Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review

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dls123

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #260 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:)

Speed Racer


Blueone302

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #262 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.

« Last Edit: 8 Dec 2017, 02:37 am by Blueone302 »

screener

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #263 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

Wig

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #264 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 :)

Speed Racer

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #265 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!!!

tdinut

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #266 on: 13 Dec 2017, 02:10 am »
Congratulations!

Wig

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #267 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 :)

A_shah

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #268 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

Speed Racer

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #269 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?

mresseguie

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #270 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!

 

A_shah

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #271 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

Speed Racer

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #272 on: 15 Dec 2017, 05:43 am »
It's done!





Wig

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #273 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


Wig

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #274 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

Speed Racer

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #275 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

A_shah

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #276 on: 15 Dec 2017, 09:24 am »
It's done!





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:

mresseguie

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #277 on: 15 Dec 2017, 09:38 am »
It's done!





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:

Speed Racer

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #278 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!

Speed Racer

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #279 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....