Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review

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A_shah

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #280 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:




mresseguie

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #281 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?

A_shah

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #282 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


deadhead

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #283 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.

dls123

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #284 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

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Blueone302

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #286 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 #287 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 #288 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 :)

dls123

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #289 on: 11 Dec 2017, 03:39 pm »
Hi all,
Working away and getting two more amps out the door.  I am sorry I am so slow.  I do one project at a time, and I listen to everything before it goes out.  I try to make each one a masterpiece and they are all hand built by me.   Thanks for the lovely reviews.   I just got a note from my old customer Louis, who has my preamp, and then 6 months later he ordered a power amp.  He has had the amp now for about 6 weeks or so.  Louis has the same speaker I do, the 15 inch Audio Nirvana full range Alnico classic driver mounted in a 5.6 cu ft. cabinet.  No crossovers..... just a speaker.  Sounds amazing.  We have different DACs and his may actually be a bit better than my gungnir multibit.   His comments about the PSVane KT88 are interesting.  I have had some trouble with those tubes and will not buy any more of them.   I now send amps out with either the Shuguang Golden Voice KT88 or the Shuguang Black Treasure KT88z. Both are excellent tubes.  The Golden Voice is really great in that amp.  Louis loved my preamp with his various SET amps, but wanted to get a push pull amp because he hadn't heard one in years.  I agree with him in that I have never really liked SETs for lack of top and bottom end.  Also, I think the 300b is a giant tone control, but what do I know:)

 Here is what he wrote me:

Quote
Now that things are fully broken in and working, I feel good about sharing some opinions.

The amp itself is a work of art. It sounds fantastic. Open and remarkably clear, it does an outstanding job where most tube amps have problems; lower mids and bottom end.

Highs are there and unetched in any way. The mids are almost as good as my SET amp. It is so close that I am not certain there really IS a difference. Lower mids and bass are exceptional. There is no thickening or fleshing out of the midrange. It is just there, naked for all to hear. The bass is simply amazing, clean, articulate and POWERFUL. A big change for someone used to SET’s. Overall I am more than extremely pleased with the amp. Oh, and the extra power is quite nice as well. It makes my Audio Nirvana’s dance with new purpose. Bravo for a job very well done.

Now onto KT88’s. This has been an education. I set the amp up as supplied with the Psvane KT88T-II tubes and broke everything in. It sounded great, but there were definite problems from the lower mids to the very bottom. The best way I can describe the sound with the Psvanes’s is thick. Not slow, but thick. Male voices seemed to drop about half an octave and female voices sounded very “throaty” and not quite right.

I subsequently installed a new quad of Golden Voice KT88+ tubes and things REALLY changed. The highs remained just smooth as with the Psvanes, but went up about half an octave higher. Not overly hot, not overly etched, just higher. 

The real difference between the two tubes is in the bottom. Male voices no longer have that “tv announcer” excess body. Women sound like women, not chain smokers. The deep bass is absolutely spectacular. Just right in depth and projection. Where the Psvanes produced too much energy in the deep bass, the GV+ don’t. Bass is deep, powerful. Impressive and NOT overdone. Even my non-audiophile (normal) friends noticed the difference between the two tubes. This says a lot about how good the Golden voice KT88+ tubes really are.

As I told you before, if you are willing to pay for it, Shuguang can do anything. These tubes prove this to be the case.

Speed Racer

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #290 on: Today at 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 #291 on: Today at 02:10 am »
Congratulations!