LDRx Passive Preamp Tour

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juanitox

Re: LDRx Passive Preamp Tour
« Reply #60 on: 9 Nov 2013, 11:02 am »
Hi Konut et. al.

I'm going to ship the HiZ chip to you today or tomorrow so you'll have it early next week. It will either be a 20k or a 50k input impedance chip. Still tweaking that.

Cheers,
Morten

does it means that every board ordered now  will be a high rez version?  :D

tortugaranger

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Re: LDRx Passive Preamp Tour
« Reply #61 on: 9 Nov 2013, 01:44 pm »
does it means that every board ordered now  will be a high rez version?  :D

Yes indeedy!
Applies to all LDR based preamp products going forward.

juanitox

Re: LDRx Passive Preamp Tour
« Reply #62 on: 9 Nov 2013, 05:35 pm »
 :D great i order one immediately!

konut

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Re: LDRx Passive Preamp Tour
« Reply #63 on: 14 Nov 2013, 11:06 pm »
Short update for those on the tour. There was a delay in getting the revised chip to me. I know how anxious one can get waiting for a tour unit to get to the next stop so I just wanted to let everyone know I was not holding the unit hostage. Having said that, the LDR1 is far superior to my existing passive and i am THRILLED to get some extra time with it.

konut

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Re: LDRx Passive Preamp Tour
« Reply #64 on: 19 Nov 2013, 06:06 pm »
    This is part 1 of a review of the Tortuga Audio LDR1 passive volume control, or passive preamp, as some like to call it.

http://www.tortugaaudio.com/

    There was a delay in getting a newly implemented control software chip due to refinements that were required after beta testing. Part 2 will consist of a comparison between the original chip and the new chip. I felt compelled to post my thoughts while they were fresh in, what little is left of, my mind. 
     My system consists of a Sony BDP S580 BluRay player hooked up via a 15ft length of DH Labs SilverSonic D75 coax BNC/RCA adapter->BNC to a Bryston BDA-1 DAC(Mojo Audio PC). The single ended out then goes to Creek OBH-12 passive pre via a 26" pair of Sweet Spot Reveal "Silver" interconnects then from the Creek to a pair of W4S SX500 mono amps(W4S P-1 PCs) via a 3ft pair of Grover Huffman ICs. A 3ft pair of Anti-Cables go from the amps to Aether Audio Black Boxes, Aether Audio Timepiece Minis and VMPS Super tweeters(facing backwards). The amps are plugged into the wall, and eveything else in plugged into an APC S15 power conditioner and Belkin PureAV PF60.The LDR1 replaces the Creek.
          I have not used an active pre in almost 20 years. My system is optimized for use with a passive pre. The Bryston DAC was selected because of its 2.3V, 50ohm, discrete analog output, and reliability. The W4S amps were chosen for their high gain, low noise and distortion, and relatively high, for ICE power  type amps, input impedance of 60k ohms. ICs are short and low capacitance. No accommodations were made to substitute the Creek with the Tortuga.
       I've been on the hunt for a replacement for the Creek for some time. To be sure, the Creek is an entry level passive but offers 3 input switching and remote so it met my needs. The replacements that I have considered over the years all have some perceived weakness. Mostly they offered no, to me, significant increase in sound quality commensurate with their price. AFAIK, there are only 3 methods of implementing passive pres; resisters, transformers, and light dependent resisters. Each method has its assets and liabilities. It wasn't until the Tortuga came along that I felt there was something that minimized the minuses and maximized the pluses and justified the asking price. I jumped at the opportunity to secure a spot on the audition tour that was offered. 
     I received the unit on Halloween. Trick or treat? It is housed in a nondescript black case with a window for the infrared remote receiver, blue lettering, a black knurled knob, and an on/off blue LED that some might find too bright. After substituting the LDR1 for the Creek I got no sound. I called Morten to see what could possibly be wrong. He indicated that there was not much that could go wrong. When installing the unit I had double checked that I had made the correct input/output connections, as I have made that mistake in the past. While on the phone it occurred to me that maybe I had forgotten to turn my amps back on. That, indeed, was the case. How embarrassing. I had a nice chat with Morten, indicated all was well, and he could not have been more cordial. I had tricked myself and now for the treat.
         It became immediately apparent that the LDR1 was a more transparent component than the Creek. At 3 times the price, one should expect that. What they had in common was the black background, low/no distortion, and wide sound stage. The LDR1 improves on the Creek in a number of different areas.
          Leading edge attack transients are more delineated throughout the frequency range. This was most noticeable with all types of percussion. Snare, cymbals, toms, and kick had much more snap and precision.
        The mid-bass on down seemed to gain a few extra db of authority. Not lumpy mind you, but a smooth fullness contributing a sense of realism to whatever instrument was in that range. The extra degree of sub 40hz info gave an increased sense of acoustic space.
      Low level detail increased to a great degree. Previously obscured detail was laid bare. Each instrument and voice gained, not only an extra dimension in space but, resolution giving a sense of the artists emotional intent.
      It seemed like the LDR1 was letting more signal through. I was listening at levels above my usual, 85db-95db, to levels of 100bd+  as everything just sounded so good. Some discs which I had been able to turn up all the way with the Creek, and in theory should be the same as a bypass, were needed to be restrained a bit as not to push the amps, and/or speakers, past their limits.
      There was a greater sense of dynamics, compered to the Creek, at all volume levels. Greatly anticipating the new chip to see if this is expanded.
     If I were to change anything I would give some sense of the volume going up and down other than just the aural evidence. As it is the blue LED flashes slowly when either the volume is all the way up, or all the way down. There is an enter button on the remote which causes the LED to flash rapidly and I would prefer this sense of feedback when raising and lowering the volume. This is the way the Creek works but this is by no means a deal breaker for me. I would also like a less bright LED, but, again, not a deal breaker.
     I listen to a wide variety of music. I pulled out discs that I had not listened to in years and probably listened to more music, since receiving the LDR1, than I had listened to in the past 6 months. I was given a renewed sense of excitement that I had been missing for a long time. I can't think of higher praise. As a casualty of the part-time economy I shall have to find a way to acquire one of these.

Nick B

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Re: LDRx Passive Preamp Tour
« Reply #65 on: 19 Nov 2013, 07:10 pm »
Thanks for the report. I see you have the Timepiece minis and I have the 3.0's. I am looking forward to getting the Tortuga soon via the tour and based on comments so far, it might well be the ticket for me. As to your problems with hooking up cables, equipment etc, well that has never happened to me...... OK, maybe once, or a few times or even more than that  :lol: 

gregfisk

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Re: LDRx Passive Preamp Tour
« Reply #66 on: 19 Nov 2013, 07:40 pm »
Nice write up Konut,

You had me worried when you said it didn't work when you got it :icon_surprised:

When I received the unit it only played out of one channel, I thought it had a problem or I connected something wrong. Fortunately I just had to hit the balance reset button and all was good :thumb:.

Greg

WireNut

Re: LDRx Passive Preamp Tour
« Reply #67 on: 19 Nov 2013, 07:41 pm »
This is going to be an interesting tour. I haven't used a passive in 10-15 years. My current tube preamp has 22db of gain. Between the power supply and the preamp there's probably 30 caps inside that are 20 years old




tortugaranger

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Re: LDRx Passive Preamp Tour
« Reply #68 on: 19 Nov 2013, 08:16 pm »
You had me worried when you said it didn't work when you got it :icon_surprised:

He had me worried too when I got that phone call!!  :o

When I received the unit it only played out of one channel, I thought it had a problem or I connected something wrong. Fortunately I just had to hit the balance reset button and all was good :thumb:.

The only way that could have happened is the guy who had the LDR1 before you (a reviewer I had try it out) must have played with the channel balance and left it hard over to one side. The LDR1 saves the current state when you turn it off normally. He packed it up and shipped it to you instead of sending it back to me so you found it the way he left it. Which is an odd way to leave it but there ya go.   :scratch:

konut

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Re: LDRx Passive Preamp Tour
« Reply #69 on: 19 Nov 2013, 09:27 pm »
Nick B - The LDR1 REALLY showed me how good the Minis, and W4Ss were. If there is a way to screw something up, even with as little that could go wrong with the LDR1, I will find it!

gregfisk - I'll bet I was more worried that you.

WireNut - I see you have a biamped system. What are your sources? LP, CD, DAC? When I did use a preamp I seldom needed the gain, more a mater of source switching and buffering. Yours should be an interesting comparo.

tortugaranger - TRICK OR TREAT!

tortugaranger

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Re: LDRx Passive Preamp Tour
« Reply #70 on: 20 Nov 2013, 01:54 pm »
     If I were to change anything I would give some sense of the volume going up and down other than just the aural evidence. As it is the blue LED flashes slowly when either the volume is all the way up, or all the way down. There is an enter button on the remote which causes the LED to flash rapidly and I would prefer this sense of feedback when raising and lowering the volume. This is the way the Creek works but this is by no means a deal breaker for me. I would also like a less bright LED, but, again, not a deal breaker.

Nice job on the review Konut.

Going forward, I'll incorporate your suggestions of giving visual feedback via the status LED that volume is changing. Just going to quietly do that for new builds and for those yet to receive their HiZ upgrade chips. I think I'll also tone down the LED intensity on new builds since you aren't the first person to mention this. Thanks for the input.

Cheers,
Morten

konut

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Re: LDRx Passive Preamp Tour
« Reply #71 on: 20 Nov 2013, 03:28 pm »
Thanks Morten! I felt that the quality of your product required a thorough evaluation and constructive criticism. While no product is perfect the LDR1 comes pretty close. While aesthetic considerations are among the least of my concerns when it comes to audio components, you might want to consider offering the option of different colored face plates, a different colored LED for the light, and a variety of knob options in order to attract a wider variety of customers. I've discovered that quite a number of enthusiasts place these considerations very highly. This product deserves success.   

Randy

Re: LDRx Passive Preamp Tour
« Reply #72 on: 23 Nov 2013, 11:30 pm »
Where are with the tour? 

konut

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Re: LDRx Passive Preamp Tour
« Reply #73 on: 24 Nov 2013, 12:03 am »
Hi Randy,
        I'm afraid that the tour unit has been stuck with me since I received it on 10/31. There has been a delay in getting the newly implemented high impedance chip to me from Morten. It is supposed to ship this Monday. I promise to get the unit out within a week of receiving the new chip and on to the next stop on the tour, which is rajacat. But don't blame me. To quote Curly Howard, "I'm a victim of soicumstance!".


 

tortugaranger

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Re: LDRx Passive Preamp Tour
« Reply #74 on: 24 Nov 2013, 12:24 am »
Where are with the tour?

Yes, well, you see we decided to ratchet up efforts and go for the hi impedance gold right about the same time the tour was getting started. While conceptually simple, implementing the HiZ ended up requiring a massive reworking of a lot of software. And thus we were reminded all over again that all projects take longer, cost more and aren't nearly as straightforward as initially envisioned. Against this backdrop of 2nd gen LDR control algorithm development the tour, while not exactly getting thrown under the bus, definitely got parked next to the bus. Weeks later, we are digging out from under a huge backlog because we stopped shipping everything once we knew the HiZ was "just around the corner". Once we finally got around that looonnnggg corner, my first priority was getting paid orders out the door. So Konut got an extended visit with the LDR1 while waiting for the HiZ chip to arrive. Which is now ready for the tour unit and will ship out on Monday. And that's where we are with the tour.  :D

Randy

Re: LDRx Passive Preamp Tour
« Reply #75 on: 24 Nov 2013, 04:15 am »
Yes, well, you see we decided to ratchet up efforts and go for the hi impedance gold right about the same time the tour was getting started. While conceptually simple, implementing the HiZ ended up requiring a massive reworking of a lot of software. And thus we were reminded all over again that all projects take longer, cost more and aren't nearly as straightforward as initially envisioned. Against this backdrop of 2nd gen LDR control algorithm development the tour, while not exactly getting thrown under the bus, definitely got parked next to the bus. Weeks later, we are digging out from under a huge backlog because we stopped shipping everything once we knew the HiZ was "just around the corner". Once we finally got around that looonnnggg corner, my first priority was getting paid orders out the door. So Konut got an extended visit with the LDR1 while waiting for the HiZ chip to arrive. Which is now ready for the tour unit and will ship out on Monday. And that's where we are with the tour.  :D

Morten - I am fifth on the list, but since I will be out of town from Dec. 17  to about Jan. 2 you better bump me down a few spots. As it sets up now, it looks like I might get it about the time I take off and that wouldn't be good.  Please advise.

Konut - "Spread out."

konut

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Re: LDRx Passive Preamp Tour
« Reply #76 on: 24 Nov 2013, 06:17 am »
Wise guy, huh?

rajacat

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Re: LDRx Passive Preamp Tour
« Reply #77 on: 3 Dec 2013, 06:13 pm »
Any news on the tour? I'm next on the list, so how this fits into my holiday plans is a concern.

tortugaranger

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Re: LDRx Passive Preamp Tour
« Reply #78 on: 3 Dec 2013, 06:22 pm »
Any news on the tour? I'm next on the list, so how this fits into my holiday plans is a concern.

Upgrade chip ships to Konut TODAY! He should have it by Thursday. Friday at the latest.

dburna

Re: LDRx Passive Preamp Tour
« Reply #79 on: 3 Dec 2013, 10:01 pm »
Just a suggestion (I'm only a tour participant), but it would probably be a good idea if whoever has the LDR by about 12/20 just keep it and ship it to the next person just before/after Jan. 1st.  I'm not sure anyone will have time to give it a good/critical listen in this period, plus it's probably best for the shipment if it's not being moved from place-to-place during the busy holiday shipping season.

Whoever has it during that period would have an extended "Christmas bonus," but at least no one would get shortchanged.

Any thoughts? 

-dB

P.S. Based on the revised schedule, I don't stand to receive this until early 2014, so I'm not angling for an extended audition for myself. :D