Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review

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gregfisk

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #420 on: 28 Feb 2018, 04:26 am »
Michael is right, the amp is heavy, very heavy.

And Jake, you missed out on some great listening sessions. We had some very good synergy going on and it was hard to stop listening.

A_shah

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #421 on: 28 Feb 2018, 05:26 am »
Michael is right, the amp is heavy, very heavy.

And Jake, you missed out on some great listening sessions. We had some very good synergy going on and it was hard to stop listening.

Well ! in that case I'd be more than happy to take this heavy amp off Michael's shoulders and until he finds a place for it's permanent abode ! :evil:
OK Michael ! I am not ordering this  :tempted::until I get a chance to hear this tube amp in California ! meanwhile I am enjoying    My big new speakers with my absolutely wonderful SS Kismet  amp with the DS-2 , I don't even know when it leaves "Class A "as the volume control on the DS-2 shows just shows  "2" and I get a room full of sound (64db-75db) listening to Verdi 's Requiem, "Dies Irae, Mors stupebit( Day of the Warth , Death shall be Stunned" Boston Philharmonic Orchestra ), I am able to hear the trumpeters walk off stage, door opening and closing and rejoining the ensemble !  Christian Tetzlaff spiccato bowing the violin , now i wish I could  hear Anne Bisson sucking her lipstick, sad to say that may not happen ! For the First time I am enjoying listening to Lou speakers more than my LCD-X with the Deckard Class A headphone  amp and Gungnir DAC
By the way the Wooden Case on the Kootenay is just gorgeous !!

Question for GregFisk, those IC red and yellow what kind and make are they ?
Asghar

Speed Racer

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #422 on: 28 Feb 2018, 05:35 am »
I am not ordering this  :tempted::until I get a chance to hear this tube amp in California !

That's what I was waiting for but there are many of these amps in the wilds of California. You will have to come to my house to listen to it in 3 1/2 months or so (12 weeks or so for Don to build and get it shipped to me and some time to break it in). My Pioneer M-22 never leaves Class A because it is a pure Class A amp. Everyone that has heard it says it is stunning. Don's amp better be good!

gregfisk

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #423 on: 28 Feb 2018, 07:58 am »

Question for GregFisk, those IC red and yellow what kind and make are they ?
Asghar

I take a more practical approach than many when buying cables. I would rather spend my money on equipment upgrades and room treatment. My ICs are Mogami 2534 Neglex Quad with Connectronics RCAs on them. They are duel shielded and have a very high rejection to RFI/EMI. I have these cables made to length and there are several colors to choose from. 

My rack is rather far away from my speakers since I have it on the side wall of my room. I use the Mogami cables for my Servo amps which are next to my Super Vs. I use a similar cable from Ram electronics for my speakers. They are custom made Canare 4S11 Speaker Cables with Gold locking Bananas. These are also duel shielded and are 11 gauge since my speaker runs are pretty long. Ram puts a nice jacket on them so they look nice and 11 gauge is a good stout wire. 

Speed Racer

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #424 on: 28 Feb 2018, 09:15 am »
I posted this on another forum:

==============================================================
I have tried these cables for RCA interconnects between my preamp and amp in my 2 channel setup:

Mogami Neglex 2497 - shielded - 5 feet
Mogami Neglex 2534 - directional (shield disconnected at one end) - 3.5 feet
Belden LC-1 - shielded - 5 feet
Duelund DCA20GA - unshielded - 3 feet

The first 3 interconnects are commercial products. The Duelund interconnect was made by me and was the first interconnect I ever made. I believe all of the wire used to make these cables is OFC. The Duelund wire uses tin coated strands in “a cotton and oil dielectricum”.

The first 3 interconnects sound very similar. I think the Mogami 2497 sounded the best as I think it offered a little cleaner sounder in the upper midrange and treble. The difference is subtle and I probably couldn’t reliably pick it out in a blind test. It just sounded better when going back and forth for a few days at a time.

I found the Duelund interconnect to be the best and easily so. It brought more energy to the midrange and treble without making the sound bright or harsh. I didn’t realize this was much needed until I heard the difference. This made the music more dynamic. I think the bass is a little better too. It is cleaner but just as present. I am fairly confident I could identify this interconnect in a blind test with the other 3.

Duelund is a single conductor wire which means I used two wires to make the interconnect. I used about 4 twists per foot to keep the wire together.
==============================================================

Now, in my situation, I am able to run unshielded interconnects. My interconnect runs are short and there are no power cords or cords of any other type near them. I even made some XLR interconnects using Duelund DCA20GA running from my DAC to my preamp. These were made with only two wires and no shielding. I also use Duelund DCA16GA unshielded for speaker wire. I had been using Mogami W3104 for speaker wire but found the sounder better with the Duelund wire.

I couldn't be happier. Inexpensive with fantastic performance.

JakeJ

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #425 on: 28 Feb 2018, 02:18 pm »
Now, Jake. You're not implying I have an addiction problem, are you?  :icon_twisted: :lol:

Well...maybe...just a little.  But let's face it, someday you'll find something to best it and on and on and on...  Who knows, maybe Don himself will come up with  a new design that osoletes all earlier ones.

Michael is right, the amp is heavy, very heavy.

And Jake, you missed out on some great listening sessions. We had some very good synergy going on and it was hard to stop listening.

Well, we'll just have to figure out how to make up for it, eh?

Sorry this is a late response, I started it last night and ran out of gas.

msommers

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #426 on: 2 Mar 2018, 09:18 pm »
How heavy is the amp? And dimensions? I don't see anything on Don's website.

Speaking of which (not that it matters given that I've ordered a KT88 already) but there really aren't any specs or measurements at all other than power...

mresseguie

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #427 on: 2 Mar 2018, 09:48 pm »
I’m pretty certain that the amp weighs 56 pounds.

No clue on specs other than what my ears tell me. I’ll wager you know already what that is.  8)

Speed Racer

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #428 on: 3 Mar 2018, 01:49 am »
Speaking of which (not that it matters given that I've ordered a KT88 already) but there really aren't any specs or measurements at all other than power...

There are no specs for Don's preamp either. It's a little disconcerting but this is reality when you get into the custom made stuff. Since the amp is a fixed design now, Don could get a unit tested (personally or by another company) and publish the results.

Of course, I learned a long time ago that specs don't mean much if the device sounds terrible and they mean even less if the device sounds great.

P.S. I am always willing to swap places in line if you want to delay you amp delivery!   :wink:

Edit: The Kootenay 120 is 9" tall and needs at least 1" of air above that. Having 2" would better and 3" is better yet. It needs open air all the way around too.
« Last Edit: 3 Mar 2018, 09:03 am by Speed Racer »

88man

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #429 on: 7 Mar 2018, 04:15 am »
I have the Model 2 Preamp and Kootenay 120 Amp. Is there any harm to the amp in playing 4-ohm speakers at the 8-ohm output?...
The 8-ohm output sounds more open, transprarent, dynamic, less veiled on the highs.

Thanks

Speed Racer

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #430 on: 8 Mar 2018, 12:50 am »
I have the Model 2 Preamp and Kootenay 120 Amp. Is there any harm to the amp in playing 4-ohm speakers at the 8-ohm output?...
The 8-ohm output sounds more open, transprarent, dynamic, less veiled on the highs.

Thanks

I asked Don for my own edification. He said that the "amp doesn't care" so there is no harm. He also said that, generally, a 4 ohm speaker will sound better on the 4 ohm output. Your mileage may vary!

JakeJ

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #431 on: 8 Mar 2018, 02:49 am »
I have the Model 2 Preamp and Kootenay 120 Amp. Is there any harm to the amp in playing 4-ohm speakers at the 8-ohm output?...
The 8-ohm output sounds more open, transprarent, dynamic, less veiled on the highs.

Thanks

Agree with Speed Racer.  The general rule of thumb is to try all taps available on any tube amp and listen for what you found, better, more open, and clearer sound. 

88man

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #432 on: 8 Mar 2018, 04:21 am »
Thanks Speed Racer and JakeJ! The left DIY 4-ohm speaker is a D'Appolito design. It's 4-ohms from 100-600Hz, then has an impedence above 8-ohms beyond 1kHz. The right DIY speaker on the left is a 13in 3-way: 8-ohm top mid-tweeter cab driven by the Model 2 and KT88 PP with a solid-state amp driving the 13" woofer crossed at 170Hz. This combination is magical combining the best of both worlds where they're most effective in the frequency range - dynamics, speed, along with 3D dimensionality. I switch between the 2 speakers. Furthermore, textural information in vocals and in double reed instruments are revealed in spades with the Sachs units.

In my system, changing the CV181z + Russian tubes to (4) CV181z  tubes in the preamp muddied the alto range. So after 75 hours, I've gone back to a pair of CV181z + Russian tubes original set up for a more clear, tranparent sound in the alto range. One other person has noticed that somewhere. Perhaps some sound treatment may help too. There may a contribution to the overall sound using Black Treasure KT88s? I don't know. But the CV181z Russian 6SN7 does have a wonderful balance across the entire frequency gamut in my system. I'll also experiment with the Shuguang GV KT88s once they arrive...

I'm using Shunyata Venom interconnects. As per Don's recommendation, I'm going to make the Duelund interconnects too with the DCA20GA, along with the Duelund DCA12GA for speaker cables. I'm using OFC 10AWG now.
Photos taken in the "Analog Room." :)





« Last Edit: 8 Mar 2018, 12:27 pm by 88man »

Wig

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #433 on: 10 Mar 2018, 09:43 pm »
For those of you who are on the fence regarding Don Sach's equipment; take the leap and order both pieces and believe you will be rewarded with a level of sophistication most have not even heard! The moment I implemented both the DS-2 Tube Pre and the Kootenay 120 KT 88 Tube Amp into my system, I heard new levels of details/shading I've never heard in my system and even through headphones...

I really love string type instruments and primarily listen to Acoustic Guitars, Cello's, Violins and Don's equipment really brings out the beauty of these instruments with such beauty, delicacies, tonality, subtle reverberant cues, dimensionality and impact that provides an emotional connection to the music you find yourself listening to. I have only 15 hours of use on my equipment and can tell you that it’s the best sound I’ve heard in my system and yes it has all of the audiophile traits of outstanding imaging/sound-staging, layering, transparency, expansive sound-stage width and depth of images within the soundscape are stable and rock solid…

I’m one of those individuals who has a good collection of those shiny disc but find myself listening to maybe 40 of those CDs and wanted to hear how the Kootenay handled low level bass and opted for a classic Jazz selection that would encompass a broad range of frequencies within the bandwidth and boy does this amp rock in the bass department and at portraying high frequency extension with air, transparency and resolve. I recently moved from away from an SET and a 400+ Watts Integrated Amp.

I can validate without hesitation that the Kootenay 120 KT 88 Tube Amp rivals the midrange magic of the SET I had and produces better tuneful bass than the 400+ Watts monster I was previously using which was a surprise to say the least. Current users have said that these components will only get better and I’m still Shaking-my-Head in amazement on how Don pulled this off at this price point, I’ve owned components 3X the price and didn’t get this level of sound quality and enjoyment.

So, here’s my take on these Unbelievable components: Midrange Magic/Transparency rivaling/exceeding SET designs and the fully regulated/Independent power supplies produces outstanding low-level extension not normally associated within this price-point, but, the most important part is an Artisan who built these units by hand and one at a time with a passion of love, skills and a desire to provide a product that captures the essence of musicality and enjoyment (visually as well).

Wig :) :) :)

deadhead

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #434 on: 10 Mar 2018, 10:35 pm »
Ron,

How many hours do you have on your equipment?  I heard a quantum leap after 100 hours on the preamp.  Now every listening session is better than the last.

msommers

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #435 on: 11 Mar 2018, 12:13 am »
I'm eager for my Kootenay amp but also cautiously optimistic given I bought based off of a few users I found on the internet. New gear syndrome is a real thing and reading about zero negatives, it's the best ever etc with no trade-offs or even differences in sound vs. something else makes me nervous -- did I read into the hype? It's running through my head right now but whenever I get my amp I guess we'll see.

Comparisons to any piece of gear would be helpful for readers. I realize it's a thread dedicated to this amp/preamp but it's beginning to sound like an echo chamber lol.

Wig

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #436 on: 11 Mar 2018, 12:45 am »
My Kootenay 120 has only 20 hours of use since it is only 3 days old but my DS-2 has been burning-in on an AMC 20 year old Integrated amp for 10 days and imagine it's almost there. No down side using Sach's equipment in my system but if you have a massive room, very demanding speakers or like to listen at concert levels, then the amp may not work for you but it plays louder than I care to listen and very cleanly.

I'm comparing to my recent electronics from 9-15 months ago which included a Line Magnetic 508 48 Watts SET and a Vitus RI-100 Integrated Amp and in my system comparing to the already mentioned components, would rank the Vitus last based upon its ability to propel music/dynamics; very sluggish...

I have no doubt that you are going to love what you hear, it's very musical...

Wig

msommers

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Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #437 on: 11 Mar 2018, 12:47 am »
Thanks Wig. Was it the LM-518 or 508ia that you had before? Don mentioned his speakers have similar "demands" as mine so that is fortunately not a concern. Thanks for commenting!

Wig

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #438 on: 11 Mar 2018, 12:56 am »
LM 508 IA; all tubes were upgraded and it still doesn't have the SQ the Kootenay 120 has with 20 hours of use. The LM was a fantastic unit and is hitting way beyond its price point but the DS-2 and Kootenay 120 is at a Much higher level...

My LM was outfitted with $1.7K in tubes and a SR Black fuse.
 
Wig
« Last Edit: 11 Mar 2018, 03:42 am by Wig »

Wig

Re: Don Sachs SP14 Tube Preamp Review
« Reply #439 on: 11 Mar 2018, 03:44 am »
Thanks Speed Racer and JakeJ! The left DIY 4-ohm speaker is a D'Appolito design. It's 4-ohms from 100-600Hz, then has an impedence above 8-ohms beyond 1kHz. The right DIY speaker on the left is a 13in 3-way: 8-ohm top mid-tweeter cab driven by the Model 2 and KT88 PP with a solid-state amp driving the 13" woofer crossed at 170Hz. This combination is magical combining the best of both worlds where they're most effective in the frequency range - dynamics, speed, along with 3D dimensionality. I switch between the 2 speakers. Furthermore, textural information in vocals and in double reed instruments are revealed in spades with the Sachs units.

In my system, changing the CV181z + Russian tubes to (4) CV181z  tubes in the preamp muddied the alto range. So after 75 hours, I've gone back to a pair of CV181z + Russian tubes original set up for a more clear, tranparent sound in the alto range. One other person has noticed that somewhere. Perhaps some sound treatment may help too. There may a contribution to the overall sound using Black Treasure KT88s? I don't know. But the CV181z Russian 6SN7 does have a wonderful balance across the entire frequency gamut in my system. I'll also experiment with the Shuguang GV KT88s once they arrive...

I'm using Shunyata Venom interconnects. As per Don's recommendation, I'm going to make the Duelund interconnects too with the DCA20GA, along with the Duelund DCA12GA for speaker cables. I'm using OFC 10AWG now.
Photos taken in the "Analog Room." :)






Looking good and thanks for your contribution!

Wig