LDRx/LDRxB Passive Preamp Tour 2015 - Impressions

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jtwrace

LDRx/LDRxB Passive Preamp Tour 2015 - Impressions
« on: 15 Jan 2015, 07:35 pm »
The turtle has landed! 


All good! 
 


Turned on and passing signal
 




SlushPuppy

Re: LDRx/LDRxB Passive Preamp Tour 2015 - Impressions
« Reply #1 on: 15 Jan 2015, 07:45 pm »
That's a nice looking piece of gear. Congrats!

jtwrace

Re: LDRx/LDRxB Passive Preamp Tour 2015 - Impressions
« Reply #2 on: 15 Jan 2015, 08:26 pm »
OH, here's an update.   :o

TJHUB

Re: LDRx/LDRxB Passive Preamp Tour 2015 - Impressions
« Reply #3 on: 15 Jan 2015, 08:43 pm »
OH, here's an update.   :o

That's it??   Need to hear more.  I have a LDR3.v2 on preorder, and the suspense is killing me. 

jtwrace

Re: LDRx/LDRxB Passive Preamp Tour 2015 - Impressions
« Reply #4 on: 15 Jan 2015, 09:49 pm »
That's it??   Need to hear more.  I have a LDR3.v2 on preorder, and the suspense is killing me.
Patience grasshopper.  I just got it.  The pics were literally from UPS to my counter.  I've been listening non stop since.  Uh, here's another update - Keep your preorder.   ;)


Randy

Re: LDRx/LDRxB Passive Preamp Tour 2015 - Impressions
« Reply #5 on: 16 Jan 2015, 05:08 pm »
I love mine, but not the remote. The balance adjusting is awkward. You have to mute it first and then make the adjustment. Sonics? Awesome.

jtwrace

Re: LDRx/LDRxB Passive Preamp Tour 2015 - Impressions
« Reply #6 on: 16 Jan 2015, 09:12 pm »
First off, I want to thank Morten of Tortuga Audio for putting on a tour.  It does cost time and money so I'm thankful that he would be willing for us wankers to audition his LDR unit with no attachment.  So, Morten, thank you!
I'm pretty sure most know that I have a Fully Balanced Bent Audio TAP-X autoformer based unit which drives some NCore NC1200 based amps (1.5m cables between them).  I've been extremely happy with this setup and honestly think that it's really the way to go if someone wants absolute neutrality and quietness.  It really is that good not only objectively but subjectively to most. 

I heard the Volti system at RMAF 2014 and really fell in love with it.  It just sounded awesome.  There is no way to "hear" one component at a show like that IMO so really you're listening to the room and speakers in my view.  After having the Tortuga in my system I think I know one characteristic of that system though.  Yes, the Tortuga LDR. 

The Tortuga has detail, speed and all the lovely things that I'm used to.  In my subjective opinion it's slightly more forward but actually laid back.  It's a hard thing for me to describe.  Think gentle.  Odd, I know, but that's what I hear FWIW.  Having said that, it's not necessarily a bad thing but of course comparing to something you own and have heard for hours on end it stands out.  Some might find that inserting this piece of gear might be a way to "tame" their system if it's a bit hot.  I don't think that's the case as it just sounds good.  Really good.  In fact, while listening I totally forgot what the heck I was doing until I looked down and thought for a second what the hell are those blue lights?!  Oh yeah, the turtle is playing.  Duh! 

So, the question that many will ask or think about is simply, do I buy one?  Well, obviously nobody but you can decide that and I urge you to listen for yourself as Tortuga does have a generous 30 day policy.  For me, replacing my Bent probably doesn't make sense as I really like it and these two units are actually way more alike then they are different.  They are slightly different as noted though and it's enough to make me wonder if I would prefer it all the time rather than the few cuts that I actually did prefer it as it took the "edge" off.  Yes, sounds silly, I know.  Gosh I suck at this subjective stuff.   :)   If you need something and do not want to DIY then buy it.  Yes, it's that good and that simple IMO. If you can DIY there are other options but this would be the less expensive option I believe.  There is no doubt that the finished unit is expensive ($2900 after 1/5/15).  I can honestly say though even at $2900 this unit will easily blow away stuff that is 3x the cost.  Actually, come to think of it, I'm not sure what else one could want no matter the cost unless you want fancy aluminum cases and bragging rights.


In closing, there really isn't anything else for me to say.  The Tortuga is great.  It really is and I have no problem recommending it even more than before after it living in my system for a day.  The only two improvements I can say that would be nice.  The remote and the lack of "0" volume when turned down to "0".  The Apple remote is a low cost option.  Great.  I pressed the wrong button and jacked up the settings but luckily Morten actually picks up the phone and he had me back up and running in < 5 min. Maybe he can work a deal with John Chapman for his aluminum remote.  If not, I have no doubt that Morten could design his own for someone who was willing to pay the up-charge.  Perhaps the OE guys would like this.  Just a thought. 


At some point, I will need to DIY one because Morten is very smart and I like to support guys that put their heart into something.  Morten, you have a real winner here! 

Thanks again,
jtwrace

**DISCLAIMER**
This is my subjective opinion.  I wish I had more time and approval to get some objective data on this unit as I find that very important but for the sake of this tour, you got my opinion.   :D 

« Last Edit: 18 Jan 2015, 03:24 pm by jtwrace »

goskers

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Re: LDRx/LDRxB Passive Preamp Tour 2015 - Impressions
« Reply #7 on: 16 Jan 2015, 10:25 pm »
Someone frame this and make it a sticky as we have subjective comments out of Jason!! :o

Great write up for what looks like a solid product.

PeteG

Re: LDRx/LDRxB Passive Preamp Tour 2015 - Impressions
« Reply #8 on: 16 Jan 2015, 10:45 pm »
Jason, good write up. I do like the blue lights.

konut

Re: LDRx/LDRxB Passive Preamp Tour 2015 - Impressions
« Reply #9 on: 17 Jan 2015, 12:31 am »
Interesting comments thus far Jason. Does this version have the ability to change the input impedance? Have you tried changing it? What components are you feeding it? My suspicion is that if you can change the input impedance you will refine your experience.

tortugaranger

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Re: LDRx/LDRxB Passive Preamp Tour 2015 - Impressions
« Reply #10 on: 17 Jan 2015, 02:17 am »
Interesting comments thus far Jason. Does this version have the ability to change the input impedance? Have you tried changing it? What components are you feeding it? My suspicion is that if you can change the input impedance you will refine your experience.

The tour unit does not have adjustable input impedance. We are just now releasing that for single ended and have yet to work out the kinks for doing that with balanced configurations.

konut

Re: LDRx/LDRxB Passive Preamp Tour 2015 - Impressions
« Reply #11 on: 17 Jan 2015, 04:24 am »
Thanks for clearing that up Morten.

jtwrace

Re: LDRx/LDRxB Passive Preamp Tour 2015 - Impressions
« Reply #12 on: 18 Jan 2015, 03:30 pm »
Someone frame this and make it a sticky as we have subjective comments out of Jason!! :o

Great write up for what looks like a solid product.
Yes, very solid and it deserves the credit.  It's a DIYer's dream due to the cost/performance. 


Jason, good write up. I do like the blue lights.
OK, there is much more to it then blue lights.   ;)


Interesting comments thus far Jason. Does this version have the ability to change the input impedance? Have you tried changing it? What components are you feeding it? My suspicion is that if you can change the input impedance you will refine your experience.


No, but the bossman says...
The tour unit does not have adjustable input impedance. We are just now releasing that for single ended and have yet to work out the kinks for doing that with balanced configurations.


Also, I did make an edit to my review.  There was one thing I totally forgot to mention.  The volume when turned to "0".  I know this unit has a mute button but it's just one of those retentive things with me.  When I go to "0" I want ZERO volume.  Perhaps you can program the unit to when it goes to "0" it actually does auto mute.  This way it would be dead silent when the volume reads "0".  I'm sure most aren't bothered by it though.  What can I say...I'm a detail guy.   :oops:

tortugaranger

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Re: LDRx/LDRxB Passive Preamp Tour 2015 - Impressions
« Reply #13 on: 18 Jan 2015, 08:17 pm »
Also, I did make an edit to my review.  There was one thing I totally forgot to mention.  The volume when turned to "0".  I know this unit has a mute button but it's just one of those retentive things with me.  When I go to "0" I want ZERO volume.  Perhaps you can program the unit to when it goes to "0" it actually does auto mute.  This way it would be dead silent when the volume reads "0".  I'm sure most aren't bothered by it though.  What can I say...I'm a detail guy.   :oops:

This comment surprised me because I agree with Jason and by design hitting step zero should not only shut off the inputs but also put the LDRs in a state where nothing should be getting in let alone out.  :scratch:

That said, the tour LDRxB has a "work in progress" revision of the firmware that works but may still have some rough edges. Whether it meets the "dead silent" criteria at 0/mute may well be open to interpretation. To my ears I can't effectively hear any music when a single ended unit is at 0/mute. I will look into this with a balanced setup since they are inherently more complex and therefore it's easier to overlook some nuance.

Great review and great feedback!

Cheers,  :thumb:
Morten

jtwrace

Re: LDRx/LDRxB Passive Preamp Tour 2015 - Impressions
« Reply #14 on: 24 Jan 2015, 02:31 pm »
We need updates!  It's been a week...

jtwrace

Re: LDRx/LDRxB Passive Preamp Tour 2015 - Impressions
« Reply #15 on: 26 Jan 2015, 12:49 am »
We need updates!  It's been a week...
Guess not.

TJHUB

Re: LDRx/LDRxB Passive Preamp Tour 2015 - Impressions
« Reply #16 on: 31 Jan 2015, 02:32 pm »
Does anyone know what happened here?  Why did everything just stop after Jason?

tortugaranger

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Re: LDRx/LDRxB Passive Preamp Tour 2015 - Impressions
« Reply #17 on: 31 Jan 2015, 02:50 pm »
Does anyone know what happened here?  Why did everything just stop after Jason?

Cloudbaseracer (#2) is just now shipping the unit off to audiogoober (#3). No public comments from cloudbaseracer as yet. Although to be fair, there's no explicit obligation to post an opinion.

jtwrace

Re: LDRx/LDRxB Passive Preamp Tour 2015 - Impressions
« Reply #18 on: 31 Jan 2015, 03:32 pm »
Does anyone know what happened here?  Why did everything just stop after Jason?
What can I say?  I'm a hard act to follow.   ;) :P :oops: :lol:

jtsnead

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Re: LDRx/LDRxB Passive Preamp Tour 2015 - Impressions
« Reply #19 on: 3 Feb 2015, 12:45 am »
Ok it turns out I was third in line, I was wondering why I got an email saying I was getting a preamp from a non audio company :oops:

First why did I want to audition this unit well I have been bitten by the passive/buffer stage in the past starting with Gary Dodds (God Bless Gary a Great Person) 6h30 tube buffer with volume control it was and is still a great match with the ClassD dual mono amp I built with none other than jtwrace's case (which I still have and lend to friends so they can get a good taste of class d sound).

I live near a radio tower so I have always known that balanced cables/equipment would help quiet the stuff I do not want to hear. So I upgraded my phono stage to the LKV Phono 2-SB fully balanced, then got a Wyred 4 Sound STPSE (still have, might be selling soon), again thinking balanced all the way, but my ClassD amp did not have the balanced inputs never put hem in  :oops:

At the same time I have been reading about all the advancements in the class d amp camp, ncore 400, ncore1200, alaview and pascal. Did a lot of research and bought a pair of D Sonic M3-800M amps with balanced inputs (I did not feel like getting out my soldering iron), very nice up grade sound stage, warmer, quitter etc. So I had been listening with the STP and thought I really miss that Dodd buffer with the 6h30 so starting looking at balanced preamps with 6h30 tubes, it seemed like the best ones were AR and BAT, so I bought a AR LS17se balanced pre with 2 cryoed 6h30 tubes Whoa that was what I was looking for, I tell you I think the most important choice is how you control the in/out to your amps. Again balanced is a big advantage with me where I live.

I feel for me the set of tubes in my system is the cats meow! They add that extra sense of depth, height, vocal life and enjoyment.

Now early comparison to this little gem the Tortuga, if anything it reminds me of the STP very accurate, incredible soundstage, probably a little better depth than the 17se, bass is a tad deeper. The vocals are not as tall (or exaggerated, tubes?). You have to realize that this unit is below half the price of my pre. If you have a really nice tube amp this is your pre, granted with the right matching, I wish I heard this when I had my Rogue 100.

Listening to this evening to London Grammar, Portishead, Lamb, Tennis, Daft Punk and some Ella and Coltrane for reference

I will update once I listen to some vinyl, but I know what I hear pretty quickly

Thanks to Morten who I consider an industry leader that is confident enough in his design to send out a expensive piece of equipment for us audio nuts to talk about Honestly! Cheers! :thumb: