Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review

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Tomy2Tone

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #20 on: 24 Jul 2016, 01:00 pm »
Well, it's been three months since anyone has posted in this thread, but I decided to post here rather than beginning a new thread. I just paid my 70% down payment for my new SP14/Model 2 Custom Line Stage tonight. I'm going to visit Don in mid-August, and probably take delivery at that time.

I have been contacted privately by three different SP14/Model 2 preamp owners, and each one has sung its praises. I decided there was no point putting my decision off any longer, so I contacted Don last night.

I can't wait to hear it! I'll also get to hear his tube amp. This should be some treat.

I'll be sure to post my impressions in a month. Stay tuned.

Nice Michael!!!   

Are you getting any of the upgrades?

mresseguie

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #21 on: 24 Jul 2016, 02:45 pm »
Let's see if I can manage to copy and paste with my iPad. I'm getting the Walnut case.

Okay, two attempts have failed to produce my pictures. Guy13, my preamp has a digital readout beside the right gain dial on the right-hand side. Otherwise, it is the same.

Tom,

My upgrades are as follows:

Walnut case
Khozmo 64 step remote attenuator
1.0 uF Jupiter cap to drive low impedance SS amp. [I had considered the Deuland cap, but I'm not convinced I needed to spend $400 more to chase those last few percentage gains.] I've decided to buy the Nuprime ST-10 amp for Taiwan. It can be delivered there from the factory in Taiwan and avoid any ugly import duties (and the price is a bargain).
All film cap upgrade using Mundorf Tube caps
Two pairs of CV181 tubes

I'll decide today or tomorrow if I need XLR connectivity. This adds $200.

Don sells a nice cryo treated PC that he says improves the sound nicely. I expect to buy one, but I'll wait until I actually hear it to decide.

As I mentioned last night. I've been approached by three gentlemen who recently purchased the Model 2 and they can't believe how good it is. I hope to provide my equally stunned and delighted impressions in a month.

I plan to buy a nice tube amp next year. I may decide I gotta have Don's tube amp, or I may go with the Taiwan made tube amp I auditioned last year. It's so hot and humid in Taiwan most of the time that I can't see using a tube amp and tube preamp during the hottest months, so I want a reasonably cool running SS amp that won't break the bank.

I'll be in my Oregon home briefly in September if anyone is in the area and wants to listen to how it sounds paired to my AVA 400R and Gustard X20u DAC.

screener

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #22 on: 24 Jul 2016, 05:33 pm »
Hey Michael,

Congrats on the SP14. I'd be interested what you think of Dons KT88 amp paired with the SP14.

Safe travels, Kim

Chris Adams

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #23 on: 24 Jul 2016, 07:47 pm »
Michael,

I think you will like it.  I am enjoying mine very much.  Yesterday I installed the Mundorf TubeCaps for the power supply and changed out the two 1uF Jupiter copper caps that I had put in for a pair of Duelund 1uF.  I haven't listened to it yet as it is burning in and I am very busy with yard and garden work well into the evenings.  I don't know if I will like the Duelunds better or not.  The Jupiters are splendid and a big improvement over the Mundorf Silver/Oil, but I had to try the Duelunds just to hear.  The 1uF Duelunds were a tight but comfortable fit.  Happy listening.

mresseguie

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #24 on: 24 Jul 2016, 08:07 pm »
Michael,

I think you will like it.  I am enjoying mine very much.  Yesterday I installed the Mundorf TubeCaps for the power supply and changed out the two 1uF Jupiter copper caps that I had put in for a pair of Duelund 1uF.  I haven't listened to it yet as it is burning in and I am very busy with yard and garden work well into the evenings.  I don't know if I will like the Duelunds better or not.  The Jupiters are splendid and a big improvement over the Mundorf Silver/Oil, but I had to try the Duelunds just to hear.  The 1uF Duelunds were a tight but comfortable fit.  Happy listening.

Hello, Chris.

You managed to squeeze the Deulands inside the case!?! Don felt it would be too tight, so he suggested I try the Jupiter caps - plus I was skittish about spending the extra cash.

I suspect I'm going to be extremely satisfied with my preamp for a long time. I'll want to upgrade my amp before the preamp, I think.

I look forward to your eventually posting your impressions. The Deuland caps need a wee bit of time to break in, no?


mresseguie

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #25 on: 25 Jul 2016, 05:37 am »
Hey Michael,

Congrats on the SP14. I'd be interested what you think of Dons KT88 amp paired with the SP14.

Safe travels, Kim

Kim,

I hope he's got his KT88 on hand when I'm there. I'm very interested myself. I'll most definitely include my impression of it when I report on my Model 2/SP14.

Captainhemo

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #26 on: 27 Jul 2016, 04:25 am »
Cool, Michael, August can't come soonenought  !
I think you'l lbe very happy with the  Jupiter  Copper ?  caps , I've been playing with some  in  a differnt application (using as bypass caps) , I really like them
Hoping we can try the pre with Don's new K&K mon's, will be  cllose schedule wise but right now, it's looking pretty  good :hyper:

jay

Blueone302

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #27 on: 29 Jul 2016, 02:02 pm »
I have one of Don's pre-amps.  Only had it two weeks now. But man....  To this point I'm very happy. I'm planning a full review when it has about one hundred hours on it.  Mine came in a custom walnut case to match my Decware Torii II MK IV, a quad of the Shunguang Treasure CV181 Z tubes,  Duelund  Copper CAST PIO Cu output caps and the remote option.  I was looking for a decent pre to augment my system and one that would hopefully have synergy with my Decware amp.  I also wanted the remote option.  I only need two, but It came with outputs galore.  So far so good.  A couple of things right off the bat.  Even though the Duelunds are supposed to be notorious for break-in, I immediately noticed a marked increase in low end bass articulation.  Notes I knew to be there before that barely came through, now sound like I'm four rows back in the center seat at a concert.  Right now, it loves anything acoustic.  And joy of joy, the SACD version of Dire Straits Mnney for Nothing is mind boggling.  I'm hearing things I never heard before.  And it seems as if some of the older cd's I have that I couldn't bear to listen to before have lost some of the strident too forward mid and high pitch.  (Something I was hoping would be a by-product of the amp, but not betting on)  I'm running this through a pair of Klipsch Cornwall III's.  I was worried about them before. Not enough grunt in my room and the mid-upper high register was a bit strident and harsh.  But now, 95% of the time they sound phenomenal.  The only bad news is that in order to try and solve this dilemma, I ordered a pair of Spatial M3 Turbo S's for an audition.  They'll be here next week.  Decisions Decisions.  Seriously, if this pre keeps getting better and better as many say it will, I'll be in audio nirvana.  If you're looking for a custom line stage, I wouldn't hesitate to suggest you contact Don Sachs and take the plunge.  I second everything positive that's been said here about his friendly and knowledgeable demeanor and certainly his knowledge and skill in building great custom audio gear.

Blueone302

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #28 on: 29 Jul 2016, 02:11 pm »
Here's a couple of pics.






Blueone302

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #29 on: 29 Jul 2016, 02:42 pm »
A Few More








Chris Adams

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #30 on: 29 Jul 2016, 03:51 pm »
Very nice! :thumb:

richidoo

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #31 on: 29 Jul 2016, 04:13 pm »
Very pretty! Walnut looks awesome and the woodworking matching the grain around the joint is nice job!

Are the 4 signal tubes all the same? The pictures look like the 2 inboard tubes are 1/4" shorter? than the other two. Illusion?

JakeJ

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #32 on: 29 Jul 2016, 05:40 pm »
Very nice, mresseguie.

Blueone302,
Sweet looking set up.  Your review is welcome here (or a link to wherever you post it).

sfox7076

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #33 on: 29 Jul 2016, 05:57 pm »
I wonder if he would add a switch to go from 6sn7s to 12sn7s.  Not a great increase in cost, and could give more options for tubes.  12SN7s are dirt cheap. 

Chris Adams

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #34 on: 29 Jul 2016, 06:09 pm »
Here is a pic of my stuffed chassis.  Unfortunately I installed the Mundorfs and the Duelunds at the same time, so I won't get a true sonic change from the Jupiters to the Duelunds.  I have about 175 hours on them and will listen over the weekend and post my impressions.




poseidonsvoice

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #35 on: 29 Jul 2016, 08:40 pm »
Chris,

That's very neat work  :thumb:

I have some Mundorf TubeCaps here that I should put to good use  :thumb:

Enjoy,

Anand.

Chris Adams

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #36 on: 30 Jul 2016, 03:34 am »
Thanks, Anand.  I'm having fun. :D

Blueone302

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #37 on: 30 Jul 2016, 05:03 am »
Richidoo,

   Good observation on the tubes.  But yes, they are all Shuguang Black Treasure CV 181Z Tubes.  They are all new.  But they are not all the same size.  Apparently the glass may sometimes be a bit taller or shorter on some of the tubes, but the internal elements are all to spec.  I had heard or actually read where a few people said theirs were a bit noisy.  (Whatever that means.)  To my good fortune or as a testament to the build quality of the Amp and Pre-Amp, everything here is dead quiet. 

Chris Adams

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #38 on: 2 Aug 2016, 08:10 pm »
I had a good listen the other night.  What I heard was similar to what I had which was a very involving stage with excellent depth, width, and height.  Frequency extremes are present and accounted for.  Tone went a notch up with instruments sounding just a bit more like themselves.  Here is the part that made me grin :D  I put on a well know disc to hear a couple of tunes and listened to the whole thing.  I got another disc that has very pronounced sibilance and over done treble on most of the songs and listened to the whole thing.  My take away was this is the smoothest these two discs have ever sounded.  No lack of detail, no reduction of dynamics.  Best I have heard my system sound. 

mresseguie

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #39 on: 2 Aug 2016, 08:23 pm »
Chris,

Thanks!

In just under three weeks, I'm going to be sitting in Don's listening room experiencing what you just described. The anticipation is agonizing.