Well, due to my shift schedule I only had time to listen for one evening before sending it on to TJHUB, but I do have a few observations to share.
I have currently two pre-amps, a Tortuga LDRx passive and an Audio Electronics (cary audio) AE-3, and I love them both.
The rest of my system consists of:
AppleTV (160 gb)
Musical Fidelity V-90 dac
Monarchy SM-70 Pro (24 w/ch)
Soliloquy 5.0i monitors, sitting on #2 Vibrapods (a wonderful match)
When I received the unit the balance was adjusted way to the left, and this was required to center the image. A recalibration didn't fix it, and it was worse at higher impedances. The fidelity seemed fine though so I carried on with the session.
I should state at the outset that I tried other passives (pot-in-a-box and a TVC) in my system before settling on the Tortuga . The Tortuga LDR to me seemed perfect in my system. Transparent, robust, clean, fleshy and exciting. I tried this buffered version really out of curiosity, and the thought that possibly I was missing something.
From this test I'd say my system doesn't need the buffer stage. I didn't identify much difference except that the buffered version might be a bit less transparent than my LDRx. Not surprising considering the additional circuitry.
I wholeheartedly recommend Tortuga preamps to everyone, but possibly try out the fully passive unit first before jumping to the more complex buffered version.
I did however like the new display and menu. Is that possibly a conversion I could do to my LDRx at home?