LDR300x Preamp | Passive & Active Versions

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Mjw21a

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Re: LDR300x Preamp | Passive & Active Versions
« Reply #60 on: 19 Oct 2021, 01:21 am »
Ah, I changed the Supra CAT8 cable on my Roon end point for an Acoustic Revieve R-AL1 and I've the additional clarity I was looking for without losing any of the naturalness of the TL072. Basically the Tortuga was just letting through a slight muddiness caused by the Supra CAT8.

I kind of wish I hadn't bothered ordering the Sonic Imagery 994Enh-Ticha OPAMP now as it's just unnecessary. I'll still try it when I've the DIP8 extender but I can't imagine things improving from here.

I'll get a Synergistic Research Orange Quantum fuse for my DAC now instead, maybe for my amp and Mutec as well.
« Last Edit: 19 Oct 2021, 08:27 am by Mjw21a »

Mjw21a

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Re: LDR300x Preamp | Passive & Active Versions
« Reply #61 on: 19 Oct 2021, 08:27 am »
Ok, I received my DIP8 extender and have installed the Sonic Imagery 994Enh-Ticha OPAMP. First impressions are a slight improvement in clarity and dynamics, though without giving up the musicality and naturalness that the TL072 brought. It shares a similar richness as well with better top end extension and seems to have slightly better bass. Considering that this is the benefit it brings with zero burn in I expect it should continue to improve, though you never know in this hobby. It could go the other way as well. I'll report back in a few weeks and see if it remains installed in the 300x. I’ve been tricked into thinking things are better before.

I note this OPAMP seems to have less gain. It’s clearly a little constricted just now too as the stock OPAMP started off. It has potential though. That said, things were sounding so good with the fully burned in TL072 that I might not have the patience to wait for burn in.  At a certain point of enjoyment, what’s the point of potential improvement when it’s already incredible? Course I might just wait too. :)
« Last Edit: 22 Oct 2021, 12:37 pm by Mjw21a »

Mjw21a

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Re: LDR300x Preamp | Passive & Active Versions
« Reply #62 on: 24 Oct 2021, 03:41 am »
One thing that is really noticeable with this OPAMP vs any other I’ve tried is the only blackness sound comes from where there’s no sound in the recording (basically modem digital recordings with no tape hiss). It’s particularly striking when instruments start on one speaker to be followed by other instruments on the other. I’ve never heard anything like it before. That said it has started a bit warm and can sound muddy at lower playback volume though nothing noticeable at higher levels. More burn in required before I can judge.

Still, there’sa certain colouration that the TL072 has which was very pleasant that I miss, though the improvements in nearly every other area make the Sonic Imagery 994Enh-Ticha discrete OPAMP the better sounding OPAMP but it’s still a tough choice. I may never be able to decide until I switch the TL072 back in a few weeks.

EDIT: Ordered an Orange discrete JFET OPAMP to try with the Tortuga. It seems that the Sonic Imagery 994Enh-Ticha is that bit better than the stock TL072 in every aria, but lacks that special sense of being at the performance. That magical element.

I figured maybe I need to try another FET based solution so the Orange Discrete OPAMP is now in the way.

 This really says a lot on the choice of the TL072 that to my ears it’s still ahead of some very nice discrete OPAMPS.

I’ve swapped the TL072 back in and will see if it still has that special something in comparison when I have a listen later tonight. :)

EDIT2: Despite everything the 994 does right, the TL072 remains more lifelike giving the impression of being there at the performance. The 994 can only do this with the very best recordings. I think it may be more accurate however I prefer the presentation of the TL072. I think I’ll try the Orange JFET discrete OPAMP though after that I’m done trying different OPAMPS irrespective of what sounds best so it will be down between the Orange and TL072.
« Last Edit: 24 Oct 2021, 01:20 pm by Mjw21a »

tortugaranger

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Re: LDR300x Preamp | Passive & Active Versions
« Reply #63 on: 24 Oct 2021, 02:22 pm »
One thing that is really noticeable with this OPAMP vs any other I’ve tried is the only blackness sound comes from where there’s no sound in the recording (basically modem digital recordings with no tape hiss). It’s particularly striking when instruments start on one speaker to be followed by other instruments on the other. I’ve never heard anything like it before. That said it has started a bit warm and can sound muddy at lower playback volume though nothing noticeable at higher levels. More burn in required before I can judge.

Still, there’sa certain colouration that the TL072 has which was very pleasant that I miss, though the improvements in nearly every other area make the Sonic Imagery 994Enh-Ticha discrete OPAMP the better sounding OPAMP but it’s still a tough choice. I may never be able to decide until I switch the TL072 back in a few weeks.

EDIT: Ordered an Orange discrete JFET OPAMP to try with the Tortuga. It seems that the Sonic Imagery 994Enh-Ticha is that bit better than the stock TL072 in every aria, but lacks that special sense of being at the performance. That magical element.

I figured maybe I need to try another FET based solution so the Orange Discrete OPAMP is now in the way.

 This really says a lot on the choice of the TL072 that to my ears it’s still ahead of some very nice discrete OPAMPS.

I’ve swapped the TL072 back in and will see if it still has that special something in comparison when I have a listen later tonight. :)

EDIT2: Despite everything the 994 does right, the TL072 remains more lifelike giving the impression of being there at the performance. The 994 can only do this with the very best recordings. I think it may be more accurate however I prefer the presentation of the TL072. I think I’ll try the Orange JFET discrete OPAMP though after that I’m done trying different OPAMPS irrespective of what sounds best so it will be down between the Orange and TL072.

Interesting feedback/info. In my view, the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, differences with various audio op amps (and other components) more often than not comes down to personal preferences rather than some objective continuum of good, better, and best. The only way to develop a keen sense of this is to do what you're doing - try different op amps - live with their sound for a while - and then switch to another op amp and give that one some time. Yes, it's  an inherently imperfect subjective approach but since we experience music subjectively (our ears/brain do not "hear" the same as measurement instrumentation) the question of which is "better" objectively (measured results) isn't particularly meaningful except as an engineering design guide/reference.  This is evident in the many online audio forum debates over which op amp is preferred in audio applications - yes, there's the collection of usual preferred suspects but rarely is there a consistent overall winner across all hardware designs.

Said differently, there's the op amp that should sound the best (measures best), and then there's the op amp that you enjoy listening to the most. They're rarely the same. Makes for a fun hobby. And endless debate.

Mjw21a

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Re: LDR300x Preamp | Passive & Active Versions
« Reply #64 on: 25 Oct 2021, 05:28 am »
Yes, the differences between OPAMPS are far more noticeable with extended listening over time. To date your choice of TL072 is the ebst I've heard by a fair margin. I'll give the Orange discrete JFET OPAMP a try though I rather suspect at this point that my favourite will remain the TL072. Interestingly I found the LDR300x V3 a bit dull though once burned in it's just gorgeous.  :)

EDISt: Damn, I just can’t figure out which OPAMP I prefer. With many recordings the 994 is clearly better sounding….. especially with Billie Holliday, John Lee Hooker etc. furthermore I suspect it’s still burning in a bit….. On the other hand the top end of the TL072 is just beautiful.

 So yeah the 994 is back in again. More burn in needed maybe?

Another difference I’m noticing is that the 994 is wonderfully open sounding whereas the TL072 has a slightly tube like effect going on, tough sounding less open than the best tubes. The TL072 is a bit brighter and tends to accentuate sibilants a bit more whereas the 994 is a little warmer which hurts playback clarity at lower volume in comparison. With some luck the slight warmth will die down a bit though now I notice it perhaps I can switch around some of my RCA leads to get the desired effect. Guess I’ll see.
« Last Edit: 25 Oct 2021, 09:15 pm by Mjw21a »

Mjw21a

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Re: LDR300x Preamp | Passive & Active Versions
« Reply #65 on: 27 Oct 2021, 01:31 pm »
It’s time I mention that I’m powering my unit with a 12v 15a Teradak linear power supply. I mention this as tonight I replaced the standard DC umbilical with a new umbilical using Oyaide DC plugs and pure silver writing.  The initial change is very constricted sounding though I know that will improve in time. I then switched the 2A fast blow fuse for an Aucharm branded 1a pure silver fast blow fuse which really had an enormous impact on overall sound massively opening up the soundstage. Initially sound was tilted towards treble and bass disappeared though over the past few hours the sound has started to balance out. The constricted sound immediately disappeared as well which I found interesting. This is not an expensive fuse by any means. It tells me the unit is sensitive to the quality of supplied power which was an unexpected result given that this unit has no gain. I should try the stock switching supply one of the days for comparison.

I’ve also ordered a Staccato OSH OPAMP which I’m pretty keen to try. Everything I’ve read indicates that it will at least equal the Sonic Imagery 994Enh-Ticha so it will be very interesting to try. Some of the descriptions I've read could as easily have been about the 994. The Orange discrete on the other hand is apparently not that detailed so I might get around to trying it….. or not. :)
« Last Edit: 27 Oct 2021, 09:35 pm by Mjw21a »

Mjw21a

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Re: LDR300x Preamp | Passive & Active Versions
« Reply #66 on: 4 Nov 2021, 01:15 am »
Ok, I received the Staccato OSH-DHb OPAMP this morning and have installed it.... Right out of the box this OPAMP better than anything else I've tried before. It was as large an improvement again as the Sonic Imagery 994Enh-Ticha was over the TL072. Where to my ears the 994Enh-Ticha combined the best attributes of the Burson V6 Vivid and Classic OPAMP's (The better transients of the Vivid with the timbre and naturalness of the Classic and better musicality of each) the OSH-DHb improves on those areas and adds the excellent detail of the Sparkos OPAMPS while remaining musical rather than the clinical sound of the Sparkos.

This from an OPAMP that isn't even an hour warmed up is impressive. It also seems louder so I need to set the volume lower overall.

Anyway, I've zero inclination to try anything else at this point as to my mind the Tortuga LDR300x V3 with these tweaks results in sonic perfection.

Tweaks have included:
TeraDak 6V 5A linear power supply + 1A fast blow Aucharm silver fuse
Pure silver DC umbilical with Oyaide connectors
OPAMP extender + Staccato OSD-DHb discrete Dual OPAMP

I may out of interest compare the stock switching power supply and see if the power supply tweaks I made have any sonic impact as the switching supply doesn't have any fuse so is not limited in that way. Yes a fuse change impacted the sound, though is the linear power supply itself an improvement over the stock switching power supply? It was interesting to me though that changing the fuse in the power supply made quite a large and noticeable improvement.

Mjw21a

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Re: LDR300x Preamp | Passive & Active Versions
« Reply #67 on: 6 Nov 2021, 10:01 pm »
I’ve had my mind blown listening tonight. Track after track of pure magic. Staccato OPAMPS must be burning in. I’d even say it’s a must have upgrade at this point. Just spectacular  :D
« Last Edit: 9 Nov 2021, 06:22 am by Mjw21a »

tortugaranger

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Re: LDR300x Preamp | Passive & Active Versions
« Reply #68 on: 6 Apr 2022, 08:16 pm »
I'm making a cosmetic change to the LDR300x.V3 preamp clam shell case. When I receive our next batch of raw cases from our supplier, I'm going to have them powder coated instead of anodized. Anodizing looks great when all the prep work is done right but I was less than thrilled with the results of the first batch which we're almost out of now. So this next batch will black powder coated for a more even and elegant look and feel. Will announce when those are ready to be used in new builds/orders. That is all. Carry on.  :thumb:

uncola

Re: LDR300x Preamp | Passive & Active Versions
« Reply #69 on: 6 Apr 2022, 10:19 pm »
will they be available in limited edition colors too? ;)

MttBsh

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Re: LDR300x Preamp | Passive & Active Versions
« Reply #70 on: 7 Apr 2022, 01:41 am »
Morten - Tortuga owners are well aware that you spend countless hours carefully investigating upgrade paths for your products, but one can't read Mjw21a's impressions above without wondering if the tweaks he's made really do propel the LDR300x to the next level of finesse he experienced. He obviously loved the LDR300x enough to try various tweaks to bring out its full potential. 

I appreciate the cosmetic changes to the case, but would you consider making the Staccato OSH-DHb OPAMPs and 1A fast blow Aucharm silver fuses standard on the LDR300x? or maybe an upgrade option? of course you trust your ears and Mjw21's findings may be subjective, but again, reading his excitement over the increased "magical" sound quality he was apparently able to achieve is hard to ignore.     

tortugaranger

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Re: LDR300x Preamp | Passive & Active Versions
« Reply #71 on: 7 Apr 2022, 01:03 pm »
will they be available in limited edition colors too? ;)


Actually I do intend to discuss having a few of the new cases finished in a deep candy apple red gloss. It will depend on how creative and cooperative I find my local powder coat service provider.  :thumb:

tortugaranger

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Re: LDR300x Preamp | Passive & Active Versions
« Reply #72 on: 7 Apr 2022, 01:05 pm »
Morten - Tortuga owners are well aware that you spend countless hours carefully investigating upgrade paths for your products, but one can't read Mjw21a's impressions above without wondering if the tweaks he's made really do propel the LDR300x to the next level of finesse he experienced. He obviously loved the LDR300x enough to try various tweaks to bring out its full potential. 

I appreciate the cosmetic changes to the case, but would you consider making the Staccato OSH-DHb OPAMPs and 1A fast blow Aucharm silver fuses standard on the LDR300x? or maybe an upgrade option? of course you trust your ears and Mjw21's findings may be subjective, but again, reading his excitement over the increased "magical" sound quality he was apparently able to achieve is hard to ignore.   

Thanks for the reminder on the Staccato opamps. I need to order some to try and will let you all know what I think after hearing them in service.
« Last Edit: 7 Apr 2022, 02:58 pm by tortugaranger »

tortugaranger

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Re: LDR300x Preamp | Passive & Active Versions
« Reply #73 on: 7 Apr 2022, 04:57 pm »
Thanks for the reminder on the Staccato opamps. I need to order some to try and will let you all know what I think after hearing them in service.


I've been in contact with Jakub Honkisz,  the founder of Staccato,  which is based in eastern Poland. I've ordered one of their discrete op amps for evaluation. If all goes well I will probably order a batch for resale.

uncola

Re: LDR300x Preamp | Passive & Active Versions
« Reply #74 on: 8 Apr 2022, 02:29 am »
Officially registering my interest in an ldr300x in the red case, active with gain :)

tortugaranger

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Re: LDR300x Preamp | Passive & Active Versions
« Reply #75 on: 8 Apr 2022, 01:51 pm »
Officially registering my interest in an ldr300x in the red case, active with gain :)


Raw cases shipment arrived yesterday so I'll be getting them powder coated soon. I'll let you know if/when I get the red ones.


tortugaranger

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Re: LDR300x Preamp | Passive & Active Versions
« Reply #77 on: 20 Apr 2022, 08:21 pm »

I've been in contact with Jakub Honkisz,  the founder of Staccato,  which is based in eastern Poland. I've ordered one of their discrete op amps for evaluation. If all goes well I will probably order a batch for resale.

I wish I had better news but the first problem is there's insufficient room for the Staccato to fit without some type of socket extender. The other bit of bad news is I managed to fry the regulator in the process of trying to fit it in and then cobble together an adapter. The Staccato may ultimately prove to be excellent for this application but it will require a redesign of the SSPB.V2 board to accommodate...something that will have to go on the back burner for now.

uncola

Re: LDR300x Preamp | Passive & Active Versions
« Reply #78 on: 21 Apr 2022, 02:47 am »
An extender like this? https://www.ebay.com/itm/273516806027
Hmm how did that other ldr preamp owner use it if it doesn't fit?
Lol any news from the powder coat guy on colors?

Mjw21a

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Re: LDR300x Preamp | Passive & Active Versions
« Reply #79 on: 1 Jul 2022, 12:23 am »
An extender like this? https://www.ebay.com/itm/273516806027
Hmm how did that other ldr preamp owner use it if it doesn't fit?
Lol any news from the powder coat guy on colors?

Those look to be the actual socket extenders I used yes. None of the discrete OPAMPS I used would fit without it. The Staccato OPAMPS in particular have large cooling heat sinks though never seem to run that warm really so airflow was never an issue.

Morten, I hope everything is still well? I ask as I looked at your site recently and all fully built units are in the archived section including your beautiful LDR3000x V3. If a version were available with 71A DHT tube buffer I'd certainly have pulled the trigger on one by now. I did change to an icOn 4PRO after hearing another Slagleformer unit in my system. A friend brought over a Slageformer kit pre and it was just a touch ahead in terms of soundstage depth though otherwise very comparable hence I sourced the icOn. That said I believe a little extra tubey goodness with LDR attenuation up front such as your LDR3000x V3 provides a very compelling argument ;)

Really though since I had the LDR300x V3, every single component in my system has changed. Streamer, DAC, Pre, power amp, sub, speakers etc. Lots of change in that time frame. The Absolute Audio Labs SIT-A15 power amp is a very special unit.  :)

The fully tricked out LDR300x V3 Active remains the best sounding LDR pre I've heard to date and I've a sneaking suspicion the LDR3000x V3 with tube output would actually better the rather excellent icOn 4PRO Unbalanced Slagleformer pre I'm now running. Perhaps more a change in flavor with the addition of the tubes. That the LDR300x V3 competes so closely after tweaks with the icOn for a fraction of the cost is a testament to it's design.