iTube2 Advice Needed

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witchdoctor

iTube2 Advice Needed
« on: 30 Nov 2018, 04:40 am »
I am considering purchasing an iTube2 and need advice. I know a dedicated 2 ch preamp is considered better for music than an A/V preamp. I use a Marantz 7702 A/V preamp with Paradigm Active speakers in my HT. I use a Sony UHPH1 bluyray player as a source. The Sony plays/streams every type of file there is and has both HDMI outs and RCA outs.
I can install the iTube between the Sony RCA outs and the Marantz 7702 and use it as a buffer.

I can also use it as a preamp directly between my Sony RCA outs and my Paradigm Active speakers.
You can see the pic below the speaker has both XLR and RCA inputs. My Marantz uses the XLR and I could run the iTube directly to the RCA's and use as a preamp.

Should I use it as a buffer or as a preamp?

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks








OzarkTom

Re: iTube2 Advice Needed
« Reply #1 on: 30 Nov 2018, 11:01 am »
My suggestion, buy one from Music Direct and you have 60 days to evaluate it. The best way is to try it in your system and see. If you do not like it, return.

witchdoctor

Re: iTube2 Advice Needed
« Reply #2 on: 30 Nov 2018, 11:39 am »
My suggestion, buy one from Music Direct and you have 60 days to evaluate it. The best way is to try it in your system and see. If you do not like it, return.

Thanks. Does anyone have an opinion of how it performs as a pre-amp?

OzarkTom

Re: iTube2 Advice Needed
« Reply #3 on: 30 Nov 2018, 12:46 pm »
Thanks. Does anyone have an opinion of how it performs as a pre-amp?

I found the SQ as very good.

witchdoctor

Re: iTube2 Advice Needed
« Reply #4 on: 30 Nov 2018, 01:28 pm »
I found the SQ as very good.

Thanks, how did it compare to your current pre? I I like the idea of an audition period.

Phil A

Re: iTube2 Advice Needed
« Reply #5 on: 30 Nov 2018, 04:50 pm »
I have never used mine as a preamp (has I think just 9db of gain).  I initially had it as a buffer on my (main) computer system between the computer and a beefy old Onkyo 1008 receiver (which I bought for a secondary basement system in my old house and then used in my main system and then when I upgraded the main system receiver I moved it to the office and after lightning damage I moved the Onkyo into my master bedroom system and bought a NuPrime IDA-8 for the office system).  I've had it as it is now in a couple of systems between a outboard DAC and a preamp input as a buffer.

RDavidson

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Re: iTube2 Advice Needed
« Reply #6 on: 30 Nov 2018, 09:12 pm »
I'm not sure I understand the goal. Yes, the itube 2 can be used for either purpose, buffer or preamp. What are you looking to gain by adding the device?

I know the Marantz may not be "audiophile purist approved" in comparison to a dedicated 2 channel preamp, but it's still a very nice unit and I would think that its room correction capability is a boon in HT and 2 channel in your modest setup. If anything, adding the device in the manner you're looking at is just adding another point of unnecessary insertion loss. Nonetheless, it's worth giving a try even if just to satisfy your curiosity. You have nothing to lose and experience to gain. Very nice, modern classic, speakers by the way. :thumb:

charmerci

Re: iTube2 Advice Needed
« Reply #7 on: 1 Dec 2018, 12:53 am »
You can read all about it on the iTube2 tour thread.


https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=148425.0


Reviews start on page 4. (I'm on page 6-8 and talk about all the differing switching possibilities, 3D, as pre-amp/buffer, etc.)

witchdoctor

Re: iTube2 Advice Needed
« Reply #8 on: 1 Dec 2018, 03:29 am »
I'm not sure I understand the goal. Yes, the itube 2 can be used for either purpose, buffer or preamp. What are you looking to gain by adding the device?

I know the Marantz may not be "audiophile purist approved" in comparison to a dedicated 2 channel preamp, but it's still a very nice unit and I would think that its room correction capability is a boon in HT and 2 channel in your modest setup. If anything, adding the device in the manner you're looking at is just adding another point of unnecessary insertion loss. Nonetheless, it's worth giving a try even if just to satisfy your curiosity. You have nothing to lose and experience to gain. Very nice, modern classic, speakers by the way. :thumb:

I want to see if an itube used as a pre-amp can "lift any veils". The signal path should be shorter than my marantz for two channel as a pre-amp. Bob Carver is a designer I respect and I listen to his passion about tubes it makes me curious enough to try it. I don't feel I am missing anything BUT you don't know what you don't know.

witchdoctor

Re: iTube2 Advice Needed
« Reply #9 on: 1 Dec 2018, 03:33 am »
You can read all about it on the iTube2 tour thread.


https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=148425.0


Reviews start on page 4. (I'm on page 6-8 and talk about all the differing switching possibilities, 3D, as pre-amp/buffer, etc.)

Nice thread, StevenZ shared good feedback on using as a preamp. Gotta read the other posts, thanks.

RDavidson

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Re: iTube2 Advice Needed
« Reply #10 on: 1 Dec 2018, 07:39 am »
Oh, I see. I wasn't clear if you were going to use the iTube in place of the Marantz or still keep it in-line. Either way, give it a try. Typically adding a device(used as a buffer) won't lift veils though. While I once owned the iTube 2 and think it's a great device for the price, it is not the most transparent (veil lifting / revealing) preamp. It could possibly be better than your more complex Marantz though. Give it a shot.

bacobits1

Re: iTube2 Advice Needed
« Reply #11 on: 1 Dec 2018, 01:16 pm »
Ok for desktop stuff, did not like it in the big rig. It did not make things transparent.
In fact it added too much. Listen for yourself. I like to keep things simple.

shogo33

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Re: iTube2 Advice Needed
« Reply #12 on: 3 Mar 2019, 12:32 am »
@witchdoctor

I have a pair of SGR CX4 active speakers that are quite similar to your Paradigms.  I recently got an ITube2 and tried it out in my rig as a buffer and a preamp.  But to relate my findings and experience back to your question.  Note i used the IPurifier 2 on the 15v IFI PSU into the ITube2 and both tests below.

Using the outputs of the Pana - ITube2 (in preamp mode - no gain setting, classic tube sound) - SGRs.  This would give you the best bang for buck experience.  Its 'reasonably' transparent as a preamp, but once you active the 3D, or Bass boost or SET/PushPull signature switches, it wont be and it does alter the sound.  Note that, i used a 2m long interconnect from my Pana UB9000 player's rca outs to the Itube2, and another 3m pair out to my SGR actives.  I managed to get reasonable output with these length cables at the volume control dial at 12 oclock position.

I also tried it with a simple Tisburry passive preamp (as a preamp) and ran the ITube2 as a buffer stage after.  It looked like this:  Pana RCA outs - Tisburry passive - ITube2 (in buffer mode, +6db bass & classic tube sound) - CX4s.   added another 1.5m cable from the Tisburry to the ITube2.  It sounded more transparent/cleaner than the former config, which i preferred.  I augmented the bass with the +6db bass boost, which didnt smear the mids/highs at all IMO.

Insert a caveat here:  I took the ITube out of the chain and ran it through my Modwright LS100.  More bloom & colouration in the sound.  So yes, the ITube as a preamp was more 'transparent' than my Modwright.

witchdoctor

Re: iTube2 Advice Needed
« Reply #13 on: 3 Mar 2019, 04:51 am »
@witchdoctor

I have a pair of SGR CX4 active speakers that are quite similar to your Paradigms.  I recently got an ITube2 and tried it out in my rig as a buffer and a preamp.  But to relate my findings and experience back to your question.  Note i used the IPurifier 2 on the 15v IFI PSU into the ITube2 and both tests below.

Using the outputs of the Pana - ITube2 (in preamp mode - no gain setting, classic tube sound) - SGRs.  This would give you the best bang for buck experience.  Its 'reasonably' transparent as a preamp, but once you active the 3D, or Bass boost or SET/PushPull signature switches, it wont be and it does alter the sound.  Note that, i used a 2m long interconnect from my Pana UB9000 player's rca outs to the Itube2, and another 3m pair out to my SGR actives.  I managed to get reasonable output with these length cables at the volume control dial at 12 oclock position.

I also tried it with a simple Tisburry passive preamp (as a preamp) and ran the ITube2 as a buffer stage after.  It looked like this:  Pana RCA outs - Tisburry passive - ITube2 (in buffer mode, +6db bass & classic tube sound) - CX4s.   added another 1.5m cable from the Tisburry to the ITube2.  It sounded more transparent/cleaner than the former config, which i preferred.  I augmented the bass with the +6db bass boost, which didnt smear the mids/highs at all IMO.

Insert a caveat here:  I took the ITube out of the chain and ran it through my Modwright LS100.  More bloom & colouration in the sound.  So yes, the ITube as a preamp was more 'transparent' than my Modwright.

Thanks for the info, I would probably use it as a buffer.