too much gain

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Shredder

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too much gain
« on: 19 Aug 2017, 03:44 pm »
Morning. I use a Cary SLP-05 active pre with my Atlantic DAC and have way too much gain. To address that issue, I have been using Endler passive attenuators between the pre and my power amp (Modwright KWA 1050SE). However, while the attenuators solve the gain issue and  reduce the snr, they also impair the dynamics.

Lampi can reduce the gain by reducing the output from 3v to 2v. I know that Lampi has concluded that 3v sounds best and am worried about making this change. Has anyone tried this? Will it adversely effect SQ? Any idea how much the gain is reduced with the change in voltage output?

I know that some people use a passive pre with their Lampis. I clearly do not need the gain of an active, but I love the sound of the Cary. Anyone know of a passive that has a tubey/euphonic sound? From reviews I have read, it sounds like those are not traits of the passive.

Any input will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


DaveC113

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Re: too much gain
« Reply #1 on: 19 Aug 2017, 03:53 pm »
Can you post the amount of gain your pre and amp provide, and what sensitivity your speakers are?

I'd guess you might want to look for a pre with a zero-gain tube buffer.

Shredder

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Re: too much gain
« Reply #2 on: 19 Aug 2017, 04:06 pm »
MW has 26 db gain, Cary manual says 8db gain in balanced, Stereophile review measured 16db.

Shredder

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Re: too much gain
« Reply #3 on: 19 Aug 2017, 04:07 pm »
Speakers are Aerial Model 9s, 90 db.

Tubeburner

Re: too much gain
« Reply #4 on: 19 Aug 2017, 04:27 pm »
Too much gain has been a problem with Lampizator since the Gen 4 and the reason I do not own one today. I tried the "resistor fix" Lampi suggested and it did little to fix the gain. The best they could offer was to add their preamp to the dac. I'll leave it at that......

Shredder

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Re: too much gain
« Reply #5 on: 19 Aug 2017, 04:34 pm »
Hmmm, anyone have a different experience or additional ideas?

DaveC113

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Re: too much gain
« Reply #6 on: 19 Aug 2017, 04:48 pm »
A pre w/o gain should do it. The difference between 2 and 3 V from the source isn't that much, around 3dB.

Shredder

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Re: too much gain
« Reply #7 on: 19 Aug 2017, 04:54 pm »
A passive may be the way to go. Any ideas on a passive that equals the Cary?

DaveC113

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Re: too much gain
« Reply #8 on: 19 Aug 2017, 05:12 pm »
A passive may be the way to go. Any ideas on a passive that equals the Cary?

Tortuga LDR or Bent TAP-X autoformers seem to be the best way to go and will definitely have a much nice attenuator vs the Cary, but you might want an active pre with no gain... I'm really not sure what to suggest there. Tortuga does have a tube buffer but not in the same chassis as the LDR if I remember right, so that's an option but I hate adding chassis for no great reason.

JerryM

Re: too much gain
« Reply #9 on: 19 Aug 2017, 05:26 pm »
You should call Frank Van Alstine and see if he'll whip you up one of these:

I could build a passive preamplifier (volume control in box) with four sets of inputs, one set of outputs, and a precision 100K ohm stepped volume control for $200.

It could use the same basic chassis as we have done for the HumDinger, just different holes for jacks and controls.

It would not sound good though, not expensive enough.   :(

Frank Van Alstine

Elizabeth

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Re: too much gain
« Reply #10 on: 19 Aug 2017, 05:33 pm »
My Bryston BP-26 to Bryston 4B-SST² has the same problem with CD/DAC sources.
The real problem is the fact the CD standard is 'pro' standard, not 'consumer' standard.
Consumer output standard is 1/4 to 1/2 volt.
Pro is 2 volts up.
So any preamp design from old school consumer era standards will have too much gain with a damn CD pro standard.

Plus the fact many CD/DAC have even MORE than 2 volts out. Some as much as 4 volts

So this is an indutry issue IMO.
I think the CD standard really went wit hthe higher voltage to be louder than LP or cassette on purpose.
(IE louder sounds better to the average schmuck)

mresseguie

Re: too much gain
« Reply #11 on: 19 Aug 2017, 06:01 pm »
Shredder,

Have you heard any passive preamps with 6SN7 tubes? I don't consider them to be tuby or euphonic sounding. They are clear sounding with a wide and deep soundstage. I'm biased because I own such a preamp, so YMMV.
My Model has left and right gain dials to deal with too much gain.

I do not know how it compares to the Cary.

http://www.dsachsconsulting.com/custom%20line%20stage.html

There's quite a long thread in the tube circle that discusses Don Sachs products.

Michael

Shredder

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Re: too much gain
« Reply #12 on: 19 Aug 2017, 06:03 pm »
All interesting ideas. I had heard of the tortuga, but missed the tube buffer.

I have asked Cary if they can eliminate the gain. That would be the perfect solution as I love the Cary per.

dminches

Re: too much gain
« Reply #13 on: 19 Aug 2017, 06:04 pm »
This is a high quality passive pre https://ciaudio.com/product/plc%E2%80%A21-mkii-remote-passive-line-controller/.  Single-ended only.

Shredder

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Re: too much gain
« Reply #14 on: 19 Aug 2017, 06:15 pm »
The Cary also has gain dials but they also adversely effect dynamics.

kernelbob

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Re: too much gain
« Reply #15 on: 19 Aug 2017, 07:07 pm »
I'm using a Tortuga LDRxB-v2 with a Lampizator Golden Gate DAC.  The LDRxB has three sets of balanced inputs and one set of single ended inputs.  Outputs are two sets of balanced and one set of single ended.  I'm driving a biamped system with a tube amp on top and a pair of Spectron monoblocks on the bass.  I use a second Tortuga, the LDR1B to attenuate the feed to the bass amps to match the level of the midrange/treble amps.

I've not heard the Tortuga tube buffer, but unless you're using power amps that have extremely low input impedance, I don't see a need for it, but then again I've not heard the buffer.  I've compared the LDRxB and LDR1B with several five figure preamps and it easily outperformed all of them.

The Tortugas don't sound like any passive that I've tried.  They have all the dynamics you'd want.  They're the only passive controller that I've heard that has deep, powerful, and articulated bass that I only previously found in active devices.  The soundstage is very wide and deep.  Finally, instruments have a very realistic palpability that, when mated with a top notch power amp will amaze you.  My Tortuga also has several features that I would not now want to be without-- adjustable input impedance and absolute phase inversion control, both from the remote.

I would recommend that you spring for the wiring upgrade.  Have I left out anything?

Best,
Robert

kernelbob

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Re: too much gain
« Reply #16 on: 19 Aug 2017, 07:21 pm »
By the way, my Lampizator Golden Gate DAC is set for 5V output.  I considered asking Lukas to set it to a higher level.  He said that he could set it to any output reference level that I wanted, but that he thought it sounded best set to 5V.  I decided to go with his suggestion and am very happy with my system's performance using the Golden Gate / Tortuga combination.

I've dialed in the input impedance of the Tortuga to five settings between 79 and 89 kohms per phase.  The Tortuga's input impedance can be set to any value from 1k to 99k in the single ended units and that range for each phase in the balanced.  You can save any five settings.  I switch between 79, 82, 85, 87, 89 kohms.  Those may seem so close as to sound the same, but there are subtle differences in the sound betwen them.  Different recordings sound best with different impedance values.

Robert

Shredder

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Re: too much gain
« Reply #17 on: 19 Aug 2017, 07:46 pm »
With the 30 day home trial, sounds like I should give the Tortuga a shot. No risk.

BTW, how long does it take to break it in?

opnly bafld

Re: too much gain
« Reply #18 on: 19 Aug 2017, 07:57 pm »
Can you use the Endlers before the Cary?
Attenuation before the active pre works better for me.

kernelbob

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Re: too much gain
« Reply #19 on: 19 Aug 2017, 08:11 pm »
My Tortuga took a day to sound halfway decent.  A week to sound like it was approaching a plateau.  I've had mine for a couple of years now, using only input #1.  When I first installed the unit, I tried the different inputs and they sounded the same, so I settled on input #1 and never changed it.

I was switching some cables around recently and accidentally plugged into input #2.  It didn't sound close to #1 now.  So, the unit will continue to improve over the long term with use.  I didn't notice the gradual improvement until switching to an input that had little to no break-in.

For a trial, I would give it at least a week or two with 24/7 signal (you can turn off your power amp when not listening).  Dynamic music with lots of very sharp transients will help with break-in.

Are you looking for a balanced or single ended unit?