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
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
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!