 2 in a black case. Don's preamp can be built in either a black case or wood. That is what makes having Don build for you, it is custom depending on what you want. I tried to include a picture, but not successful.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 11 Sep 2017, 12:00 am
 @Rick
try switching the rectifier tube with the regular 6AX5GT that comes with the pre , see if helps with the bass when I switched the tube I found  noticeably big increase in the Bass frequencies, Like I said I am pretty much satisfied with the Bass I am getting right now it seems to roll of between 40- 45 HZ
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: sabciu on 11 Sep 2017, 02:25 am
I just received my Don Sachs Model 2 in a black case. Don's preamp can be built in either a black case or wood. That is what makes having Don build for you, it is custom depending on what you want. I tried to include a picture, but not successful.

Nice!! Let us know your first impressions  :thumb:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 15 Sep 2017, 02:31 am
Guys,

How's the units settling in?

Wig :)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: sabciu on 15 Sep 2017, 02:46 am
Guys,

How's the units settling in?

Wig :)

Unfortunately I'm still waiting on mine  :? . According to UPS Tracker, I should receive it Tuesday. I'll share my impressions once I've had ample listening time.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 15 Sep 2017, 06:52 am
Guys,

How's the units settling in?

Wig :)

Give me one more week and I will tell you , been listening to all kinds of music  however , I had a bit of an issue with tube Microphonics , I realize one should not put tube Amps. with other  amps on the same rack but have a decent quality Pangea rack and this pre-amp sits on the top shelf pretty isolated from rest of the gear and even in  the back all wires have gaps for isolation, however whenever I would touch the wooden  portion of the table  I
would get microphonics, so I switched tubes from the front to the back and changed the rectifier tube Bendix 5852 ( got 2 of  them from flea bay) the "hum" really got bad so I switched back the tubes and it suddenly quieted down no more issues for the time being

Listening tests :Well used the Oppo 203 UHD  with PS audio " One Sonoma Master Series both in PCM and SACD version,( the power - amp is still Odyssey Kismet) also Boston Symphony Orchestra test DVD that I got from Hsu Research with my subwoofer "Saint -Salens: organ Symphony from 2nd movement (Poco adagio ) this record has the strongest cleanest 16Hz that I have listened to plus Kef had sent me a
Tchaikovsky Swan lake (Dolby/Atmos) blue ray DVD I listen to it in two channel mode , Tidal , Spotify, some HiRez from Blue Coast recording , I am getting" mixed results" at least to my ears , I don't claim to have "Golden Ears" but my hearing and ears are pretty good. sometimes flat, some time better room ambiance depending on the source , the Bass that I get from my Jupiter 1 Uf caps is adequate ! not boomy or shrill just about right, clarity is pretty good even with Vimeo and Youtube Video's , that is my personal take so far ! the other pre-amps I have listened to are Candela, Tubes4Hifi VTA -SP 14 , Prema Luna Dialogue, Pre-amp portion of Parasound Halo Integrated,( Very Very Good) and my headphone Class A amp Audeze Deckard as a preamp with Schiit Gungnir as a DAC

 
it

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: deadhead on 15 Sep 2017, 10:57 am
Power amp showed up yesterday.  I'm going to unpack it this morning and get it going.  I'll post impressions and pictures after it's gotten a chance to play for a bit.

I feel like a little kid again!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 15 Sep 2017, 07:10 pm
A_shah,

Here's the place you want to go for outstanding knowledge and NOS tubes; you'll have to call and where I buy some of my tube and Tung-Sol Rectifiers

http://vintagetubeservices.com/

Wig

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 15 Sep 2017, 07:12 pm
Power amp showed up yesterday.  I'm going to unpack it this morning and get it going.  I'll post impressions and pictures after it's gotten a chance to play for a bit.

I feel like a little kid again!

I know exactly what you mean and I'm feeling like a kid waiting to see your pics!

Enjoy,
Wig
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 15 Sep 2017, 07:30 pm
A_shah,

Here's the place you want to go for outstanding knowledge and NOS tubes; you'll have to call and where I buy some of my tube and Tung-Sol Rectifiers

http://vintagetubeservices.com/

Wig
thank you
A_shah
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 15 Sep 2017, 07:39 pm
Power amp showed up yesterday.  I'm going to unpack it this morning and get it going.  I'll post impressions and pictures after it's gotten a chance to play for a bit.

I feel like a little kid again!
plus 1  :thumb:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 23 Sep 2017, 07:40 pm
I can imagine those caps are starting to form resulting in more palpability, dynamics, sound-stage, imaging, tone and overall coherence. :)

Wig
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 23 Sep 2017, 08:51 pm
I expect to have my Kootenay120 in two weeks, but I won't have a DAC/pre to drive it. Perhaps I could rent one from Echo, Stereotypes, Pearl, or Fred's in Portland.

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 23 Sep 2017, 09:36 pm
I expect to have my Kootenay120 in two weeks, but I won't have a DAC/pre to drive it. Perhaps I could rent one from Echo, Stereotypes, Pearl, or Fred's in Portland.

That's good news and hopefully you'll find a temporary pre to use to run your Kootenay 120 in; Now you're going to wonder every time a small package truck comes by if my equipment is on that truck... :)

Wig
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 23 Sep 2017, 09:39 pm
Are any of you planning on adding Synergistic Research New Blue Fuses to your equipment? Very noticeable improvements on every piece of equipment that I have used them in.

Wig :)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 24 Sep 2017, 04:50 am
Are any of you planning on adding Synergistic Research New Blue Fuses to your equipment? Very noticeable improvements on every piece of equipment that I have used them in.

Wig :)
I just added a Hi-Fi tuning 1 amp. classic gold fuse .  got it at a discount from Parts Connexion to the D-S -2 can't tell much of a difference I guess it is not in the signal path. I do have SR 20 Blacks in Magnipan 1.7i speakers and they definitely made a huge difference , but I can tell you what really made a big difference to my listening experience lately  Silver IC  cables from Bicon from  Hungry  ! www.bicon-silver-cable.hu/en
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 24 Sep 2017, 05:45 am
I just added a Hi-Fi tuning 1 amp. classic gold fuse .  got it at a discount from Parts Connexion to the D-S -2 can't tell much of a difference I guess it is not in the signal path. I do have SR 20 Blacks in Magnipan 1.7i speakers and they definitely made a huge difference , but I can tell you what really made a big difference to my listening experience lately  Silver IC  cables from Bicon from  Hungry  ! www.bicon-silver-cable.hu/en

Good to know and it's probably due to the tube rectification and maybe the amp will yield good results... Those cable are very reasonably priced as well.

Wig
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 5 Oct 2017, 04:53 am
Ah !, after 3 weeks of intense listening , I finally sent my DS-2 to Don for I guess, What  I would call  a "make over with his( Don's) latest thinking and standard" . I am assuming it will come back souped up for listening hopefully to the  next level.
So what was my take on the 3 weeks with this  pre-amp  ?
I can confidently say that this Pre-amp is certainly worth it . today I was listening to my system without this pre-amp I seem to have lost the 3 Dimensionality and the wide sound stage that @mresseguie mentions in his post on the Pre-amp " "soundstage was 8 feet tall open window 8' to 10' feet from the musician" layering of music , certainly I found emotional connections to the voices and musical instruments ! I like a system that "surprises" me ! Like,  for instant a phone rings on a TV show and one thinks it is my phone ringing in other words "accuracy" my present system is no slouch !  it has cost me a pretty penny ! but this pre-amp did take it to the next level ( to my surprise !)   
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 3 Nov 2017, 06:24 am
Yesterday I finally got back my upgraded DS- 2 from Don , the new upgrades had a pair of extra output Caps bypassed by Teflon (yellow ones in the picture) complete rewiring of the board with Duelund 20 awg wiring and newer power supply caps.
So what is the  verdict ? Wow ! without any exaggeration and hype, truly Don is an artist ! right off the bat I could hear the difference, it was an epiphany moment for me , just amazing wide Soundstage , vocals were so real and music so crisp I felt I was at an audio show with a treated room and very expensive audio gear.
within 5 minutes, I knew it was well worth it 
So I thought I should post some pictures of before and after
(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=170682)

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=170683)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 3 Nov 2017, 06:32 am
Ashgar,


Awesome! I know exactly how you feel. Enjoy it....

My Kootenay 120 amp will arrive November 7. The wait may kill me.  :o :tempted:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 3 Nov 2017, 05:31 pm
Asghar,

Outstanding and it's going to get even better! I'm excited as well and still have more time for both DS-2 Tube Pre and DS Kootenay KT 88 to be delivered; I'm already having system withdrawals but know my wait is going to be rewarded...

Wig  :thumb:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: screener on 3 Nov 2017, 11:07 pm
Asghar,

My experience with both pieces is that after numerous hours of listening your next step is going to be cabling, power cords, and tubes. All of these can take your system to another level. I pushed it to a darker and quieter background with great extension and accuracy.

Enjoy,
Kim

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: DavidS on 4 Nov 2017, 02:44 am
would be interested in hearing what you have done with cables, tubes to get darker quiet background Kim.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 4 Nov 2017, 06:27 am
Asghar,

My experience with both pieces is that after numerous hours of listening your next step is going to be cabling, power cords, and tubes. All of these can take your system to another level. I pushed it to a darker and quieter background with great extension and accuracy.

Enjoy,
Kim

Michael, Ron , Kim Thank you gentlemen . :thankyou:
Kim
which cables,? power cord and Valves   would you recommend ?  , already have substantial investment in cables USB  cables are both stranded and solid silver but willing to spend if necessary , have mogami, Kimber, Gorenberg, Acoustic Zen cables, Zu audio  IC , power cords are Pangea's  and Ice age copper cable plus Oyaida, the outlet plugs are all PS Audio Power ports, semi dedicated  circuit , Adcom 100 Line conditioner (and Solar panels with a very quite ABB inverter. )
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 4 Nov 2017, 11:16 am
I placed my order for the DS-2 on September 24th. Here is what I ordered:

D Sachs Model 2 preamp with 64 step Khozmo remote attenuator
Walnut case upgrade
XLR input upgrade (1 input)
2 cv181z tubes
Upgrade to 2 uF AudioCap Theta capacitors bypassed by Teflon capacitors
Audyn film capacitors for the power supply
Tape Monitor Loop delete

The XLR input plus one RCA input use Duelund wire.

I should have it before Christmas!

I am going to use this with a Pioneer M-22 30 watt all Class A power amp and Tekton Double Impact speakers.

Does anyone here have a configuration with the AudioCap Theta caps bypassed by the Teflon caps? Don is real high on this setup and thinks it sounds better than even the Duelund caps. I believe Don as he should know as well as anyone should. I am just curious how this setup is sounding out in the wild and what people think of it.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: screener on 4 Nov 2017, 12:16 pm
It took numerous hours of switching between different cables, tubes and power cords. My combination isn't the end all but for what I had on hand to work with got me this deep into it. I'm sure there are other combinations available that can work. If you have some extra tubes, cabling, tube dampers and power cords maybe you might hear something you like.

This is what I ended with from my stock on hand.
10 gauge cryo treated  power cords, RCA silver wire interconnects.
Amp - Reissue Gold Lion KT-88 with Dons stock Shuguang Black Treasure CV181z. The Lions took it a little deeper in my system.
Line stage. 4 - NOS 1952 Sylvania (bad boy 3 hole rivet) I do like the Shuguang Black Treasure CV181z but the Sylvania edge them out on clarity. A little faster.
Modwright Sony 5400 - 6SN7GT TungSol black oval (round) plates, black glass. I tried these in the line stage and found them to be over the top.

Enjoy,
Kim

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 4 Nov 2017, 04:25 pm
I placed my order for the DS-2 on September 24th. Here is what I ordered:

D Sachs Model 2 preamp with 64 step Khozmo remote attenuator
Walnut case upgrade
XLR input upgrade (1 input)
2 cv181z tubes
Upgrade to 2 uF AudioCap Theta capacitors bypassed by Teflon capacitors
Audyn film capacitors for the power supply
Tape Monitor Loop delete


The XLR input plus one RCA input use Duelund wire.

I should have it before Christmas!

I am going to use this with a Pioneer M-22 30 watt all Class A power amp and Tekton Double Impact speakers.

Does anyone here have a configuration with the AudioCap Theta caps bypassed by the Teflon caps? Don is real high on this setup and thinks it sounds better than even the Duelund caps. I believe Don as he should know as well as anyone should. I am just curious how this setup is sounding out in the wild and what people think of it.

Thanks!


If you look at the pictures I have posted , you will see one output set is Jupiter 1.uf and the 2nd output is powered by 3.uf  audiocap theta caps bypassed by teflon Russian capacitors , this combo according to Don brings the unit flat to 20HZ. it will take about 50 to a 100 hours for the caps to open up, but I already notice deeper Bass , better imaging and cleaner highs in my SS system , the magni 1.7i are pretty accurate speakers if properly placed , they can be unforgiving to bad recordings I also have Kef LS 50( considered to be very accurate by most reviewers   attached to a Parasound Halo , I try to A/B them with the same recording, I don't seem to find much of a difference  .
My unit came with the XLR and Tape Monitor inputs and outputs before the upgrade, the outs can be used with my Audeze Deckard Headphone amp as the headphone amp has a volume control  and the LCD-X to give me another prospective on sound quality
the Jupiter caps on the 1st output will drive down my HSu VTF 15 MK11 subwoofer to 47K , which is good enough for me , I use this sub only to compliment the flat panel Maggie's , this whole combination is very sweet sounding to my ears. Hope that helps
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 4 Nov 2017, 05:41 pm
I will also try an assortment of NOS tubes I have on hand after the units have fully burned in and will use these KT88s to start with: Gold Voice, Psvane TII and at some point the Sophia Electric Coke Bottles.  I've used GL in a previous KT88 amp and they were reliable with good sound quality but a much warmer presentation. But when it comes to tubes, it's all system dependent and tailored to the listeners preferences.

I'm using a Sophia Aqua 274B rectifier in my Modwright 9.0 Tube power supply and it smoked all of my NOS tubes; No Contest! Also, in regards to cabling I've owned IC, PC and SC in excess of $3K ea. and I can tell you that the Deulund DCA 20Ga IC and DCA 16Ga SC ($350 total) bare wire are phenomenal as well as Nanotec #308 and Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme PC...

@screener

Have you done any experimenting with ultra-linear and triode switches? Just curious what you have experienced.

Wig

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Whitestix on 4 Nov 2017, 08:44 pm
Speed Racer
You have the top-of-the-line version of Don's preamp and are sure to be delighted with it.  Paired with a Pass Labs First Watt F5, my Spatial Audio speakers have never sound so fantastic.  I doubt you could find similar magic in a preamp without spending 2X-3X the amount of money as you paid for Don's masterpiece.  Happy listening!   Whitestix
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: deadhead on 4 Nov 2017, 10:00 pm
All this chatter is making me nuts.  I ordered my pre amp on August 10th.  I should be taking delivery before the month is out.  Can't wait!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 4 Nov 2017, 11:48 pm
If you look at the pictures I have posted , you will see one output set is Jupiter 1.uf and the 2nd output is powered by 3.uf  audiocap theta caps bypassed by teflon Russian capacitors , this combo according to Don brings the unit flat to 20HZ. it will take about 50 to a 100 hours for the caps to open up, but I already notice deeper Bass , better imaging and cleaner highs in my SS system , the magni 1.7i are pretty accurate speakers if properly placed , they can be unforgiving to bad recordings I also have Kef LS 50( considered to be very accurate by most reviewers   attached to a Parasound Halo , I try to A/B them with the same recording, I don't seem to find much of a difference  .
My unit came with the XLR and Tape Monitor inputs and outputs before the upgrade, the outs can be used with my Audeze Deckard Headphone amp as the headphone amp has a volume control  and the LCD-X to give me another prospective on sound quality
the Jupiter caps on the 1st output will drive down my HSu VTF 15 MK11 subwoofer to 47K , which is good enough for me , I use this sub only to compliment the flat panel Maggie's , this whole combination is very sweet sounding to my ears. Hope that helps

Yes, I saw those photos but I was not sure what I was looking at. Thanks for the feedback. Don made me aware of the 100 hour burn-in for the Theta caps.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 5 Nov 2017, 12:00 am
Speed Racer
You have the top-of-the-line version of Don's preamp and are sure to be delighted with it.  Paired with a Pass Labs First Watt F5, my Spatial Audio speakers have never sound so fantastic.  I doubt you could find similar magic in a preamp without spending 2X-3X the amount of money as you paid for Don's masterpiece.  Happy listening!   Whitestix

Thanks for the feedback! I ended up ordering the D Sachs Model 2 preamp because I could find nothing but glowing reviews of it and its value. There is not one bad review out there...and least not that I have seen.

I have a Schiit Audio Freya preamp now and I can't wait to get Don's to compare the two. Both use four 6SN7 tubes but the Freya does not use a rectifier tube. I already picked up a couple of Bendix 5852 rectifier tubes and have a nice supply of quality 40's and 50's 6SN7 tubes. Don is real high on the cv181z tubes. I will certainly give them a shot and compare them to my favorite 6SN7 tubes.

I've heard a First Watt F5 and the Pioneer M-22 sounds similar. There is already a little bug in my head making me think about Don's KT88 amp. I must resist....

I have not heard the Spatial Audio speakers but was considering them before I bought the Tekton Double Impact speakers. Have you heard the Double Impact speakers?
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: MarkR7 on 5 Nov 2017, 12:03 am
Folks, does anyone have any meaningful comparisons of Don's preamp to a either a Backert Rhumba line stage (12au7-based) or the Coincident Statement line stage (which uses 101D DHT tubes). I'd love to know how these compare! 
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: screener on 5 Nov 2017, 05:44 pm
@screener

Have you done any experimenting with ultra-linear and triode switches? Just curious what you have experienced.

Wig,

I have listened to both and my conclusion is 90% of what most say between each mode. Try each and decide. Triode has been my choice for the past month.

Enjoy.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: GregC on 5 Nov 2017, 07:20 pm
Folks, does anyone have any meaningful comparisons of Don's preamp to a either a Backert Rhumba line stage (12au7-based) or the Coincident Statement line stage (which uses 101D DHT tubes). I'd love to know how these compare!

The one thing the Backert Rhumba 1.2 has is a HT bypass (Don can add one), and the Rhumba 1.2 is polarity correct for both the preamp and HT bypass.  Don's preamp would have HT bypass polarity correct and the preamp output would be inverted. 

I would also love to hear about the differences in terms of pure sound quality.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 9 Nov 2017, 07:48 am
[OT sort of]

This requires a new thread, but I've got my D Sachs KT88 Kootenay 120 (arrived 29 hours ago) powering my Daedalus Apollos with a Nuprime DAC-9 and Mac/Tidal for source...

If I typed HOLY SHIT twenty times, you still couldn't guess how awesome this sounds.

My wife is finally convinced I'm on drugs or need to be committed. Can you believe she wants me to get a good night's rest?

Descriptions and more in depth thoughts will have to wait until tomorrow....

If you've ordered one of these and are feeling pangs of "Is this the right decision?", don't worry. You are in for a treat.  :banana piano: :beer: :wine:

:dance:

Michael

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 9 Nov 2017, 06:39 pm
Two items I'd like to mention:

1)  In past weeks I've mentioned my intention of shipping my Apollos to Taiwan because that was going to become our permanent home with temporary visits to N. America. Due to my mother's health issues, a major shift in our thinking has occurred. We're still going to sell our home in Oregon, but now we will relocate to Vancouver, WA. Tis will be our permanent home with visits to Taiwan. The Apollos will remain in the US for the foreseeable future.

2)  This new Kootenay 120 is an astonishingly great amp. It sounds so incredible powering the Apollos that I just last night began considering not taking it to Taiwan.  :duh: I so want to keep it with the Apollos. I even spoke with my wife about this idea.  :o Yeah. I know. Any head shrinks or addiction counselors in the audience?  :roll:

3)  What the hell am I going to do with my Model 2?? Drag it back in January, or keep it in Taiwan?  :banghead:

Go ahead. Give me hell. I'd rather come clean now than have someone point out inconsistencies in a couple weeks.

Michael
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: richidoo on 9 Nov 2017, 06:51 pm
Congrats on the new system! Sounds delightful!

What is this Kootenay 120? Please post a picture of when you get a chance.
Thanks!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 9 Nov 2017, 07:02 pm
Congrats on the new system! Sounds delightful!

What is this Kootenay 120? Please post a picture of when you get a chance.
Thanks!

The Kootenay 120 is the KT88 amp that Don Sachs has recently begun selling. Pics coming....


(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=171120)


(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=171121)


(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=171122)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 9 Nov 2017, 07:49 pm
Michael,

What a stunning sight! Did the Psvane TII (middle tube) add a level of clarity over the CV 181? Let me know what you think of those triode switches especially with very efficient and wonderful sounding loudspeakers after some time has passed.

Thanks,
Wig
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 9 Nov 2017, 08:58 pm
Michael,
Hope your Mom gets to feel better, our prayers are with you, and your family.
God Bless !

This looks beautiful ! Congratulations ! , What kind of  RCA input connectors does Don use ? are they WBT ? also does this have XLR ? (True Balanced ? )
Question ?
 you say in one of your posts you don't know if you are going to bring back the DS 2 back to state side , in that case are you just going to use Nu-prime with all that expensive gear ? but isn't their synergy between the DS-2 and the K. 120 ?

OK just one more thing  !
just picked up a PS Audio Directstream DAC brand new from TMAudio  today just because  the price was right !: :wink:
Should be here in a couple of days , ( Wife does not know that yet , I will wait to be yelled at when it comes in  :( but than She is a Good Gal she gets over it after after a while.

So now my question is Do I go DAC >power AMP (with Directstream it has Volume control Paul McGowan says that is they way he likes it ) or should I go  Source>DAC>DS2> PowerAmp.
 Any feed back would be greatly appreciated
I tried doing that with my Schiit Gungnir in the Chain but I seem to like the SQ better without the DAC !
Asghar
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: JackD on 9 Nov 2017, 09:47 pm
Asghar

Paul has changed his position on the going directly from the DAC to the amp once the BHK preamp was created.  I would stick with using the DS-2 between the DAC and the amp.  The two Nuprime units have separate Analog preamp circuits unlike the DirectStream.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 9 Nov 2017, 10:28 pm
Asghar

Paul has changed his position on the going directly from the DAC to the amp once the BHK preamp was created.  I would stick with using the DS-2 between the DAC and the amp.  The two Nuprime units have separate Analog preamp circuits unlike the DirectStream.


Thank you !
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 9 Nov 2017, 10:35 pm
The Kootenay 120 is the KT88 amp that Don Sachs has recently begun selling. Pics coming....


(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=171120)


(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=171121)


(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=171122)

Can't wait and mines are going to look just like yours...:)

Wig
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 10 Nov 2017, 12:07 am
I want one of those amps!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: richidoo on 10 Nov 2017, 01:27 am
The Kootenay 120 is the KT88 amp that Don Sachs has recently begun selling. Pics coming....

Ah, I see. I didn't know that's what it is called. I was thinking maybe he had another amp using KT120s.
Thanks for the pics Michael!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 10 Nov 2017, 05:33 am
It's going to sound even better after those Caps form and settle within the next 150+ hours and it's really going to be magical... Don has created a masterpiece.

Wig
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 10 Nov 2017, 05:55 am
Michael,

What a stunning sight! Did the Psvane TII (middle tube) add a level of clarity over the CV 181? Let me know what you


Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 10 Nov 2017, 06:05 am
Ashgar,

That's wild.

Noobie question - What's special about this DAC? I see the name mentioned in forums, but I haven't paid attention to it because of (what I thought was) the high price. At $3200 it's in the range of what I've been considering recently.

Oh, I agree with what JackD said about wanting to use a preamp. A DAC/pre is very convenient, but my experience informs me that soundstage is superior and dynamics are ...more dynamic (LOL!) when you add a high quality preamp into the system. Without my prompting, Don (Sachs) emailed me after he saw my posts about the amp and DAC today saying that everything will sound much better with my preamp added back in.

Michael
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 10 Nov 2017, 06:11 am
Michael,

What a stunning sight! Did the Psvane TII (middle tube) add a level of clarity over the CV 181? Let me know what you think of those triode switches especially with very efficient and wonderful sounding loudspeakers after some time has passed.

Thanks,
Wig

Wig,

These are the tubes that Don supplied me with. I've made no comparisons yet. I won't have time for that until February at the earliest. Oh, I tried triode mode for a couple songs earlier, but I'm not sure what to listen for. I'll need time and repetition of songs before I can form an opinion, I suspect.

I'm going to be bummin' in about 10 hours when I have to box everything up to load into my vehicle. I won't hear them again till February! Why do I do this to myself?  :scratch:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 10 Nov 2017, 06:28 am
Michael,

I know it's going to be tough for sure not hearing those beauties but get some rest and happy/safe travel my friend. :) I should have mine by then and will be fully burn-in by the time your Sach's equipment is added back into your system ;)

Wig
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 10 Nov 2017, 07:37 am
Ashgar,

That's wild.

Noobie question - What's special about this DAC? I see the name mentioned in forums, but I haven't paid attention to it because of (what I thought was) the high price. At $3200 it's in the range of what I've been considering recently.

Oh, I agree with what JackD said about wanting to use a preamp. A DAC/pre is very convenient, but my experience informs me that soundstage is superior and dynamics are ...more dynamic (LOL!) when you add a high quality preamp into the system. Without my prompting, Don (Sachs) emailed me after he saw my posts about the amp and DAC today saying that everything will sound much better with my preamp added back in.

Michael
Michael,
Thanks for the feed back ! this  PS audio Directstream DAC can play  the DSD natively , very low noise floor , supposedly" jitter free" as per it's inventor Ted smith  and is supposed to be the closest thing to Vinyl, analog  sound , it is a FPGA DAC , I have listened to a Chord DAVE with a Woo Audio WA-6 SE headphone amp. but that DAC is $ 10,000 and ugly , PS audio Directstream DAC  has GR8 reviews ! it can be updated via software updates Via a SD card or internet, PS Audio updates it's software every 6 to 8 months and the DAC sounds different as if it a new DAC will play MQA , Tidal  DSD with a  optional Bridge card installed ,( another $ 500. bucks !) it use to sell for $ 5999. new ! but I found out  lately it was been discounted to 3k to 3.2 k ( which is what I paid ) I really don't know if I need it ! but I have 30 days to make up my mind , if I like it of course I will keep it lets see .I should have it next Wensday the 14th.
We would love for you to make a short YouTube video even with a iphone ! to see how your Apollo's sound with the the KT-88 and DS-2, just read some reviews on Nu prime DAC 9 , seems to be a good DAC.

Asghar
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 11 Nov 2017, 09:50 pm
Michael,

I would definitely keep both DS 2 and Kootenay 120 mated with your Apollo's, synergy for sure...

Wig
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review/PS AudioDirect Stream DAC
Post by: A_shah on 15 Nov 2017, 05:52 am
Hello Folks !
got my New PS Audio DirectStream DAC ,First impressions are Certainly WOW ! I have heard a Chord DAVE with headphones (I guess not a good Comparison) at an audio show ,  Schiit Yggdrasil (with head phones) I own a Gungnir which is attached to my HP Amp and LCD -X
 Gungnir, did nothing !!  when I attached to my main system , as a matter of fact  I preferred to listen to my music sources without it.
But this PS audioStream DAC is in a different league all together ! it sounds absolutely Gorgeous just as a  DAC/Preamp direct to my SS Kismet amplifier,  and Sounds slightly Different in Sonic quality with DS-2 Preamp but still absolutely wonderful non fatiguing ! it has both low level & High level gain , dead quite , balanced and single-ended outputs , was not able to play with the DS-2 XLR's but with RCA's it was fine (will work on it tomorrow morning
(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=171356)

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=171357)
 morning  I guess my quest for a DAC is over for now.
     
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 15 Nov 2017, 07:18 am
Congratulations, Ashgar!

That's a mighty nice looking preamp you've got there.  :thumb:

Thanks for placing the pre and the DAC side-by-side. Now I know how big the PS Audio DAC is.

Audio heaven for Ashgar!  8) 8) 8)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 18 Nov 2017, 01:17 am
Congratulations, Ashgar!

That's a mighty nice looking preamp you've got there.  :thumb:

Thanks for placing the pre and the DAC side-by-side. Now I know how big the PS Audio DAC is.

Audio heaven for Ashgar!  8) 8) 8)


Michael,
Thank you, ! Here is another picture of the DAC/Preamp/DS-2 , I have to agree I have reached,  for the time being "musical Nirvana" with this magnificent DAC/Preamplifier , I have not heard the Lampizator Atlantic or the G7 or G5 , but have heard plenty other DAC's and was not  looking for a tube DAC.(Tube DAC's all have tube gain stage ; logic part is IC and I prefer to have a decent preamp rather than a tube DAC anyway that is just my thinking ?  to my Ears I have not heard anything as musical and robust as this DAC , and  I am  completely satisfied at least for now with this Directstream sounds excellent, organic,  voices sound real !                                                                                 When plugged directly into the power  amplifier sounds  just about the same as the DS-2 maybe 8-9 % bigger soundstage with finely nuanced musically very quite , ( that is expected after after DS -2 is a tube pre-  amplifier ) I can listen to either - or and be completely happy with my system so I intend to keep it. I urge you to try and listen to one in your system PS audio allows in home trial for this unit.
The DAC does has some draw backs, it does  not have Extra inputs or out puts , but it is easily upgradeable , I just upgraded the firmware it changed the  SQ of  the DAC completely, it
(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=171487)
 sounded very different !
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: JackD on 18 Nov 2017, 01:57 am
Ashgar

There is supposed to be another new firmware upgrade coming in the next couple of weeks according to Paul.  Ted Smith has made even more improvements.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 18 Nov 2017, 03:22 am
Ashgar

There is supposed to be another new firmware upgrade coming in the next couple of weeks according to Paul.  Ted Smith has made even more improvements.

Jack ,
Did not know , will ask  Jeremy Bretey at PS audio next week and check on that ! they have excellent customer Service ! Yes I seen the Video's of TED explaining his FPGA technology in detail , I also read Jim Austins Review of Benchmark DAC 3 HGC comparing it to the Directstream  :duh: maybe with his ears and his  review hat should have compared it to the GTE Trinity  DAC , something I can't afford I would have believed him , needless to say I have heard the Benchmark DAC, sure it's good just sounds  different www.tnt-audio.com/sorgenti/trinity_tech_e.html
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: JackD on 18 Nov 2017, 03:38 am
Jim is more than a little off the rails with that review. The different chip groups definately do not sound the same.  The new firmware will be called Redcloud.  Now that you have the DS you ought to join the PS forum. 
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 18 Nov 2017, 03:46 am
Jim is more than a little off the rails with that review. The different chip groups definately do not sound the same.  The new firmware will be called Redcloud.  Now that you have the DS you ought to join the PS forum.


Jack
Thank you !  will do !    :thumb:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: tdinut on 28 Nov 2017, 10:38 pm
Hi Don,

I could not seem to find the actual number, but can you please tell me what the lowest output impedance you can achieve with your line stage?

I have several amps but I think the lowest Input Impedance on my amps is one with an Input Impedance of 10,000 ohms.

So I am curious what you'd be able to achieve via the output impedance on the preamp.

Thank you!

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 29 Nov 2017, 01:23 am
Hi Don,

I could not seem to find the actual number, but can you please tell me what the lowest output impedance you can achieve with your line stage?

I have several amps but I think the lowest Input Impedance on my amps is one with an Input Impedance of 10,000 ohms.

So I am curious what you'd be able to achieve via the output impedance on the preamp.

Thank you!

Hello, Joe.

I believe my Model 2 has Jupiter Cu 2.2 uF caps inside because my SS amp has an input impedence of 10k ohms.

I've had the Model 2 for a year now and I love it.

Michael
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 29 Nov 2017, 02:19 am
Deleted (Apparently nonsensical information)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 29 Nov 2017, 02:30 am
I have two sets of caps in my DS-2 one set is Jupiter's  i believe 1.uf that go goes down to 47K and the second set is is 3.0uf  Audiocap theta film caps & foil caps bypassed by Russian Teflon caps which according to Don brings it down to 2.3Hz technically flat down to 20HZ( their is no music below 30 Hz any way )
So for as  impedance  mismatch is concerned  ? I have had no issues with my Odyssey Kismet amplifier or my 3 DAC's that i tested the unit with  PS audio Directstream DAC,  Chord Mojo, or the Schiit Gungnir )
The 3.1 audio theta  combo caps has allowed me to disconnect my Hsu VTF-15 Mk11 Subwoofer from my two channel system , I get more than enough Bass with the DS-2 & Directstream Combo
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 29 Nov 2017, 03:01 am
Mine will have two sets of caps as well. For my Pioneer M-22 at 50,000 Ohms we will use 2.0uF Audiocap Theta caps bypassed by Russian teflon caps on one output. For the tube amp I may someday buy, another output will have .47uF Multicap RTX caps bypassed by Russian teflon caps.

That's is what Don said would sound the best so that is what I am going with!!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: dls123 on 29 Nov 2017, 03:26 am
10K ohms SS amp? Wouldn't you need 8 uF for that if you want the roll off to be good at 20 Hz?

I used this calculator:

https://www.v-cap.com/coupling-capacitor-calculator.php

...and assumed that the -3 dB point would be 2 Hz for a rolloff below 20 Hz. Using 2 uF caps means the roll off is good until 80 Hz.

HI
That cap calculator is nonsense.  They want you to assume that the LF rolloff will start at 10X the value of the -3 dB point. They want to sell you a large and expensive cap.  The reality of it is that 3 octaves is plenty and 2 octaves is really sufficient.  An octave is 2X the frequency value.  So even 3 octaves is only 8X.   If you keep the - 3 dB point below 5 Hz I seriously doubt you will hear any LF loss into your amp.  If you really want to drive a 10K load then you can go 3 uF.  Into 10K to get a 5 Hz -3dB point you need 3.185 uF of capacitance.   So 3 uF is fine.  The thing is, that besides cost, there is a tradeoff in sonic quality between values as you get a larger cap value.  More phase error, etc...  I cannot hear any difference in cap sizes up to about 3 uF.  If I put a 4.7 uF cap in I don't think it sounds quite as good.  So you are using a larger cap to avoid any rolloff at all below 20 Hz and giving up sound quality.  The reality is that there is little if any music below 25-30 Hz unless you are into electronica or Bach organ fugues.  Piano goes down to 27.5 Hz and bass about 30 Hz.  Also, most people don't have speakers that will play below 30-35Hz.   So if you use a 3 uF cap you might get a smidge of LF rolloff into 10K between 20 and 35 Hz, but your speakers and the music itself don't go down there anyway.  So you put a 4.7 uF cap in the preamp to get performance you don't need and it doesn't sound quite as good as the 2 or 3 uF cap.   

Quite frankly I never understood why on Earth a manufacturer would make ANY amp with a 10K input impedance.  There are plenty of good SS amps out there with 47K input impedance and some are 100K.  It has nothing to do with SS vs. tube.  Any tube amp I have ever seen is 80K or higher and most are 100K.   My KT88 amp is 220K.   If I am building an amp and matching preamp for a customer I use .33 uF caps.  That gives a -3 dB point of 2.2 Hz and a nice small output cap.   
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 29 Nov 2017, 03:57 am
Hello, Speedy.

I see Don's already answered your question.  :)

My specific situation with my preamp was that I have a pair of two-way monitors that play down to 43Hz. When I commissioned Don to make my preamp, I told him I wanted to be able to power a pair of subs, so one pair of outs has caps for subs and my Jupiter Cu caps are for the two-ways. I haven't bought the subs yet, but once I do, the monitors will only play down to ~100Hz or 110Hz.

When you get your preamp and allow for some burn in, come back here and tell us what you think of it. I suspect you'll be pleased.

Michael

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: JackD on 29 Nov 2017, 05:36 am
Michael

Don't you now own a pair of full range speakers that go down into the 20's?. How will that cap choice in partnership with Don's amp react to those speakers?
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 29 Nov 2017, 05:57 am
Hi, Jack.

You are correct. I do own a pair of Daedalus Apollos. They're definitely full range. Not only did they not exist when I ordered my Model 2, I hadn't planned on making such a purchase. I guess I could say that after listening to them for about three hours, I just couldn't imagine not buying them. [This is the same exact thing that I experienced while sitting in Don's living room listening to his audio system. I knew I'd be a fool to say, "Thanks for your time, but I'll just have to think about it for a while." Of course I told him I'd buy his preamp. :banana piano:] For now, the Apollos and my Kootenay 120 will remain in WA/OR. I will either buy a second Model 2 from Don (!) or a DAC/pre to power the amp.

Okay. I should say a 2nd Model 2 is a possibility. A DAC/pre is a possibility. A totally different preamp is a possibility. I have some time to make my decision. In the mean time, I will use my Nuprime DAC-9 for my preamp needs. Once I do make a decision and purchase the item(s), the DAC-9 will be used in an office system.

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 29 Nov 2017, 06:10 am
Jeez, I am sorry I responded.....
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 29 Nov 2017, 07:26 am
Speedy,

It's all good. This is a part of our education. We make assumptions and ask questions. Then, we get really good answers from folks who really know their stuff.

There are no stupid questions. We're all learning this stuff. :thumb:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: tdinut on 29 Nov 2017, 10:21 am



+1


 :beer:



Speedy,

It's all good. This is a part of our education. We make assumptions and ask questions. Then, we get really good answers from folks who really know their stuff.

There are no stupid questions. We're all learning this stuff. :thumb:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 30 Nov 2017, 07:39 am
Speedy,

It's all good. This is a part of our education. We make assumptions and ask questions. Then, we get really good answers from folks who really know their stuff.

There are no stupid questions. We're all learning this stuff. :thumb:

Michael,
OK  now I know why why DS 2 sounds that good in your system  ! it drinks Dal More , Hmm  :icon_lol: last year I picked up a 3  Kirkland 40 years ( two for me one for  the brother in Germany )which went on sale from their original price of $ 700.00 so will Ka Va LAN Soloist  go with the Apollo's ? How does it taste ? tried to find some on line but does not seem to be available , Do you know who sells it on  west coast  :violin:
(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=172083)

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=172084)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 30 Nov 2017, 08:27 am
Ashgar,

The Solist has a delicious sherry flavor thanks to its soaking in Sherry casks for a spell. I believe the Dalmore soaks in Sherry casks as well. At 59% alc it's strong stuff and I prefer to drink it with a couple ice cubes to dilute it a bit. There's also a Bourbon Solist that I have yet to try.

I buy a bottle each time I fly back to Taiwan. I get it in the Duty Free shop or on the EVA jet for approximately $95. It can be purchased in the States online for ~$150.

I saw that Kirkland 40 and wondered how it was, but I was not feeling rich enough to buy any at the time. How is it?
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 30 Nov 2017, 10:27 pm
Ashgar,

The Solist has a delicious sherry flavor thanks to its soaking in Sherry casks for a spell. I believe the Dalmore soaks in Sherry casks as well. At 59% alc it's strong stuff and I prefer to drink it with a couple ice cubes to dilute it a bit. There's also a Bourbon Solist that I have yet to try.

I buy a bottle each time I fly back to Taiwan. I get it in the Duty Free shop or on the EVA jet for approximately $95. It can be purchased in the States online for ~$150.

I saw that Kirkland 40 and wondered how it was, but I was not feeling rich enough to buy any at the time. How is it?

Michael,
I did not pay full price for the Kirkland 40 year old got two from Costco for $ 400 each and the last one for just $ 200. 00 How does it taste , a bit of a disappointment, although it is single malt from Glenlivet distillery but tasted like JW Blue label smooth , very smooth for my taste even in a chilled glass with ice rocks it tasted a bit diluted not as a robust whisky should be . I will try to order KA VA LAN today if I can find it on line , Cheers ! Have a Happy Holiday
(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=172099)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: deadhead on 30 Nov 2017, 11:07 pm
I'll continue with the thread drift.  I hope Don will forgive me.  Try wine-searcher.com, it's a scraper for the wine/liqour biz.  It's very much worth getting the Pro version as I've made up for the subscription price with one purchase.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: dls123 on 4 Dec 2017, 05:21 am
I'll continue with the thread drift.  I hope Don will forgive me.  Try wine-searcher.com, it's a scraper for the wine/liqour biz.  It's very much worth getting the Pro version as I've made up for the subscription price with one purchase.

Sure.... I have been known to have a wee dram now and then...  Also, I can cut a deadhead slack anytime:)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 5 Dec 2017, 08:15 am
This stuff is great!:

(https://cdn4.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/p-2813/ardbeg/ardbeg-uigeadail-whisky.jpg?ss=2.0)

https://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/ardbeg/ardbeg-uigeadail-whisky/
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Blueone302 on 7 Dec 2017, 09:30 pm
Good evening friends!  A bit earlier in the year I was reading the various comments regarding Don’s Model 2 pre and his Kootenay 120 KT-88 tube amp and stated that I would write a more detailed review after I got between 100-150 hours on the amp.    The goal was to do a thorough review and put it on AudioCircle under critic circle guidelines.  Problem was, I got word I was moving just two weeks before Don shipped the amp.  I spent the next month moving, setting up two offices, getting our family situated and settled in the new work situation.  Translation:  Little to no listening time.  Five months later, I’m finally catching up.  So what follows is meant as a bit of Christmas/Holiday cheer for those who just got their pre or amp.  For those who are waiting on their amp or pre....  I'm afraid you’ll have to grin and bear it.  I just pray you have more patience that I do.

I received my Model 2 Pre in early July of 2016.  I originally got the remote option, the Duelund CAST PIO-Cu’s and the Shuguang Black Treasure CV 181-Z ‘s.  After about 9 months, it went back for a bit of an upgrade.  (Pretty much everything I could get.)  Don upgraded my pre with an all film cap high voltage supply w/ 260 V transformer, the new Neotech gold/silver wire for one input and the board runs and a pair of the Duelund silver foil bypass capacitors.  Right out of the box, it sounded great and made a difference in clarity and dynamics.  At the time I had it paired with a Decware Torii Mk IV along with Turning Point Asudio/Decware's HR-1 speakers.  It made the already great Mk IV truly sing.   

It was very good.  However, in my listening room, I wanted some grunt that I felt like I was missing.  I also wanted something a bit more dynamic.  So, after more conversation with Don and a couple of talks with current Kootenay 120 amp owners, I ordered his latest iteration of the power amp.

The upgraded pre and my new Kootenay 120 arrived just prior to my move in July.  To date, my experience is that the amp is a major step up from my Decware amp.  The MK IV is a great amp.  However, Don’s amp is everything he promised and more.  BTW, when he says it will get better over those first months and 100-150 hours.  It truly will.   In nearly every category, the Don Sachs pre and amp are right up there with anything I’ve heard to date.  And I’m talking pieces that are two to three times the price. I'm convinced much of this is the synergy created between Don's pre and amp. I'm told much the same is true of Steve Deckert's amps and his ZTPRE.  I believe these gentlemen have the ear and capacity to voice their units in such a way that they complement each other.

Back to the Kootenay 120.  At the moment I’m sitting in my home office which is two rooms removed and down a 12 ft hallway from my rig listening as I work.  The distance is about 58 ft.  Even from here, with the pre set about ¾ and the volume on the amp at 28.  the clarity is astounding.  Nothing I’ve ever owned could fight all those physical barriers and sound this good.  IMHO, (and according to my ears) one would have to  spend 3-4 times the amount I have invested to even approach similar sonic characteristics. And once I’m able to do a few acoustic treatments, I believe it will get even better.

Anyway, when I get caught up, I still want to do a "real" review.  In the meantime, to all you folks who have your amp and or pre, as Don would say.... CHEERS!  To those of you who are waiting, be patient.  It will be worth it!

J

Oh, in case you're interested, after auditioning a bunch of speakers, I'm still thrilled with my HR-1's.  Can't tell you how thrilled I am with them.

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: screener on 7 Dec 2017, 11:40 pm
Blueone302,

Nice review. I agree with your observation with Dons pairing. Spectacular imaging and depth. Throw something good up front of the two and sit back and enjoy.

Definitely worth the wait.

Enjoy,
Kim
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 8 Dec 2017, 06:45 am
Thanks Blueone302!

It's a wait I'm not minding at all and know it will arrive soon.

Wig :)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 13 Dec 2017, 02:09 am
Don is starting my preamp build today!! I am getting it in a one of a kind curly maple case. The wait is almost over!!!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: tdinut on 13 Dec 2017, 02:10 am
Congratulations!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 13 Dec 2017, 05:39 am
I can attest to the wonderful sounding Shuguang  BT KT88Z, still have a quad set and was the besting sounding tube in a previous power beam amplifier and I'm looking forward on hearing the Golden Voice in the Kootenay 120 as well. Fun times coming and some sleepless nights as well...

Wig :)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 13 Dec 2017, 07:03 am
I can attest to the wonderful sounding Shuguang  BT KT88Z, still have a quad set and was the besting sounding tube in a previous power beam amplifier and I'm looking forward on hearing the Golden Voice in the Kootenay 120 as well. Fun times coming and some sleepless nights as well...

Wig :)

Ron,
How do you find the Dueland DCA 16 awg speaker wires and the Dueland DCA 20 awg  as your IC in your system  ? how would you quantify their sound ?  :violin:
Asghar
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 13 Dec 2017, 09:22 am
@A-shah,

I just bought a PS Audio DirectStream DAC with the Bridge II installed. I am going to compare it to my Yggdrasil with an UltraRendu powered by a Teddy Pardo power supply. The Bridge II and the ultraRendu will be Roon endpoints. I'll keep whichever one I end up liking better. MY hope is that the DirectStream using the Bridge II as a Roon endpoint sounds as good or better. Versus Yggdrasil plus ultraRendu, I like the fact that it supports full MQA unfolding and DSD (only DSD 64).

How do you like your DirectStream? What did you have before you got it? How does it work with the Don Sachs Model 2 preamp? Have you tried Redcloud yet?
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 13 Dec 2017, 10:30 am
Hello, Speedy!

I look forward to 'hearing' your conclusions concerning the two DACs. I've never heard either, but I've read a lot about each.

I've searched for the particular Ardbeg you mentioned earlier, but it doesn't seem to be available in Taiwan. The brand is sold here, but it's cheaper/unenticing looking . I'll look for it upon my return to the States in about 6 weeks.

Enjoy!

 
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 13 Dec 2017, 06:37 pm
Hello, Speedy!

I look forward to 'hearing' your conclusions concerning the two DACs. I've never heard either, but I've read a lot about each.

I've searched for the particular Ardbeg you mentioned earlier, but it doesn't seem to be available in Taiwan. The brand is sold here, but it's cheaper/unenticing looking . I'll look for it upon my return to the States in about 6 weeks.

Enjoy!

Speed Racer,
Since you have both the directStream and Yggdrasil you are In a better position to compare the 2 , however I have listened to Yggdrasil with headphones , and do own a Schiit Gungnir Delta Sigma DAC as well as a chord Mojo, I have heard Chord Dave , I would compare the DS stream to Dave, personally I like the DS very much otherwise I would have sent it back. It sounds more organic , more realistic , tones vocals and strings, piano acoustics  sound very real to me . Although I am using it with the DS-2  pre-amp,in the audio chain  I find the Directstream to have  a "slightly" better sound stage when used directly with the power amp.  I do not have the Bridge 11 installed but am using a separate streamer at this time , One thing good about this DAC is that it is a programable DAC, it sounds very different with each software update , although I prefer the Huron update , but at this time I am listening to the lastest Red  Cloud update . to me it does have a few draw backs, for instance, it has limited inputs and outputs. Also I find it very sensitive to power chords ? So one does need good quality power chord  and clean power with this unit , Looking forward to your take on this unit

Asghar
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 15 Dec 2017, 05:43 am
It's done!

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=172773)

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=172774)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 15 Dec 2017, 05:57 am
Asghar,

The Deulund DCA 20 & 16 Ga are a phenomenal combination at under $300 for both. I couldn't justify keeping $Ks of IC and SC after hear these Deulunds... Very detailed and organic sounding with unbelieveable musicality...

Wig

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 15 Dec 2017, 06:04 am
Speed Racer,

Looks Awesome! I'm getting excited as well and will be expecting Don's Amp and Pre in the near future.

Wig
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 15 Dec 2017, 06:15 am
Wig,

If I like Don's line stage, I could very well be ordering Don's amp soon!

Scott
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 15 Dec 2017, 09:24 am
It's done!

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=172773)

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=172774)

Congratulations ! I thought you already had the DS-2 , but yours is still in the process  I can tell you,  you will be very happy with it , I see you also two sets of capacitors one for each output , what is the uF value of the caps?
By the way  I did change the fuse on my unit to Hi-Fi tuning gold  fuse , does it make a difference ? in the beginning I thought it did make the sound a bit warm and gave it more bass , but than it could just be psychological   :dunno:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 15 Dec 2017, 09:38 am
It's done!

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=172773)

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=172774)

Speedy,

Awesome! It's a cherry cherry Christmas for you! Everyone sing! Well, I won't sing. I usually get paid to not sing. People tend to run away screaming when I start singing. I just don't understand. I've been favorably compared to a banshee. Yup. That's me.  :icon_twisted:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 15 Dec 2017, 10:21 am
Congratulations ! I thought you already had the DS-2 , but yours is still in the process  I can tell you,  you will be very happy with it , I see you also two sets of capacitors one for each output , what is the uF value of the caps?
By the way  I did change the fuse on my unit to Hi-Fi tuning gold  fuse , does it make a difference ? in the beginning I thought it did make the sound a bit warm and gave it more bass , but than it could just be psychological   :dunno:

Mine was built with one output using 2 uF AudioCap Theta capacitors bypassed by teflon capacitors for my Pioneer M-22 which has an input impedance of 50KΩ. The second output uses .47 uF Multicap RTX capacitors bypassed by teflon capacitors and is for amps with an input of 70KΩ or more like Don's tube amp.

I will probably leave fuses alone for now. I have enough new stuff to test without thinking about fuses!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 15 Dec 2017, 10:24 am
Speedy,

Awesome! It's a cherry cherry Christmas for you! Everyone sing! Well, I won't sing. I usually get paid to not sing. People tend to run away screaming when I start singing. I just don't understand. I've been favorably compared to a banshee. Yup. That's me.  :icon_twisted:

It's actually a curly maple Christmas for me! Yes, I am paid to not sing as well. Even my dog covers her ears....
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Pryso on 15 Dec 2017, 05:34 pm
Speed Racer, I see you have the autographed version.  :lol:

Maybe I should check but I don't believe mine is.  It's over a year old and maybe he wasn't signing them then?  :scratch:

But it doesn't matter, I love it anyway.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 15 Dec 2017, 05:38 pm
Speed Racer, I see you have the autographed version.  :lol:

Maybe I should check but I don't believe mine is.  It's over a year old and maybe he wasn't signing them then?  :scratch:

But it doesn't matter, I love it anyway.

Yeah. I noticed that, too. I'm jealous - but only a wee bit.  :green: I'm certain a shot of single malt will help. 8)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 15 Dec 2017, 08:02 pm
Speed Racer, I see you have the autographed version.  :lol:

Maybe I should check but I don't believe mine is.  It's over a year old and maybe he wasn't signing them then?  :scratch:

But it doesn't matter, I love it anyway.

Didn't Don tell you guys? I am getting the first and last "Signature" model ever made!!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: screener on 15 Dec 2017, 09:22 pm
Didn't Don tell you guys? I am getting the first and last "Signature" model ever made!!

Yours will sound the best. Mine just went down in value http://www.audiocircle.com/Smileys/audiocircle/icon_cry.gif.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Pryso on 16 Dec 2017, 06:20 pm
I should have said "Signature" version.  That what other companies charge extra for.  But don't get any ideas Don.  :nono:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 22 Dec 2017, 07:28 am
Asghar,

The Deulund DCA 20 & 16 Ga are a phenomenal combination at under $300 for both. I couldn't justify keeping $Ks of IC and SC after hear these Deulunds... Very detailed and organic sounding with unbelieveable musicality...

Wig

Ron,
was able to get a pair of Dueland 16 awg speaker wires (14 feet twisted pair ends were tinned ) off some one on AC , since my Don Sach's  DS 2 also has Dueland internal  wiring thought it would give it  Synergy ,  I was not expecting much as their has been a lot of hype about these wires , but guess what ! I liked them in  the first 5 minutes ( that is the time I give my system when i make any changes  ) have to agree with you,  voices are forward,  very detailed , music is a bit recessed in the background definitely very organic sounding and very musical , will leave them in my system for some times and see how they work out.
Asghar
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 22 Dec 2017, 07:43 am
Ron,
was able to get a pair of Dueland 16 awg speaker wires (14 feet twisted pair ends were tinned ) off some one on AC , since my Don Sach's  DS 2 also has Dueland internal  wiring thought it would give it  Synergy ,  I was not expecting much as their has been a lot of hype about these wires , but guess what ! I liked them in  the first 5 minutes ( that is the time I give my system when i make any changes  ) have to agree with you,  voices are forward,  very detailed , music is a bit recessed in the background definitely very organic sounding and very musical , will leave them in my system for some times and see how they work out.
Asghar

Asghar,

That's awesome and think you will like them ever more as they settle in over the next 30+ hours.

Wig
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 22 Dec 2017, 09:39 pm
Asghar,

How's the Dac sounding in your system and I imagine your DS2 is almost burned-in?

Thanks,
Wig
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 27 Dec 2017, 09:17 am
Asghar,

How's the Dac sounding in your system and I imagine your DS2 is almost burned-in?

Thanks,
Wig
Ron,
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays
The DS Sounds GR8 ! compared to my other DACS Mojo ( for travel but can be used as a DAC and a pre-amp has a 3 Volt out put when used as pre-amp ) and my schiit  Gungnir used  permanently on my Desk top system I use both the Audeze Deckard, sweet sounding headphone amp  and than I feed the 2nd set of analog outputs  into my standmount Kef LS 50 Wireless system
Yes I believe the DS 2 is almost burned in, sounds wonderful, I was able to get couple of Hi -Rez DVD-ROM Discs ( Emerald Audiophile polycarbonate )  uncompressed WAV. custom burnt from Todd Garfunkel( Great Guy !) of M & A audio , Le Segundo , and Sera una noche ,  The sound stage ! just explodes ! with multiple layering of instruments with the DS2 & the Directstream DAC
Did you get your DS-2 ?
Asghar
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 27 Dec 2017, 09:32 am
Just a note to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.   As my Christmas present to myself I spent 4 hours upgrading MY power amp to the current standard.  I was listening to one without auto biasing and the fully regulated power supply.  It did have a huge film capacitor power supply.   It has been playing now for a day and the difference is apparent.   I promise to get back to working on everyone else's orders in a day or two.  To those who are waiting, they are all coming! 

I know most of you know this, but if you want a simple and cheap system tweak try making a pair of RCA (or XLR) cables using the Duelund stranded 20 gauge I use in the preamps.  There is only one source for N. America and that is parts connexion.  It is about $7 per meter or so.  You need 4 meters for a 1 meter pair of cables plus a pair of RCA jacks.  So you can build a cable for $35-40.  Here is the wire:
http://www.partsconnexion.com/product31386.html






You could use the 16 gauge, but there is no current flow in a signal cable and the 20 is easier to work with.  These have replaced all fancy cables in my system.  Not even close.  These sound like music......  Put a pair between my amp and preamp and enjoy.  Best $40 cable you will ever hear!

Happy Listening!

Don

Don,
 I am a bit lazy , although do own a soldiering iron , and the paraphernalia that goes with it , but lucked out when someone on AC advertised he a pair of two week old 13 foot Dueland DCA 16 made by Chris at parts connexion for sale I picked those, as luck would have it some one else also on AC offered to sell me a pair of Dueland IC with Dueland gold connectors (expensive) but the price was right so expecting them to come in a fews day, do agree with you the Dueland speaker cables sound wonderful with your DS-2 and my power amp and speakers . Their is also a source on Flea Bay who selling custom made Dueland IC , I guess he gets the parts from Parts connexion I assume  Cheers !  :D
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: dls123 on 27 Dec 2017, 03:58 pm
HI
Don't judge any RCA cable that is longer than 3-4 ft.  You start to get problems with really long rca cables, although they are admittedly very slight.  Anything over 10 ft. is kind of pushing it though.  Personally, I would never waste money of fancy connectors or rca panel jacks.  A decent quality gold plated connector or jack is just fine and there is no sonic difference, despite what all the snake oil people want you to believe.  As long as the connection between the wire and the panel jack or connector is good and well soldered.  That is my opinion anyway:)   

cheers,
Don
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: deadhead on 27 Dec 2017, 04:18 pm
I paid $4 for the RCA's I soldered on.  Listening to Annie Lennox "Bare" right now.  Detail is stunning.  All that and it's not even playing through Don's electronics yet!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 27 Dec 2017, 07:13 pm
HI
Don't judge any RCA cable that is longer than 3-4 ft.  You start to get problems with really long rca cables, although they are admittedly very slight.  Anything over 10 ft. is kind of pushing it though.  Personally, I would never waste money of fancy connectors or rca panel jacks.  A decent quality gold plated connector or jack is just fine and there is no sonic difference, despite what all the snake oil people want you to believe.  As long as the connection between the wire and the panel jack or connector is good and well soldered.  That is my opinion anyway:)   

cheers,
Don



+ 1
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 27 Dec 2017, 08:24 pm
Asghar,

How's the Dac sounding in your system and I imagine your DS2 is almost burned-in?

Thanks,
Wig

I am not Asghar, but I too just picked upped a PS Audio DirectStream DAC (in black) with a Bridge II card. It, and my DS-2, are now pretty much burned in. The DAC has 350 hours of burn-in time on it and I have 132 hours of burn-in time on the Theta caps in my DS-2.

The DirectStream with Red Cloud has exceeded my expectations. My Yggdrasil is a great DAC but it is now for sale. The two key areas where I prefer the DirectStream are soundstage presentation and musicality. The soundstage is more 3D and the voices and instruments have better isolation. Yggdrasil throws a wonderful soundstage. But not with quite as much separation and depth and that changes the experience noticeably. The music is more musical on the DirectStream. I know that is vague. But when I compare the DirectStream to Yggdrasil on technical merits, there is really not that much between them. But, when I listen to songs, the DirectStream is more pleasant to listen to. The sound is less digital and more fun. Yet all the detail is there. Other pluses include the ability to upgrade the DAC in the field which means the DAC can made even better without sending it in or having to buy a new one. And it is free! Finally, the Bridge II card lets me get rid of my Roon endpoint. I just plug it into my Ethernet network and I am ready to go!

The Don Sachs Model 2 line stage is a huge step up from the Schiit Audio Freya preamp I had. Music comes from a more black background. Even the Freya in passive mode was not as quiet. I am using the DS-2 with a wonderful Pioneer M-22 30 watt dual mono Class A amp and really efficient speakers. With the DS-2 being dual mono as well, the channel separation allows for an incredible soundstage. Instruments and voices just feet apart are easy to discern. I am hearing things I had never heard before in music I am quite familiar with. I think most of it has to do with the improved separation. I am not hearing a lot of tube color but I am sure some of that is there. What I am hearing is better micro and macro dynamics with impressive levels of detail. The bottom line is the music sounds more like I think music should and certainly more like vinyl.

I am very happy with both the DirectStream and the Don Sachs Model 2. My 2 channel system has taken a huge step up in sound quality with these new components. The DS-2 makes the bigger impact though.

Scott

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 27 Dec 2017, 10:59 pm
I am not Asghar, but I too just picked upped a PS Audio DirectStream DAC (in black) with a Bridge II card. It, and my DS-2, are now pretty much burned in. The DAC has 350 hours of burn-in time on it and I have 132 hours of burn-in time on the Theta caps in my DS-2.

The DirectStream with Red Cloud has exceeded my expectations. My Yggdrasil is a great DAC but it is now for sale. The two key areas where I prefer the DirectStream are soundstage presentation and musicality. The soundstage is more 3D and the voices and instruments have better isolation. Yggdrasil throws a wonderful soundstage. But not with quite as much separation and depth and that changes the experience noticeably. The music is more musical on the DirectStream. I know that is vague. But when I compare the DirectStream to Yggdrasil on technical merits, there is really not that much between them. But, when I listen to songs, the DirectStream is more pleasant to listen to. The sound is less digital and more fun. Yet all the detail is there. Other pluses include the ability to upgrade the DAC in the field which means the DAC can made even better without sending it in or having to buy a new one. And it is free! Finally, the Bridge II card lets me get rid of my Roon endpoint. I just plug it into my Ethernet network and I am ready to go!

The Don Sachs Model 2 line stage is a huge step up from the Schiit Audio Freya preamp I had. Music comes from a more black background. Even the Freya in passive mode was not as quiet. I am using the DS-2 with a wonderful Pioneer M-22 30 watt dual mono Class A amp and really efficient speakers. With the DS-2 being dual mono as well, the channel separation allows for an incredible soundstage. Instruments and voices just feet apart are easy to discern. I am hearing things I had never heard before in music I am quite familiar with. I think most of it has to do with the improved separation. I am not hearing a lot of tube color but I am sure some of that is there. What I am hearing is better micro and macro dynamics with impressive levels of detail. The bottom line is the music sounds more like I think music should and certainly more like vinyl.

I am very happy with both the DirectStream and the Don Sachs Model 2. My 2 channel system has taken a huge step up in sound quality with these new components. The DS-2 makes the bigger impact though.

Scott



Scott,
I was waiting for your comparison of the yggdrasil & Directstream, you nailed it when you write "more pleasent to listen to , less digital and more fun" I would add to it more natural " Both are good DAC's but different animals in how they work and process digital signal  Yggdrasil, is a ladder R2R DAC  and the Directstream is FPGA DAC both process sound differently Directstream up scales the signal 10 to 20 times and than plays all music as DSD, Yggdrasil does not play DSD as Mike Moffet of Schiit does not believe in DSD ? but DSD definitely sounds very natural . Cheers !
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 28 Dec 2017, 04:02 am
I was waiting for your comparison of the yggdrasil & Directstream, you nailed it when you write "more pleasent to listen to , less digital and more fun" I would add to it more natural " Both are good DAC's but different animals in how they work and process digital signal  Yggdrasil, is a ladder R2R DAC  and the Directstream is FPGA DAC both process sound differently Directstream up scales the signal 10 to 20 times and than plays all music as DSD, Yggdrasil does not play DSD as Mike Moffet of Schiit does not believe in DSD ? but DSD definitely sounds very natural . Cheers !

I agree, the music does sound more natural with the DirectStream. I would add that it sounds more real. The DS-2 takes that to another level over what I experienced with Freya and the DirectStream.

Don't get me wrong, the Yggdrasil is a great DAC. In fact, there is not a DAC under $5,000 that I would rather have. The DirectStream is special. I am glad I found one that was less than 3 months old with maybe 100 hours on it at a steal of a price! Otherwise I never would tried it.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 28 Dec 2017, 05:10 am
Aghar,

My Sach's duet will arrive in January and it's going to be nice waking the Acoustic Zen's back up :) I've tried 2 Dacs over the past year and found my Modwright Sony 5400 at the time to be better sounding in comparison to the Berkeley and Lampizator Level 4.  I have upgraded to a Marantz SA 8005 Modified by Modwright and it is a wonderful sounding unit; those Dacs were refined but couldn't deal with a drastic reduction in sound stage and impact.

Good to hear that the Direct stream is working for you guys.

Wig
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 28 Dec 2017, 05:20 am
Aghar,

My Sach's duet will arrive in January and it's going to be nice waking the Acoustic Zen's back up :) I've tried 2 Dacs over the past year and found my Modwright Sony 5400 at the time to be better sounding in comparison to the Berkely and Lampizator Level 4.  I have upgraded to a Marantz SA 8005 Modified by Modwright and it is a wonderful sounding unit; those Dacs were refined but couldn't deal with a drastic reduction in sound stage and impact.

Good to hear that the Direct stream is working for you guys.

Wig







WOW ! Always thought Berkeley & Lampizator were top of the Heap !
Happy Holidays
Asghar
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: JackD on 28 Dec 2017, 06:27 am
Ashgar

There is a guy on another forum who owned a Berkley Ref 2 and a Big 7 and now has a DS so it boils down to what you hear in your system with the rest of your components.  Mine has been in place for two weeks and it is probably here for a while. 
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 28 Dec 2017, 07:19 am

WOW ! Always thought Berkeley & Lampizator were top of the Heap !
Happy Holidays
Asghar

I listened to the Berkeley and several Lampizators and was completely unimpressed with them compared to the Yggdrasil. A friend has a Chord Dave and that is the only DAC besides the DirectStream that I would consider over the Yggdrasil. The price differences are just too huge to ignore which is why I don't have a Dave and I have the DirectStream only because a killer deal came along.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Balanced Ins/outs?
Post by: Don Ivey on 28 Dec 2017, 09:30 pm
One question on this preamp.  Is it possible to get balanced in's and out's?  I have a PS Audio Directstream Jr. with xlr outs and a Pass XA30.8 with balanced inputs.  I'm looking for something balanced between the two.  Thanks,

Don Ivey
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 29 Dec 2017, 06:51 am
@jackD ,
I am happy with the Directstream at least for now !  thank you  for your feed back ! gave me good confidence on the DS.

@ speedracer ,

I have had the opportunity to listen to Chord  Dave both with headphones LCD-X  as well as with speakers ,   and own a Chord Mojo , not missing much comparing DirectStream to DAVE besides Ted Smith continues to upgrade the Software on Directstream . Same here,  got a Killer Deal on the DS from" The Music Room " so I purchased it (brand new) considering the fact I have 45 days to send it back if need be  . I liked it so much that i have decided to keep it !

Also  received a pair Dueland DC 16 awg IC with Dueland Gold Connectors today,  ( Also a good deal from an AC member, who rarely used it ? they look very new to me !
(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=173489)
) they certainly make a noticeable sonic difference with the DS-2 , First impression Very Happy with them very detailed , Tart and Bass is pretty tight ! Goreneberg Quatro reference cables & IC go in the garage for future use.
Asghar
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Balanced Ins/outs?
Post by: A_shah on 29 Dec 2017, 06:58 am
One question on this preamp.  Is it possible to get balanced In's and outs?  I have a PS Audio Directstream Jr. with xlr outs and a Pass XA30.8 with balanced inputs.  I'm looking for something balanced between the two.  Thanks,

Don Ivey

I use the Xlr/out  from my DirectStream  to the Don Sach's Pre-amp- in  (Zu Audio Mission cables) give Don a Call and talk to him , I don't think he makes XLR-out's on his pre-amp.
Asghar
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Balanced Ins/outs?
Post by: mresseguie on 29 Dec 2017, 07:31 am
I use the Xlr/out  from my DirectStream  to the Don Sach's Pre-amp- in  (Zu Audio Mission cables) give Don a Call and talk to him , I don't think he makes XLR-out's on his pre-amp.
Asghar

Ashgar beat me to it. Like his, my pre has XLR in and RCA out. I don't recall XLR out being an option when I bought mine.

Michael
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 29 Dec 2017, 09:08 pm
I don't see why Don couldn't add XLR out. It's just another set of transformers. There is plenty of room to fit them. Maybe there are issues without output impedance I am not aware of...just ask him.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: JackD on 29 Dec 2017, 09:25 pm
Or just "convenience" XLR jacks like Klaus uses as do Modwright and others.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Don Ivey on 29 Dec 2017, 11:12 pm
I went to his site and emailed him but haven’t gotten a response yet.  Pass does recommend using balanced if possible, but I’m not sure if I’d hear the difference.  I’ll await his answer.

Don Ivey
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: JackD on 30 Dec 2017, 02:29 am
Don

Would he consider just changing out the second pair of RCA jacks for balanced ones like is fairly common.  Would obviously not accomplish the same thing as fully balanced circuitry which would greatly increase the price but it would make it more friendly to those that have balanced looms of cables.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: alexscotti on 30 Dec 2017, 03:38 am
(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=173531)

Mine is coming!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 30 Dec 2017, 03:46 am
(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=173531)

Mine is coming!

Now that's interesting. I see left and right gain, but no separate volume dial. Does it have the remote?

What goodies are inside?

Congratulations. I suspect you'll enjoy it once it arrives.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 30 Dec 2017, 03:57 am
(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=173531)

Mine is coming!

What a beautiful build and dual Khozmo.

Congrats :)!

Wig
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 30 Dec 2017, 07:02 am
Gentlemen
Any good recommendation for 1 meter to 1.5 meter XLR cables ? I believe Xlr cables are either "Analog"  ? ( 75 Ohms) or "Digital" 110 ohm impedance for reliable data transmission, presently I am using Zu audio mission cables , since Directstream DAC is digital and DS-2 is pure analog
I dont have any issues with ground loops or magnetic field or RF
I think at this time I am happy with all my tweaks and the the way my system sounds my RCA's  all are  WBT high end german  connectors
but would like to try some reasonably priced XLR cables.

Thanks.
Asghar
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: JackD on 30 Dec 2017, 07:18 am
Ashgar

What do you consider reasonably priced?  If you are happy with the sound of the Dueland cables you bought then that would be an option.  If you can't find a seller for those then I would talk to Pete at TWL or Steven at Audio Sensibility.  I recieved my Dueland 12ga cable from Parts Connexion the first of the week and got it stripped, twisted and in service in about an hour.  Since I liked the sound I ordered a pair of Balanced cables from a seller on Ebay that has been making them for several months and had perfect feedback.  He is not showing any balanced cables left for sale but you might want to contact him and see if he is going to make more.  There is a similarity in the sound of the Dueland cables and the TWL cables.  If you are going from the XLR outputs of the DS to the DS-2  you need analog cables.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 30 Dec 2017, 05:11 pm
Gentlemen
Any good recommendation for 1 meter to 1.5 meter XLR cables ? I believe Xlr cables are either "Analog"  ? ( 75 Ohms) or "Digital" 110 ohm impedance for reliable data transmission, presently I am using Zu audio mission cables , since Directstream DAC is digital and DS-2 is pure analog
I dont have any issues with ground loops or magnetic field or RF
I think at this time I am happy with all my tweaks and the the way my system sounds my RCA's  all are  WBT high end german  connectors
but would like to try some reasonably priced XLR cables.

Thanks.
Asghar

The digital XLR cable is an AES cable and is an input cable for your DirectStream. The XLR outs from your DirectStream to your DS-2 would be analog. Here is what I have and I happy with the sound quality:

http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=PGIXCA&opt=4390|4399 (http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=PGIXCA&opt=4390|4399)

The price is basically $100 for the one meter pair.

By the way, I am looking for a pair of the Deuland RCA interconnects at 5 to 6 feet if anyone has a pair for sale. This is to go from the DS-2 to my amp.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 31 Dec 2017, 12:05 am
Thank you gentlemen
Decided to get a pair of XLR from Benchmark Audio not that expensive U.S. made.  And a 2nd pair from Hungary( Europe) silver plated  , from  a company called Bicon they sell on E-Bay I use one of their silver plated RCA cables & just love those !  Some time in the future  I may just make my own dueland 16 awg XLR cables with Nuetrex  or Switchcraft connectors.

Asghar
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 31 Dec 2017, 05:14 pm
So far, in my system, I don't like the sound of silver plated interconnects. It will be interesting to read what you think.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Johnny2Bad on 31 Dec 2017, 09:25 pm
"Digital" AES/EBU XLR terminated cables can be used as analog interconnects.* One factor that might make someone consider them is the AES/EBU standard requires low capacitance, a good attribute in an analog interconnect. Used in this manner, the 110 ohm characteristic impedance is essentially irrelevant, due to the relatively low frequency of analog audio signals; it is neither an advantage nor a detriment.

Also of interest is that even with high end manufactured components, the chassis connectors tend to be fairly basic Neutrik's. Many manufacturers and their engineers, including those who normally use "exotic" chassis RCAs, feel that with the nature of balanced/differential connections, the connectors & cable has a smaller influence on the sound than with single ended connectors.

As Don noted, many (if not most) amplifiers that have differential inputs are single-ended circuits. So there is no serious performance penalty to using single-ended interconnects, and there may actually be a performance benefit if single-ended inputs are available as well as differential. In particular, if your system can handle unshielded single-ended interconnects without audible noise or RF issues, it's unlikely you actually need to use a balanced output. When long cable runs are required it's advisable to use balanced/differential connections, but that normally won't be the case if you are not running powered loudspeakers or mono amps situated close to conventional loudspeakers.

XLR connectors are typically available with nickel (not recommended, in my experience), silver and gold plated elements. Some "boutique" panel mount connectors are Rhodium plated, generally to protect copper or silver materials from environmental corrosion. Broadly speaking use an interconnect with the same plated material.

*It must always be kept in mind that regardless of the digital protocol, interconnection is always in the analog domain. In other words, do not confuse digital data with digital signals expressed as changing voltages over time which *represent* digital data, the latter is purely analog.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 1 Jan 2018, 03:01 am
"Digital" AES/EBU XLR terminated cables can be used as analog interconnects.* One factor that might make someone consider them is the AES/EBU standard requires low capacitance, a good attribute in an analog interconnect. Used in this manner, the 110 ohm characteristic impedance is essentially irrelevant, due to the relatively low frequency of analog audio signals; it is neither an advantage nor a detriment.

Also of interest is that even with high end manufactured components, the chassis connectors tend to be fairly basic Neutrik's. Many manufacturers and their engineers, including those who normally use "exotic" chassis RCAs, feel that with the nature of balanced/differential connections, the connectors & cable has a smaller influence on the sound than with single ended connectors.

As Don noted, many (if not most) amplifiers that have differential inputs are single-ended circuits. So there is no serious performance penalty to using single-ended interconnects, and there may actually be a performance benefit if single-ended inputs are available as well as differential. In particular, if your system can handle unshielded single-ended interconnects without audible noise or RF issues, it's unlikely you actually need to use a balanced output. When long cable runs are required it's advisable to use balanced/differential connections, but that normally won't be the case if you are not running powered loudspeakers or mono amps situated close to conventional loudspeakers.

XLR connectors are typically available with nickel (not recommended, in my experience), silver and gold plated elements. Some "boutique" panel mount connectors are Rhodium plated, generally to protect copper or silver materials from environmental corrosion. Broadly speaking use an interconnect with the same plated material.

*It must always be kept in mind that regardless of the digital protocol, interconnection is always in the analog domain. In other words, do not confuse digital data with digital signals expressed as changing voltages over time which *represent* digital data, the latter is purely analog.

Thanks ! makes sense ! true AES/EBU XLR terminated cables can be used as analog IC , but it is recommended that we use XLR IC made for analog
  Don also makes a point,  "Transformers have sound" , I suspected as much ! Some manufacturers including PS Audio recommend we use Balanced if available , the XLR I have ordered from Europe are,  I believe CU with gold pins with silver plated CU, Benchmark Audio makes specific XLR cables for either digital or analog and they have a write up on that on their website
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: chgolatin2 on 2 Jan 2018, 02:02 pm
A Few More
(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=147701)

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=147702)

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=147703)

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=147704)


Wow, that looks amazingly beautiful~  I would love to have to money to invest in such a beauty but maybe one day.  I'm currently looking into the Ari Audiol the Unlimited tube phono pre amp for $995.  It's American made, hand built, etc just need to save a few bucks more for it~http://aricaudio.com/products.php?product=UNL100 or maybe I should save a big more and purchase the Don Sachs SP14 :)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 2 Jan 2018, 02:34 pm
Hi, chgolatin2.

I notice the Aricaudio preamp uses 12AX7 tubes. These have a very different sound from 6SN7 tubes. [I'm not criticizing, mind you.] The first time I heard 12AX7 was in an integrated tube amp. I've forgotten which tubes were used for power. It sounded sweet and warm. My initial reaction was "Wow. I love this sound." It was lush, warm, and made that midrange so beautiful, but the music it produced didn't sound quite the same as the music I'd hear at concerts. The more I listened the more I felt the sound wasn't quite what I wanted.

 Anyway, I didn't buy that integrated. I continued searching for about half a year until I stumbled upon Tubes4hifi. It was there that I 'discovered' a link to Don's website.  It took me a few months and reading every post on several forums about Don's preamp before I decided that I had to listen to it. Veteran audiophiles with seriously kickass equipment were raving about it. [I'm not a veteran audiophile, but I'm working at it.] Listening to Don's preamp that first time was...I think I wrote my impressions early in this thread....I was standing at an open picture window listening to live music just outside the living room. I could see the performers. It was real (in my mind, of course) sounding. It didn't sound canned or artificial.

Knowing what I know, I'd recommend holding out and saving more until you can afford something better. I think you can get a basic version of Don's preamp for ~$2k (or less?). I haven't checked lately.

Beware! I am a D Sachs fanboy! I own his preamp, his amp, and the power cord he sells. I am biased.  :nono:

Enjoy your search.

Michael
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: genjamon on 2 Jan 2018, 06:07 pm
If price is the issue, you could always go with the Tubes4Hifi kit instead of Don's.  Hearing that kit in a friend's system is ultimately what led me to Don's pre.  I would have been happy with the kit.  Still looking forward to comparing my DS-2 to my friend's kit.   
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: jvinhj240 on 4 Jan 2018, 11:31 pm
I did not have Don built one with Sub out-  Am I ok to use regular output for subwoofer? 
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 19 Jan 2018, 07:20 am
A few weeks ago I bought some Duelund DCA16GA for speakers wire. That worked out really well as it sounds better than the Mogami speaker wire I had been using.

Today I built two sets of interconnects using Duelund DCA20GA. A pair of 2 wire XLR interconnects and a a pair of RCA interconnects. Both unshielded. The XLR interconnects go from my DirectStream to the DS Model 2. The RCA interconnects connect the DS Model 2 to the Pioneer M-22 amp.

I have to say that right off the bat the interconnects sounded great and better than what I had. I only have a few hours on them now and I am hopeful they will sound even better 100 hours from now. Even if they don't, I have to say music sounds better than it ever has on my 2 channel system!

That’s a lot of Duelund hookup wire in my setup now!!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 19 Jan 2018, 02:05 pm
A few weeks ago I bought some Duelund DCA16GA for speakers wire. That worked out really well as it sounds better than the Mogami speaker wire I had been using.

Today I built two sets of interconnects using Duelund DCA20GA. A pair of 2 wire XLR interconnects and a a pair of RCA interconnects. Both unshielded. The XLR interconnects go from my DirectStream to the DS Model 2. The RCA interconnects connect the DS Model 2 to the Pioneer M-22 amp.

I have to say that right off the bat the interconnects sounded great and better than what I had. I only have a few hours on them now and I am hopeful they will sound even better 100 hours from now. Even if they don't, I have to say music sounds better than it ever has on my 2 channel system!

That’s a lot of Duelund hookup wire in my setup now!!

Lucked out a bit got two pairs of IC, one 16 awg with Dueland gold plated RCA connectors another pair 20 awg with Dueland Rhodium plated both are 1.5 meters long plus 14 feet 16 awg  dueland speaker wire all twisted and terminated by Chris at Partsconnexion  got them at about 43% discount as they were used , still a pretty penny ! ( over $ 420.)
they replaced the Gorneberg Quarto , before that I was using self terminated mogami cables with high end WBT connectors.
 My the DS-2 also have internal dueland 20 awg wiring. The DS stream is connected to the DS -2 via Zu audio mission 1  cables silver plated XLR  for now ( waiting on Bicon Silver plated XLR from Europe should be in , in a few days) and one streaming source via the dueland 16 awg to the DS-2 and the DS-2 to the Kismet power amp. via the Rhodium plated 20 awg Dueland IC

Impressions: after a couple of weeks the Maggie's 1.7i  seem to sound like the old guitar type with  classic tone( I don't know if you get my drift ?)
  Vocals and acoustics are very well defined and clear. Bass is better defined and with better sound stage , Speech is very realistic ! mid range and treble are clearly defined , not sure about the transparency and how resolving they are but definitely very good detail , yes I like them because listening to music is non fatiguing   
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 19 Jan 2018, 06:55 pm
I did not like silver plated wires in my setup. The highs were too bright. Until I tried the Duelund wire, I found that OFC and OCC copper had the most realistic sound to it.

What I have found with the Duelund interconnects is that the mids and high end have more energy without sounding harsh or bright. The sound is less laid back and I really like it. I still have the ink black background and nice tight bass with ample presence. Overall, the sound is cleaner and more detailed. The sound before wasn't what I would call heavy or muddy, but it is less so now. I am looking forward to hearing what it all sounds like in 100 hours or so.

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 19 Jan 2018, 11:17 pm
Also, I should note that I am using the bare Duelund DCA 16GA wire to connect to my speakers and amp. No spades or banana plugs. According to some, this makes a rather significant difference. On the interconnect side, both the Furutech FP-126G RCA and Vampire XLR connectors I am using are gold plated copper.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 20 Jan 2018, 12:06 am
Also, I should note that I am using the bare Duelund DCA 16GA wire to connect to my speakers and amp. No spades or banana plugs. According to some, this makes a rather significant difference. On the interconnect side, both the Furutech FP-126G RCA and Vampire XLR connectors I am using are gold plated copper.

@ Speed Racer
Yes ! I am using bare wire into the speakers & to the the Amp which has WBT Copper connectors , 2nd picture is the back of my DS-2

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=174801)


(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=174800)
Title: Double Imapcts
Post by: A_shah on 20 Jan 2018, 03:57 am
Scott
how would you describe the sound of the D.I you have with DS-2 ,  Directstream and  Duelands  ?

Asghar
Title: Re: Double Impacts
Post by: Speed Racer on 20 Jan 2018, 04:20 am
Scott
how would you describe the sound of the D.I you have with DS-2 ,  Directstream and  Duelands  ?

Effin' spectacular!!!!

I love my 2 channel setup as it sits. I have interest in Don's amp but my Pioneer M-22 is really quite exceptional. The new interconnects have made a nice difference and I am more than happy with the Bridge II card as a Roon endpoint. I am not jonesing for anything right now...I haven't been there in a long time.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: deadhead on 20 Jan 2018, 02:12 pm
I just received notice from Don that my pre amp was shipped.  Fedex says Friday delivery.  The KT88 amp is already here.  My new speakers should be shipped any day (another custom job).  Looks like I'm destined for some fun with all my new toys.  I'm looking forward to posting my impressions as everything burns in.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 20 Jan 2018, 02:41 pm
Party at deadhead’s house in one month. Time to book flight. Bring a sleeping bag, an inflatable pillow and a bottle of something yummy.  :banana piano: :beer: :birthday:

What I mean is “I can really appreciate what a great system you’re getting and I truly believe you’re going to be one happy camper.”

Congratulations!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Johnny2Bad on 20 Jan 2018, 09:36 pm
I did not have Don built one with Sub out-  Am I ok to use regular output for subwoofer?

As long as there aren't huge differences in the input impedances of your Power Mains and Power Sub amps, it's usually fine.

Those values should be in your component specifications.

If there are (say the amp is 10Kohms and the Sub 200Kohms, a 10:1 difference) there may be undesirable interactions between the two amplifiers (one loading down the other). Nothing will explode, but the sonics may be affected, especially on the loaded (lower input impedance) amplifier.

Most subs have alternate circuits you could use to connect them to a system, so it's not the end of the world. Also most power amplifiers have similar input impedances (because everything works better that way, so it's designed in) but some vacuum state amps have low-ish input impedances.

if you have concerns I'd suggest an eMail to Don, he will be happy to help with advice, I'm sure.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 20 Jan 2018, 10:57 pm
I just received notice from Don that my pre amp was shipped.  Fedex says Friday delivery.  The KT88 amp is already here.  My new speakers should be shipped any day (another custom job).  Looks like I'm destined for some fun with all my new toys.  I'm looking forward to posting my impressions as everything burns in.

That's awesome and the best way to get great news! Now comes the 4X daily status updates to see if FedEx will delivery early :)

Wig
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Blueone302 on 21 Jan 2018, 04:09 am
deadhead is in for some serious fun.  I've had my rig back together for exactly six months. Today, via the D. Sachs Model 2 Pre/linestage, My Kootenay 120 amp, My Decware/Turning Point HR 1's and the Oppo player, for the first time ever I felt like I was front row center.  I mean really there. And it didn't matter what genre I was listening to.  I have no idea why, but it's like the system came together on a whole new level.   All I can say is :green:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: JakeJ on 21 Jan 2018, 03:27 pm
Blueone302, are you in a different room than the last time the system was setup?  If so, then better sound is most likely the result of room acoustics.  If not, maybe you hit the sweet spot for speaker placement.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: deadhead on 21 Jan 2018, 04:41 pm
Party at deadhead’s house in one month. Time to book flight. Bring a sleeping bag, an inflatable pillow and a bottle of something yummy.  :banana piano: :beer: :birthday:

What I mean is “I can really appreciate what a great system you’re getting and I truly believe you’re going to be one happy camper.”

Congratulations!

I'm in NJ.  Anyone that wants to visit will be treated to great sound and great wine!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Blueone302 on 21 Jan 2018, 10:44 pm
JakeJ  I moved in July and had to set everything back up.   Been with the new setup for six months exactly.  So yes, I'm in a different room.  But current room isn't as audio friendly as previous.    Haven't changed anything except for output tubes which technically should have been a slight step down.  Guess the tubes could be a part of it.  After living with tube gear a while, I'm thinking it's more synergy between components and the tube gear coming into it's own.  Of course, we know it's all subjective. 
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: JakeJ on 22 Jan 2018, 03:34 am
Interesting.  Have you used REW to find your nulls and peaks?  Might be a good idea.  When it comes to system synergy there are lots of factors, so it could be the new tubes are better in this case.

I am in the process of moving and the living room is almost twice the size of the one I'm in now.  The new place has a family room that I plan to setup my HT gear in.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Blueone302 on 22 Jan 2018, 04:13 pm
I have not ran an REW.  Reason being is I am a minister and the church I now serve provides a parsonage and prefers that I live in it.  So currently I am very limited in what I can do in terms of treatments.  I have however learned to be creative with furniture replacement, drapes, blinds and even shelves of CD's staggered and grouped to add some refraction in the back.  I've also found speaker placement to be critical.  That's the bad news.  The room itself is of decent size at 15' 6" X 23' with 9 ft ceilings.  I'm situated on the long axis for listening at about 16 ft from the front wall.  To me, is sounds slightly better than the last one where the scenario was much the same.

At the last place I did get quotes from GIK and seriously thought about treating the room.  It was going to require some custom pieces and I didn't want to buy things I couldn't use or would have to reinvent down the road.  If you're in the midst of planning a move I'm sure you understand what I'm talking about.

The game plan is to build or buy in the next few years.  I'm lobbying the wife for a dedicated 2channel/home theater room combo.  I think she will relent; if nothing else just so she doesn't have to deal with the volume when I turn it up.

As for those tubes, I had some trouble with a couple of the PS Vane's.  Don sent me a quad of Genalex Gold Lions to tide me over.  They're good too.  But I wanted a spare quad on hand and after reading a few decent reviews I bought a quad of the preferred series KT-88's from The Tube Store.  They are apparently Shuguang tubes.  Much more reliable to date and to me at least, they might be the best quad of tubes I've heard.   

Would be interested in your thoughts and plans for your dedicated HT room.  I've been compiling a notebook to help design ours.

Cheers!   
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: deadhead on 26 Jan 2018, 04:05 pm
My pre amp arrived today!  Don really considers each piece he makes a part of the family.  Packing was excellent.  I used a power cord from Ice Age audio, and my home made Duelund ICs to connect the Oppo in and the pre out to Don's Kootenay amp. 

Right out of the box the sound is great.  The amp has a grip on my little ProAc's (Tablette Anniversary).  Low end is immediate and defined. I'm playing a known crummy recording (Linda Ronstadt's Greatest) just because I was lazy and that's what was in my deck.  Piano sounds natural as does sax, vocals.  High end is a little bright as with any new equipment.  Caps need a 100 or so hours to run in.  The detail is stunning.  Hearing secondary instruments and backing vocals I've never heard before.  I'll report more as things break in.

Jeff
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 26 Jan 2018, 05:08 pm
Jeff,

So cool! I think I know what you’re hearing. Of course, I have the amp and preamp, but I used to own a pair of Response D2s.  8)

Which caps have you got in the pre? [If you’ve mentioned it before, I have forgotten.] The music is going to keep getting sweeter as things burn in.

I’ll have my complete rig up and running in 7 Days.  :banana piano:

Michael
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: deadhead on 26 Jan 2018, 07:10 pm
Michael,

He used the AudioCap Theta caps. 
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 26 Jan 2018, 07:27 pm
Jeff,

So cool! I think I know what you’re hearing. Of course, I have the amp and preamp, but I used to own a pair of Response D2s.  8)

Which caps have you got in the pre? [If you’ve mentioned it before, I have forgotten.] The music is going to keep getting sweeter as things burn in.

I’ll have my complete rig up and running in 7 Days.  :banana piano:

Michael


 :thumb: :drool:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 27 Jan 2018, 04:01 am
My pre amp arrived today!  Don really considers each piece he makes a part of the family.  Packing was excellent.  I used a power cord from Ice Age audio, and my home made Duelund ICs to connect the Oppo in and the pre out to Don's Kootenay amp. 

Right out of the box the sound is great.  The amp has a grip on my little ProAc's (Tablette Anniversary).  Low end is immediate and defined. I'm playing a known crummy recording (Linda Ronstadt's Greatest) just because I was lazy and that's what was in my deck.  Piano sounds natural as does sax, vocals.  High end is a little bright as with any new equipment.  Caps need a 100 or so hours to run in.  The detail is stunning.  Hearing secondary instruments and backing vocals I've never heard before.  I'll report more as things break in.

Jeff

That's awesome!

Wig :)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 30 Jan 2018, 10:57 am
I normally use my DS-2 at least  couple of hours a day , even when I am watching TV news , So I am wondering how long would the tubes last and how do I know when to replace ? :scratch:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: screener on 30 Jan 2018, 11:04 am
I normally use my DS-2 at least  couple of hours a day , even when I am watching TV news , So I am wondering how long would the tubes last and how do I know when to replace ? :scratch:

This will help.
http://blog.thetubestore.com/how-to-tell-if-your-tube-is-bad/
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 30 Jan 2018, 11:08 am
I seem to recall someone - perhaps Don - saying the preamp tubes should last a couple thousand hours. (Assuming I’m not dreaming!) With that number you may have to suffer with the same tubes for a few years.

Two more days and my rig will be set up!!!

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: gregfisk on 30 Jan 2018, 06:37 pm
I seem to recall someone - perhaps Don - saying the preamp tubes should last a couple thousand hours. (Assuming I’m not dreaming!) With that number you may have to suffer with the same tubes for a few years.

Two more days and my rig will be set up!!!

 :hyper: :hyper: :hyper: Let us know...
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: richidoo on 30 Jan 2018, 07:27 pm
Signal tubes usually last at least 4000-5000 hours. Some have lasted 20+ years left on all the time.
Power tubes usually 2000 hours is the max.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 30 Jan 2018, 09:28 pm
If they do last 4000 -5000 hours that is good news ! Thinking back now I recall in a conversation with Don, telling me that the tubes should last a couple of years as his design heaters heat  the tube to not more than 40 % so they should last a few years.
Thanks for all your replies -Cheers !
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: msommers on 1 Feb 2018, 04:43 pm
It is really interesting and exciting reading this thread. I'm still saving/dreaming for a DS2 preamp to replace my PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium preamp....I recall wanting the Jupiter CIO caps but needed big 2.2uF ones that required the metal case which is kinda...not my style.

But since I'm a PS Audio DirectStream Jr. owner, I'm thinking that maybe replacing the power amp first (Pass Labs XA30.5) would be a better option and later get the preamp...

I'd have to sell both my current power and preamp to make it happen though, which is scary. Also getting married soon so I can't have it all!

I have Tyler Acoustic Linbrook speakers that arrived just before Christmas...90db, 4 ohms absolute minimum (well probably 3.8 ;) ). Still working on burning them in, have large Clarity CMR and Jenszen Supreme caps in there!

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4731/38322990245_26ede87176_z.jpg)

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4333/36796731472_ecee816a18_z.jpg)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Dadbeh on 1 Feb 2018, 05:32 pm
It is really interesting and exciting reading this thread. I'm still saving/dreaming for a DS2 preamp to replace my PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium preamp....I recall wanting the Jupiter CIO caps but needed big 2.2uF ones that required the metal case which is kinda...not my style.

But since I'm a PS Audio DirectStream Jr. owner, I'm thinking that maybe replacing the power amp first (Pass Labs XA30.5) would be a better option and later get the preamp...

I'd have to sell both my current power and preamp to make it happen though, which is scary. Also getting married soon so I can't have it all!

I have Tyler Acoustic Linbrook speakers that arrived just before Christmas...90db, 4 ohms absolute minimum (well probably 3.8 ;) ). Still working on burning them in, have large Clarity CMR and Jenszen Supreme caps in there!

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4731/38322990245_26ede87176_z.jpg)

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4333/36796731472_ecee816a18_z.jpg)

thats probably the best looking tyler accoustics product ive ever seen.
but why are u unhapply with the prima luna i have only heard good things about it. although some people tend to criticize the autio bias feature that they have while others rave about it.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: msommers on 1 Feb 2018, 08:33 pm
Curiosity more than anything. I haven't had preamps two A/B. I tried to avoid a bunch of the "sidegrading" that I know many of use end up wasting money on so I was patient and saved up after reading so many reviews. But the 6SN7 design is intriguing...eventually.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 2 Feb 2018, 01:30 am
Curiosity more than anything. I haven't had preamps two A/B. I tried to avoid a bunch of the "sidegrading" that I know many of use end up wasting money on so I was patient and saved up after reading so many reviews. But the 6SN7 design is intriguing...eventually.

Have you looked at Don Sachs' amp? It is supposed to have some serious synergy with his preamp!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 3 Feb 2018, 08:10 pm
Update for anyone who cares:

My Kootenay 120 and my Model 2 are together again!

My Mac Mini is the source. It’s feeding a Nuprime DAC-9. My speakers are my Adelphos two-ways, but I anticipate getting my Apollos in the house later today.

The amp had a scant 20-some hours of burn in before I boxed it up, so it’ll be a couple weeks before it’s properly burned in.

And Yes, it sounds awesome!

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: deadhead on 3 Feb 2018, 09:29 pm
We care!  At least I do.  Same thing here but the pre is what needs burn in.  Enjoy!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 3 Feb 2018, 10:06 pm
Update for anyone who cares:

My Kootenay 120 and my Model 2 are together again!

My Mac Mini is the source. It’s feeding a Nuprime DAC-9. My speakers are my Adelphos two-ways, but I anticipate getting my Apollos in the house later today.

The amp had a scant 20-some hours of burn in before I boxed it up, so it’ll be a couple weeks before it’s properly burned in.

And Yes, it sounds awesome!

Welcome back! Now you have VIP privileges to the recording venue...

Wig :)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: msommers on 3 Feb 2018, 10:44 pm
Have you looked at Don Sachs' amp? It is supposed to have some serious synergy with his preamp!

I'd honestly like to get both but realistically I can't, so I think at this point I'd like to use the DS Jr as a dac/pre and replace the power amp with the KT88 version here. Just need to move some gear first to give Don a deposit.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: JakeJ on 3 Feb 2018, 11:03 pm
Hi Michael,

Congrats and welcome back, although IIRC you have been for a bit! :oops:  Cool beans having the DS gear playing together again.  I checked out the Adelpho kits, very nice.  Did you make your own cabinets?  Now this isn't meant to be scolding but you really do need to add pics to your systems.  C'mon, even a snap with your cell phone.  Pleeeeeeease?  :lol: :jester:

OK, enough of my blathering, on with the blathering about Don's gear!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 4 Feb 2018, 02:22 am
You want pictures?

I can accommodate, but these may be the worst photos I've taken in a long time.


(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=175637)


(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=175640)


(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=175639)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Dadbeh on 4 Feb 2018, 03:49 am
this kootenay amp is really really good looking.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 4 Feb 2018, 04:23 am
Not only really really good looking, but also really really good sounding and really really @#$&*(% heavy!

Moving this amp is not a joy yet it’s going to get moved in just under 3 weeks. :duh:

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 4 Feb 2018, 06:44 am
Not only really really good looking, but also really really good sounding and really really @#$&*(% heavy!

Moving this amp is not a joy yet it’s going to get moved in just under 3 weeks. :duh:


Michael
heard Apollo's at Lou place yesterday ! they were heavenly !!!!  :drums: the Clarity was simply "outstanding! " it was a very close call :P ( more on that later on AC , love to get your impressions  with the gear you have after you set them ! Cheers !
Asghar
(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=175647)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: JakeJ on 4 Feb 2018, 01:52 pm
Thanks Michael!  Looking good with the Apollos.  Do you have a photo of the Adelphos perchance?

OK everybody, lets all chip in and get Michael an appropriate rack to put that awesome gear on. :lol:

Moving?  Me too in a couple of weeks, I hope.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 4 Feb 2018, 03:19 pm
Adelphos two-way speakers designed by Jeff Bagby. The kit is sold at Meniscus Audio. I chose the upgraded crossover. The cabinets were built by a fellow named John who is also AC member “pecker”. He did an excellent job and was patient with me when I chose a difficult to apply veneer. I used a couple sheets of GR Research NoRez. Total cost about $1400.

This pair of speakers so impressed me that I ended up selling my ProAc Response D2 two-way speakers.

Yes, they sound fantastic when powered by my D Sachs amp/preamp combination, and, no, they don’t sound nearly as good as my three-way Apollos. What do you expect for 1/10 the cost?


(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=120872)


(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=120873)


(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=120875)

Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: gregfisk on 4 Feb 2018, 05:44 pm
Wow Michael!

That veneer is just stunning and it looks like a beautiful job that John did.

Sorry your amp is so heavy, I can't wait to hear it thou :thumb:.

Greg
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 4 Feb 2018, 05:51 pm
Not only really really good looking, but also really really good sounding and really really @#$&*(% heavy!

Moving this amp is not a joy yet it’s going to get moved in just under 3 weeks. :duh:

My back is going to thank me being that my DS KT88 Amp is half the weight of the LM508 IA I had!

Wig :)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: JakeJ on 4 Feb 2018, 06:13 pm
Holy Moly!  Those are bee-you-teeful!  What wood is the veneer?  Funny I was just looking at a pair of D2's on US Audio Mart this morning.  And at twice the price.  The ones I looked at are in rosewood.  What impressed me is that they are rated to 30 Hz on the low end.  There doesn't seem to be any specs on the Meniscus site but that's probably due to the customer's choice of cabinet.  The resonant frequency is listed at 28 Hz for the Satori MW16P-8.

Very cool that Menisus makes their kits tweakable.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 4 Feb 2018, 08:39 pm
Jake,

I've been scratching my head trying to remember the exact name of the veneer, and all I can recall is Bubinga. I want to say it's Bubinga burl.

I know the Response D2s are supposed to reach down to 30Hz, but ProAc is very careful to not mention how many dB +/-. Is that +/-3dB? It's kind of tough for a 6.5" midwoofer to reach 30Hz in a monitor-sized cabinet, don't you think? I can't remember anymore if I felt the Adelphos gave up any bass to the D2s, but I do clearly remember my thinking the Adelphos were every bit as good as the D2s for half the money. It was an easy choice for me to sell the D2s. I think I got $2k for them. I had bought them 2nd hand a year-plus before and paid $2200, I believe.

It was quite the epiphany for me. I'll never pay full price for a pair of store bought speakers when there are so many fine quality kits and/or manufacturer direct speakers out there. My Apollos are an extreme example of this, but just how much would I have had to pay for the same pair in an audio dealer's showroom? Certainly more than $20k...perhaps approaching $30k? Dunno. I have been told several times that the Adelphos would fetch $3500 in an audio shop.  :thumb:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: JakeJ on 5 Feb 2018, 04:04 am
Well, Michael, suffice it to say they are a beautiful looking and, I'll bet, sounding pair of monitors.  Not the least bit surprised ProAc fudges the numbers.

I'll never pay full price for a pair of store bought speakers when there are so many fine quality kits and/or manufacturer direct speakers out there. My Apollos are an extreme example of this, but just how much would I have had to pay for the same pair in an audio dealer's showroom? Certainly more than $20k...perhaps approaching $30k? Dunno. I have been told several times that the Adelphos would fetch $3500 in an audio shop.  :thumb:

Heh, heh, I also have the used market to thank for the level of playback I have achieved.  No way I could experience this quality at my income point unless I bought used.  And the chase is a big part of the fun.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 5 Feb 2018, 07:53 am
@ Michael that veneer is gorgeous , unfortunately I don't think I can afford these anymore after the purchase I made recently , plus I have only two ears , my present speakers should suffice ,  If these Adelpho's are as good as you say , maybe the Apollo's need to go back to lou ( just kidding)
By the way I did pick up a set of DID( thought they were snake oil item )  after Hinkley gave me a A/B Demo with his Oppo modified DAC , with the condition that if I don't like them they will be sent back to him, Yup they do work ! So far I have used them under the Directstream the detail and clarity is  amazing one can tell within 30 seconds that the sound is different ? I will try them tomorrow evening under the DS-2 and see if the sound changes or is different , Unbelievable :scratch: 
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: msommers on 5 Feb 2018, 04:50 pm
My back is going to thank me being that my DS KT88 Amp is half the weight of the LM508 IA I had!

Wig :)

You had a LM 508? Why did you get rid of it? I'd love to have a 845 SET amp but most of them are ridiculously expensive
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Johnny2Bad on 5 Feb 2018, 07:44 pm
If they do last 4000 -5000 hours that is good news ! Thinking back now I recall in a conversation with Don, telling me that the tubes should last a couple of years as his design heaters heat  the tube to not more than 40 % so they should last a few years.
Thanks for all your replies -Cheers !

High Specification small signal tubes (military, limited tolerance contracts such as those used in organs and other audio devices) have life expectancies of 10,000 hours on average (essentially meaning for every one that fails to last that long, another will last longer). General production tubes would fall into the 4,000+ hour category, and some of those would also be capable of the 10,000 hour lifetime, as military and contract tubes were just culled from ordinary production after testing; not every tube in the production run would go to the contracts.

Power tubes have shorter lifespans, but that again doesn't mean yours won't last longer. When the telecos switched to fibre between exchanges in the 1980's they were converting analog systems and many of those were still vacuum tube powered. There were more than a few instances where they replaced transmitting tubes (300B, etc) that had *never been replaced* since installation in the 1930's, and were still operating in spec, and let's not forget that means being powered up and operating on signal 24/7 for decades.

Similarly, international telephone cables (which needed tube-based repeaters every ... I forget the number but something like 40 miles) ... were laid on the ocean floor since installation, mostly, in the 1940's or earlier. Re-read that sentence if it doesn't sink in clearly.

I'm not suggesting we all will be so lucky, but the often cited fragility of tubes isn't supported by experience or evidence. We shouldn't forget that to a large extent before the modern tube resurgence in HiFi, these tubes were almost exclusively used in pro audio and stadium / touring music amplifiers, where they were ... ahem ... stressed.

Similarly, mic preamps and tube driven microphones in studio use, where there isn't a road crew trying to move the gear as fast as possible (versus as gently as possible) tend to last a very long time. If Jimmy Page's Supro had tubes that lasted 4,000 hours, so to speak, I think it's fair to say you can expect some decent life from a home system.

Where the HiFi tube life rears it's head is due to the fact that tube degeneration is progressive (although the curve is flat for a very long time) and we tend to replace sooner than absolutely necessary. Now if only the capacitors in all those solid state amps from the 70's lasted as long ...
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 5 Feb 2018, 08:33 pm
High Specification small signal tubes (military, limited tolerance contracts such as those used in organs and other audio devices) have life expectancies of 10,000 hours on average (essentially meaning for every one that fails to last that long, another will last longer). General production tubes would fall into the 4,000+ hour category, and some of those would also be capable of the 10,000 hour lifetime, as military and contract tubes were just culled from ordinary production after testing; not every tube in the production run would go to the contracts.

Power tubes have shorter lifespans, but that again doesn't mean yours won't last longer. When the telecos switched to fibre between exchanges in the 1980's they were converting analog systems and many of those were still vacuum tube powered. There were more than a few instances where they replaced transmitting tubes (300B, etc) that had *never been replaced* since installation in the 1930's, and were still operating in spec, and let's not forget that means being powered up and operating on signal 24/7 for decades.

Similarly, international telephone cables (which needed tube-based repeaters every ... I forget the number but something like 40 miles) ... were laid on the ocean floor since installation, mostly, in the 1940's or earlier. Re-read that sentence if it doesn't sink in clearly.

I'm not suggesting we all will be so lucky, but the often cited fragility of tubes isn't supported by experience or evidence. We shouldn't forget that to a large extent before the modern tube resurgence in HiFi, these tubes were almost exclusively used in pro audio and stadium / touring music amplifiers, where they were ... ahem ... stressed.

Similarly, mic preamps and tube driven microphones in studio use, where there isn't a road crew trying to move the gear as fast as possible (versus as gently as possible) tend to last a very long time. If Jimmy Page's Supro had tubes that lasted 4,000 hours, so to speak, I think it's fair to say you can expect some decent life from a home system.

Where the HiFi tube life rears it's head is due to the fact that tube degeneration is progressive (although the curve is flat for a very long time) and we tend to replace sooner than absolutely necessary. Now if only the capacitors in all those solid state amps from the 70's lasted as long ...


Thank you
one learns something every day thanks to forum members like you. :thumb:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Pryso on 5 Feb 2018, 11:23 pm
A funny story about tube life.

A good buddy and audio mentor (he had both electronics and recording experience background) told me shortly after we met that he was giving up on tubes.  It bothered him knowing that every time he turned on a component that the performance was slightly compromised from the last time he turned it on, even if he didn't hear that change.

He then experimented with building SS amps for a couple of years, but then returned to tubes.  His SS efforts simply didn't provide the same musical satisfaction as he'd known with tube gear.  He finally accepted that at some point, yes tubes would need replacement, but the trouble and end satisfaction made it all worthwhile.  :thumb:
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Wig on 7 Feb 2018, 05:29 am
You had a LM 508? Why did you get rid of it? I'd love to have a 845 SET amp but most of them are ridiculously expensive

I shall let you soon but the independent and fully regulated power supplies, parts quality, auto bias and Don's outstanding knowledge of tube circuitry made it an easy choice; the Kootenay will have slam on both ends of the spectrum where SET are not known to have but they do conjure up a very organic presentation with good clarity and spooky imaging.

Wig :)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 7 Feb 2018, 05:45 am
Hey there, gang.

This will be short because I’m really digging my sound now. I guess this is a teaser or an update - you choose.

I’ve been aggressively burning in my amp now that it’s sitting beside my Model 2 preamp. I’m adding 8 to 12 hours each day in two to three sessions (turning off between sessions). Of course I’m not listening intently non-stop, but I’m always listening to it in the background. I’ll step in for a few songs and go do stuff only to return later for a couple more songs.

I’ll guess my amp is now up to about 70 hours, and I’m noticing an improvement in the midrange. Yesterday was upper midrange, but today is lower midrange that stands out. Different songs yesterday and today, so not a great comparison.

I’ve repositioned my speakers three times already, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I move them another few times before I’m happy with their positions. They’re 5’ 4” off the front walls and 8.5’ apart. My listening chair is almost 10 ft from each speaker. The room is untreated. My wife is 5000 miles away, so there are zero WAF issues.  :thumb:

If you’re near Corvallis, Oregon, feel free to stop by for a listen.

I’ll post again in a few days with more information.

Am I happy? Oh, hell yes.

Peace.
Enjoy life!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 7 Feb 2018, 06:24 am
Hey there, gang.

This will be short because I’m really digging my sound now. I guess this is a teaser or an update - you choose.

I’ve been aggressively burning in my amp now that it’s sitting beside my Model 2 preamp. I’m adding 8 to 12 hours each day in two to three sessions (turning off between sessions). Of course I’m not listening intently non-stop, but I’m always listening to it in the background. I’ll step in for a few songs and go do stuff only to return later for a couple more songs.

I’ll guess my amp is now up to about 70 hours, and I’m noticing an improvement in the midrange. Yesterday was upper midrange, but today is lower midrange that stands out. Different songs yesterday and today, so not a great comparison.

I’ve repositioned my speakers three times already, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I move them another few times before I’m happy with their positions. They’re 5’ 4” off the front walls and 8.5’ apart. My listening chair is almost 10 ft from each speaker. The room is untreated. My wife is 5000 miles away, so there are zero WAF issues.  :thumb:

If you’re near Corvallis, Oregon, feel free to stop by for a listen.

I’ll post again in a few days with more information.

Am I happy? Oh, hell yes.

Peace.
Enjoy life!


 :)





Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: msommers on 8 Feb 2018, 05:00 am
Michael, would you be able to post a photo of your kt88 at night turned on?!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 8 Feb 2018, 07:42 am
Using my iPhone, the result was nearly useless.

The ‘glow’ from the KT88 tubes is very subdued. This is not a McIntosh amp not is it a salt lamp. [I realize you weren’t suggesting it is.] The KT88 tubes give off a subtle orange glow that is not bright enough that you will be able to see where your feet are landing. I have an overhead light that can be adjusted to very dim that allows me to make certain I won’t step on something or someone.

My preamp is even dimmer than my amp. The 6SN7 tubes are nearly black. Hell. The three 6SN7 tubes in the amp are pitch black.

If I had a proper camera, I could probably take a long duration photo that would artificially create a brighter effect.

I don’t know about other folks, but the glow never entered into my thoughts when I considered buying this amp. To me, this Kootenay120 is essentially the same as an ARC or VAC top of the line KT88 amp for half the price.

Perhaps, another Kootenay120 owner with a better camera can supply a superior photo.

Michael
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: msommers on 8 Feb 2018, 03:35 pm
No worries, more curious than anything. I think I'm putting a deposit down for the power amp.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: screener on 8 Feb 2018, 05:12 pm
Michael, would you be able to post a photo of your kt88 at night turned on?!

Later tonight I'll take a few photos and try to post them.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: screener on 9 Feb 2018, 01:54 am
Sorry guys.
My uploading skills can't take the image from my phone to an original size photo on this site.



Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: JakeJ on 9 Feb 2018, 02:21 am
Are you uploading directly from the iPhone?  The site will take almost any size image and automagically reduce it to the pre-programmed file size constraints.  Otherwise you'll need an app on the phone to manipulate the image.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: JerryM on 9 Feb 2018, 02:30 am
This is the photo, yes?  :thumb:

(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=175812&size=large)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: msommers on 9 Feb 2018, 02:37 am
OH YES!

Cheers!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: screener on 9 Feb 2018, 01:56 pm
Are you uploading directly from the iPhone?  The site will take almost any size image and automagically reduce it to the pre-programmed file size constraints.  Otherwise you'll need an app on the phone to manipulate the image.

I took the photo with my phone and sent to my PC. From there I saved it in my favorites. Then placed it in my gallery. Couldn't get the original size photo to post here.

Thanks JerryM for the photo.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 9 Feb 2018, 04:13 pm
I’m jealous of that glow. I want to exchange my amp for one with a better glow!  :lol:

Actually, my amp’s glow is very similar. On my amp, I think there’s less glow where the light reflects off the top.

My amp is nearing the 100 hour mark. I’m still not too wrapped up in how it sounds because I know the Jupiter Cu caps take a long time to burn in. Sometimes it sounds spooky good and sometimes not so good as burn in goes thru its stages. This reminds me of my burning in a DAC that would occasionally sound downright tinny in the 80 to 100 hours range, but sounded delicious once it passed 200 hours.  Aldcoll will stop by in the next few days for a good hard listen. With his help I’ll be able to better position the speakers.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: msommers on 9 Feb 2018, 04:15 pm
I'm putting my KT88 order in today.

You added Jupiter caps to your KT88 amp or preamp?
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: mresseguie on 9 Feb 2018, 04:26 pm
I'm putting my KT88 order in today.

You added Jupiter caps to your KT88 amp or preamp?

Oops! Hehehe. I’m still waking up.  :duh: The Jupiter caps are in my preamp. Thanks for catching that. I’m not entirely sure what all requires burning in on my amp. I’ll email Don for an answer and repost it here.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: msommers on 9 Feb 2018, 04:28 pm
Ahh thanks that makes more sense!  :thumb:

The output caps will take the longest and those ones are longer than a lot (Duelands as well). 200 hours and you're over the hump forever.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 9 Feb 2018, 07:16 pm
I wish there were an easy way for me to compare my wonderful all Class A power Pioneer M-22 solid state amp to Don's amp. My 2 channel systems sounds awesome right now and spending $3200 without knowing what improvement I might get is difficult to justify.

Does anyone on here in California have one of Don's amps?
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: msommers on 9 Feb 2018, 07:27 pm
Well in 12-16 weeks I can tell you how it compares to a XA30.5 Pass Labs. Deposit down :thumb:

Sadly, had to give up my PrimaLuna preamp to make this happen but I've been very curious about going back to tubes and finally after considering a lot of tube power amp designs (from one-man shops to large corps) at various price points, Don's design and value convinced me to take the risk unheard. The PS Audio DS Jr. preamp will have to suffice for volume control for now.
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 14 Feb 2018, 08:55 pm
That is a long time to wait!! You will certainly want an active tube-based preamp again at some point and I know which one I would get if I were you!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube inexpensive isolation tweak
Post by: A_shah on 18 Feb 2018, 08:50 pm
ON a whim I decided to use SVS Soundpath subwoofer Isolation  system under my DS-2 to see if it would work I had these sitting in my garage since I had sold my old subwoofer , well what do you know it did change the Sound Quality and presentation for the better High's and Mids just sound very clear and crisp , and focused
(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=176351)
 these are only $49.95 from Amazon or from SVS free shipping and qualify for their 45 day return policy
(http://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=176349)
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: Speed Racer on 20 Feb 2018, 05:45 am
Those isolation devices are not exactly or even remotely attractive or inconspicuous!

I'll stick with the Herbie's Tenderfoot!
Title: Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
Post by: A_shah on 20 Feb 2018, 06:45 am
Those isolation devices are not exactly or even remotely attractive or inconspicuous!

I'll stick with the Herbie's Tenderfoot!

I agree ! they are ugly but robust !( really they don't look that bad  and  they seem to work very well  :lol: really they do ! I also have a set of Lou Hinkley DID 's they sit under my PS Audio DirectStream with all their ball bearing glory and my wife and son laughing at me  :smoke: :jester:
Now i need to get some Herbie's Tenderfoot , Ok maybe I will think about them , just wanted to share a cheap tweak that seems to work. for now I will leave these big fat pods under the Pre- and enjoy the music.  thank you ! Asghar