Recommended Preamps That Will Pair Well With My New Golden Gate?

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Slapshot

  • Jr. Member
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What are the strengths of the GG that you are hoping to build on?  More broadly, what are your listening priorities?

The strengths are its incredible clarity and superb overall balance from the bottom end to the mids to the highs. A preamp that would add just a bit of overall warmth, as well as not detract from, and possibly enhance the already outstanding clarity would be ideal. I've had a couple recommendations from Golden Gate owners as to what preamps would accomplish this, but they are extremely expensive models and far beyond my finances.

Jarbs

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 7
Slapshot,

Something affordable to consider is the Linear Tube Audio Microzotl Preamp which is new this year. I’ve heard it with the Pacific at a show. I bought one based on this experience, although I do not own a Lampizator (mine is a Bricasti M1 SE). It lets the goodness through. I wouldn’t really call it warm, but it has its own sound, just a dusting of velvet, which is mostly dependent on which tubes are used. Otherwise it is clear, extended, dimensional, dynamic, liquid, detailed, and is quite good at micro dynamics too. Did I forget an adjective? I’m impressed with its imaging and ability with transients. The leading edge and decay seem just right. Natural. If it has a down side I haven’t found it yet. Well, I thought it was a good system. The demonstrators continue to use this set-up so apparently they think it is good too. (Lampizator, LTA, Daedalus, Skogrand, Wywires).
Happy shopping.

Slapshot

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 78
Slapshot,

Something affordable to consider is the Linear Tube Audio Microzotl Preamp which is new this year. I’ve heard it with the Pacific at a show. I bought one based on this experience, although I do not own a Lampizator (mine is a Bricasti M1 SE). It lets the goodness through. I wouldn’t really call it warm, but it has its own sound, just a dusting of velvet, which is mostly dependent on which tubes are used. Otherwise it is clear, extended, dimensional, dynamic, liquid, detailed, and is quite good at micro dynamics too. Did I forget an adjective? I’m impressed with its imaging and ability with transients. The leading edge and decay seem just right. Natural. If it has a down side I haven’t found it yet. Well, I thought it was a good system. The demonstrators continue to use this set-up so apparently they think it is good too. (Lampizator, LTA, Daedalus, Skogrand, Wywires).
Happy shopping.

Thanks for the suggestion, and I couldnt agree with you more about the LTA MicroZOTL MZ2 preamp. It's a true giant killer. I had one in my system just prior to purchasing my current Manley Neo-Classic 300B. I only sold it, and did so with mixed feelings, because the design and tube complement of the Manley just produced some added magic with my amp and speakers. And it should given that it is three times the price of the MicroZOTL, and that's before the added $2000.00 worth of tubes that the first owner had only recently purchased for it before I bought it from him.

One of the preamps I am considering is the new, full blown Berning design, preamplifier from Linear Tube Audio. According to LTA, it takes everything that the MZ2s offered to new heights. The have incorporated everything they know about preamplifiers into this unit.


Jarbs

  • Jr. Member
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I actually own both. I am referring to the new Microzotl Preamp and it is a bit better than the MZ2. The names are so similar I understand the confusion.
I also purchased the Daedalus Apollo 11 based on that show experience. I just received them and are breaking in. They are proving to be quite the performers. Well beyond where the system was. The preamp is only sounding better now. Often improvements only reveal the next weak link. I may try some different amplifiers but the preamp stays. I would also like to try a Lampizator at some point too.

genjamon

FWIW, I chose the Don Sachs after auditioning it with an LTA MZ2 that was powered using a Vinnie Rossi ultracapacitor power supplied instead of the LTA linear power supply.  What I heard from the MZ2 was extremely articulate, clear, open, dynamic sound with awesome imaging. And extremely controlled and articulate bass and highs especially.  But the Don Sachs had excellent performance in all those areas, but with a nice additional dose of midrange magic and more warmth.

Now that the new LTA separate pre is available, I’d really like to hear it up against the Don Sachs. But if the MZ2 has the LTA house sound and the new preamp is just a nicely more refined version of that sound, I would expect the Don Sachs to have that touch of magic (soul, character) that really brings the performances alive for me more than all the detail and control in the world - where LTA shone in comparison to the DS.

But it’s always about the synergy. I have never heard a GG or Pacific.

Tubeburner

Have you considered Tortuga? They have a passive, a new buffered preamp and you can add a tube buffer to their passive. I currently own their new buffered preamp and it enhances the music like you are asking for but also gets out of the way. The Lampizator dacs have plenty of gain in my experience,  so no issues there. All the clarity and nuances are there with my Von Sxhweikert VR7 HSE speakers. Of course,  IMO.
« Last Edit: 23 Dec 2018, 11:55 pm by Tubeburner »

kernelbob

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 379
I've been very happy using the Golden Gate DAC and have now moved to the Pacific, both balanced versions.  I had both units built without a level attenuator.  The built-in attenuator has a fixed input impedance seen by the DAC analog output.  Instead, connecting the output stage directly to the Tortuga LDRxB controller allows the input impedance seen by the DAC to be set to an optimum level for a specific system configuration.  Both the GG and Pacific sounded best with the Tortuga input impedance set to between 85 and 91 kohm per phase.

In my system, the Tortuga connects one set of outputs to a pair of Lampizator True Balanced 211 Monoblocks for the M/T and the other set of outputs to a pair of Spectron Musician III Mk-II amps running as monoblocks.  The Lampi 211's have 100k input impedance per phase, so that's plenty high.  The Spectrons on the other hand are 25k which is low for the LDRxB.

I'm auditioning the Tortuga tube buffer as an impedance firewall ahead of the Spectrons.  It works very well there with more fleshed out harmonics, better complementing the Lampi 211's on top.  The buffer's gain can be ordered set to any value to mate with the M/T amp, allowing final trimming to be done with the 211 amps' conventional rotary attenuator.  Mine was customized with 1 dB steps for that purpose.

At the moment I'm driving both the top and bottom amps directly from the LDRxB as the tube buffer is being auditioned in an friend's system.  I've found that with my amps, setting the input impedance of the LDRxB to 65 to 75 kohms decreases the level of the bass by a small amount, just about enough to match the level of the Lampi 211 amps.  However the lower LDRxB input impedance setting relative to my 85 to 91 favored range results in a slightly less focused midrange/treble.

To summarize, my recommendation is to keep the signal path as simple as possible.  The more devices, amplification stages, connectors, etc. that you force the signal to negotiate, the more the signal will be degraded in various ways.  You may want to add the tube buffer, but first try just the LDR controller and experiment with input impedance settings.  Then you can see how the tube buffer influences your system.

Best,
Robert

ketcham

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 224
Search on this forum and also the internet about the Allnic L10,000 OTL/OCL linestage preamp.  PM me with questions.  This unit takes credit in bringing my system together.  I think it would pair well with your Dac.

John.

Slapshot

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 78
Search on this forum and also the internet about the Allnic L10,000 OTL/OCL linestage preamp.  PM me with questions.  This unit takes credit in bringing my system together.  I think it would pair well with your Dac.

John.

Sounds like a superb preamp, and it's stunning to look at, but at $30k, its in another universe from me as far as pricing I can afford. 


Slapshot

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 78
I spent the last couple months researching preamplifiers to death. I talked to everyone from known audio reviewers, to distributors, to owners of prominent brick and mortar audio stores, to primary audio forum experts, to friends I had made in the industry and also some well heeled audiophiles I had access to that have bought, demoed and sold as many as twenty or more preamps each.

 

In the end, I had a list of what, ideally, I would look for, on sale used (to allow some affordability). The other night, one in the most desirable grouping appeared, and in mint condition, original owner, all packaging, accessories etc. available, and with a new set of NOS tubes. The price was also more than fair. I quickly purchased the unit, and am having to bide my time until the owner gets back from his extended New Year's trip to his cabin in the mountains on January 6th. He will ship the next day, Monday, the 7th.

 

This is a very rarely found preamp, that also "completely coincidentally" will match beautifully with my amplifier,. The preamp in question?  The Conrad Johnson ACT2. This is referred to as, essentially, a one chassis version of the fabled, ultra limited, and ungodly expensive, ART2 preamp. I was very fortunate to have this fall into my lap, and, based on the Conrad Johnson expertise I had available to me, including an incredibly knowledgeable former CJ distributor, and people within CJ itself, it should not only be a superb preamp, but a great match with my Golden Gate. It's also, in my opinion, a stunningly attractive piece of gear, so bonus there. I can't wait until I receive the delivery and cant connect things up.

 

Review link included:

 

https://www.stereophile.com/tubepreamps/305cj/index.html

OzarkTom

You can also check out the Wired4Sound preamp that is 6Moons reference.

https://6moons.com/audioreviews2/wyred5/1.html