Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review

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Wig

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #240 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

A_shah

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #241 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

JackD

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #242 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.

A_shah

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #243 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 !

Wig

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #244 on: 9 Nov 2017, 10:35 pm »
The Kootenay 120 is the KT88 amp that Don Sachs has recently begun selling. Pics coming....










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

Wig

Speed Racer

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #245 on: 10 Nov 2017, 12:07 am »
I want one of those amps!

richidoo

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #246 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!

Wig

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #247 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

A_shah

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #248 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



mresseguie

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #249 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

mresseguie

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #250 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:

Wig

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #251 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

A_shah

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #252 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
« Last Edit: 11 Nov 2017, 03:43 am by A_shah »

dls123

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #253 on: 10 Nov 2017, 04:03 pm »
Hi all,
Sorry I haven't been on here for quite some time, but I have about a 12 week queue of things to build and am making my way down the list.   I had trouble getting wooden cases for a couple of months because we had a very smokey summer around here with all of the nearby fires and the woodworker who makes them for me basically didn't make any for about 6 weeks.  So I am working my way through the backlog now that I have cases. 

The Kootenay 120 amp is the latest, and probably final iteration of my KT88 amp.  I have been tweaking it for several years now and I think it is done.  It sounds just like the line stage, big, bold, incredibly detailed, yet never bright (once the caps run in for 100 hours).  It sounds this way for several reasons.  First, the power supply is insanely good.  It features very fast Cree diodes which are filtered by a large film capacitor.  This feeds a separate fully regulated power supply for each channel.   The power supply is easily 30% larger than it needs to be to clip a pair of KT88 tubes.   The amp also has a fully automatic biasing system.  It is still fixed bias, which sounds far better than cathode bias, but the system adjusts the bias of each output tube constantly.  At power up the tubes get full negative bias, which means they are essentially off and just heating.  After 60 seconds the bias is adjusted slowly up to the operating point over about 30 seconds.  So the tubes get a soft start and will last longer.  There is nothing to adjust.  You can plug any 4 KT88 tubes in and the amp will bias them.   The combination of the perfect bias and the regulated high voltage supply means the operating point of the tubes is constant and never varies with wall voltage.  This gives a very detailed sound with incredibly good bass and lower midrange articulation.   Once you have heard an amp with a fully regulated power supply you find it hard to listen to a regular one.   That is why the preamp sounds so good as well, since it features dual independent regulated high voltage supplies as well.  So the amp sounds a lot like the preamp and the combination is pretty good.  It is what I listen to....

The amp also sounds great because the front end features all 6SN7 type tubes, the coupling caps are ridiculously good, the input tube has a regulated 6 V DC filament supply, and those toroid transformers are wonderful.  Toroid output transformers are fantastic, but only if they are perfectly balanced.   My amp has an AC balance adjustment for each channel so I can balance the two tubes perfectly.  The result is an amplifier with a big, bold, rich sound, and incredible micro detail, that never sounds bright.  Customers tell me they hear things in their recordings they have never heard before with other amps. 

Sorry the queue is so long, but I am working my way through.

cheers,
Don

A_shah

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  • Posts: 96
Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #254 on: 10 Nov 2017, 09:27 pm »
Hi all,
Sorry I haven't been on here for quite some time, but I have about a 12 week queue of things to build and am making my way down the list.   I had trouble getting wooden cases for a couple of months because we had a very smokey summer around here with all of the nearby fires and the woodworker who makes them for me basically didn't make any for about 6 weeks.  So I am working my way through the backlog now that I have cases. 

The Kootenay 120 amp is the latest, and probably final iteration of my KT88 amp.  I have been tweaking it for several years now and I think it is done.  It sounds just like the line stage, big, bold, incredibly detailed, yet never bright (once the caps run in for 100 hours).  It sounds this way for several reasons.  First, the power supply is insanely good.  It features very fast Cree diodes which are filtered by a large film capacitor.  This feeds a separate fully regulated power supply for each channel.   The power supply is easily 30% larger than it needs to be to clip a pair of KT88 tubes.   The amp also has a fully automatic biasing system.  It is still fixed bias, which sounds far better than cathode bias, but the system adjusts the bias of each output tube constantly.  At power up the tubes get full negative bias, which means they are essentially off and just heating.  After 60 seconds the bias is adjusted slowly up to the operating point over about 30 seconds.  So the tubes get a soft start and will last longer.  There is nothing to adjust.  You can plug any 4 KT88 tubes in and the amp will bias them.   The combination of the perfect bias and the regulated high voltage supply means the operating point of the tubes is constant and never varies with wall voltage.  This gives a very detailed sound with incredibly good bass and lower midrange articulation.   Once you have heard an amp with a fully regulated power supply you find it hard to listen to a regular one.   That is why the preamp sounds so good as well, since it features dual independent regulated high voltage supplies as well.  So the amp sounds a lot like the preamp and the combination is pretty good.  It is what I listen to....

The amp also sounds great because the front end features all 6SN7 type tubes, the coupling caps are ridiculously good, the input tube has a regulated 6 V DC filament supply, and those toroid transformers are wonderful.  Toroid output transformers are fantastic, but only if they are perfectly balanced.   My amp has an AC balance adjustment for each channel so I can balance the two tubes perfectly.  The result is an amplifier with a big, bold, rich sound, and incredible micro detail, that never sounds bright.  Customers tell me they hear things in their recordings they have never heard before with other amps. 

Sorry the queue is so long, but I am working my way through.

cheers,
Don

Don
Welcome back, it is good to see you come back once in a while , with your input and feed back no question! that is one beautiful looking power tube amplifier , the woodwork simply looks  exquisite ! I am sure it sounds the same , I am very happy  with the mod's you made to  my unit the Bass is really coming into being now, Like my speakers ,which are very resolving  I am getting a PS Audio DirectStream DAC which is supposed  to be  very resolving also,  it will be used with the DS-2 in the equipment chain.
Have Happy Holidays

dls123

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #255 on: 11 Nov 2017, 01:37 am »
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


Hi Michael,
Glad you like it.  It will sound much better in another 75-100 hours as the output tubes and the caps run in.  They sound a wee bit bright at first, but after 100 hours the detail will remain and all brightness will fade away.  Bass will improve as well.  As for the preamp, really, do something else in Taiwan.  That amp is voiced to go with the matching preamp and when you hear the combination you will know why...  :)

Wig

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #256 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

A_shah

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review/PS AudioDirect Stream DAC
« Reply #257 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



 morning  I guess my quest for a DAC is over for now.
     

mresseguie

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #258 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)