Here are my impressions after spending a week with the wonderful Tortuga LDR300.V25:
4 years ago a friend sent me a DYI version of the Tortuga LDR passive that he built and I was actually shocked by the clarity and wide open soundstage it produced. It was my first experience with a passive preamp and it hasn’t left my system since
When the LDR300.V25 arrived last week I was surprised by how small and lightweight it is compared to my older DYI version, but it’s attractive and takes up very little space, which is great. Like the other reviewers, I too liked the “tortuga” crawling across the front panel display during play.
Although I’ve been using one of the apple remotes for years on my older passive, it took me a little while to familiarize myself with the controls for the V25, but once I got it, it became very easy to use.
So how does it compare to my older version? At first, the differences seemed somewhat marginal, with deeper bass being the noticeable improvement, but the next day, after the V25 had been playing for quite a few hours, I noticed not only the deeper bass but an overall fuller sound within a wider soundstage. While listening to Steven Wilson’s remastered Thick as a Brick by Jethro Tull (an album I’ve listened to more times than I can count since its release in 1972) the music came alive like never before. I’m not sure whether the tour unit is still breaking in or just needed time to warm up after being in transit, but on that second day it really opened up... it was the best my system has ever sounded.
In swapping things around, I found no discernable difference switching to input 3 (buffered) and input 2 (passive). The interconnects I used between my DAC and the V25 already include fully discrete audio buffers, maybe that accounts for my not hearing a difference.
One thing that seemed a bit odd was that the balance between left and right channels really favored the left channel, I had to shift it 50% to the right to get the perfect stereo image. Maybe I didn’t fully understand the balance controls as even at 100% left or right channel there was still sound from both speakers.
When it came time to bid a sad farewell to the V25 and I put my DYI passive back in place, I expected a bigger loss in sound quality than there was… a bit less bass and a just slightly thinner overall sound.
I do wonder why the V25 is only powered by a wall wart connection. It seems to me that, as great as it sounds, it could be taken to even a higher level of refinement with a good quality power cord. In examining Tortuga’s web page I didn’t see an option for an IEC to enable connection via power cord.
In summary, I believe it would be difficult to find a preamp that can equal the beautiful, clear, deep and refined sound that the Tortuga 300.V25 produces, especially for under $2000. Even though my older DYI model comes reasonably close, that extra depth (or, to get technical, "oomph") may be hard to live without once I’ve heard it – I may find myself upgrading to the v25 one day soon.
Thank you Morten for your generosity in letting us listen to this fine preamp in our own systems, and for creating what I consider world class Tortuga components.
My system consists of the following:
Source: Sonore Microrendu
DAC: Schitt Yggdrasil
Preamp: DYI Tortuga LDR passive
Amp: Mivera Audio Icepower 1200AS2
Speakers: Cain & Cain Abbys + Fostex 900A super tweeters, dual subs