Review; Supratek Cabernet vs Bent Audio NOH TVC

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Mondie

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Review; Supratek Cabernet vs Bent Audio NOH TVC
« on: 28 May 2005, 01:16 pm »
l have been the owner of a Cab now for about 6 months and enjoyed it immensly in that time. At the time of purchase it was the Cab or a NOH and went for the Cab just because of the doubts about whether passive really would do it for me. l decided a few weeks agoto go looking for a used NOH because l wanted to know once and for all what was possible with a good passive. l am glad l did : )

l have had the NOH 3 days now in my system and find it stunning. l have never gained so much enjoyment from listening to music, so much so that l tingle with excitement everytime l get to the opportunity for a listen. Everytime l find switching back to my Supratek lowers the fun factor, the naturalness disappears to a significant degree. Its like the Supratek is adding a level of coloration and unnatural drive, l don't know how else to explain it. On some tracks l find the lower octaves softer and more natural through the NOH and on others l find them to be deeper and more extended. l have no way of explaining that other than to say that whatever the Supratek is adding to the sound manifests itself differently on different recordings and frequencies. In all other areas the NOH is simply way superior.

l have only owned the Supratek for 6 months and remember the huge step-up in performance over my ARC SP-9. l think l have gained almost the same level of improvement again. For anyone who has experienced the entrancing vocal reproduction capabilities of a pair of Lowther horns, well l have moved a step closer to that IMO holy grail except l also have the bass, dynamics and visceral impact that Lowther's cant manage. l am a convert!

CAVEAT; There are many who claim the Supratek Cabernet is up there with the best pre's available and that may very well be the case. Passive only works in the right system. You need a high gain source and good impedance matching between source and power amp if you are to have any chance of success. l am sure in 90% or more of listeners systems they would much prefer the Supratek for these reasons. The fact that l am feeding such a high gain signal to my Supratek and needing to use its built in attenuator to lower this signal is far from ideal and no doubt in my system the Supratek is not giving its best. Mick from Supratek recommends having this attenuator at either position 1 or 2 for best performance, l have to have it at 6 (maximum cut) or else my system distorts. That gives you an idea of just how many volts are coming out of my modified AudioNote DAC. The only way to fix this is get a different DAC, not an option as l love the AudioNote and now having experienced the NOH, l doubt l could even get close going that route. The bottom line is, do you research before spending the money to have a go at passive as its not for every system.

The Cab is on the market if anyone is looking for a bargain.

Cheers Simon

westcoast

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Review; Supratek Cabernet vs Bent Audio NOH TVC
« Reply #1 on: 28 May 2005, 06:10 pm »
Simon, thanks for the nice review.  Well done!  I see in another thread that John says he's working on a new preamp design.  Can't wait to see what's coming next!    :hyper:

zybar

Review; Supratek Cabernet vs Bent Audio NOH TVC
« Reply #2 on: 28 May 2005, 06:16 pm »
Can't say I am suprised by your findings.

Outside of the TacT preamp I currently use (which is better b/c of the room correction functionality), the NOH was the best preamp I have ever owned or tried in my system.

If it wasn't for the TacT, the NOH would not have left my system.

It's also a pleasure dealing with John from a customer service standpoint.

When he gets back to selling a preamp, I will heartily recommend it to anybody who won't take the leap into room correction.   :wink:

George

flintstone

Bent Audio
« Reply #3 on: 28 May 2005, 07:23 pm »
I have not had the pleasure of listening to the Supratek line but your review seems to fall in line with another at Audio Asylum posted some time back although an early model from both companies so not exactly the same.

I did own a Bent TVC for around a year and I agree that John knows his stuff! I would still own it but a complete system and room change made passive setup less than ideal.

Dave

Phil

Review; Supratek Cabernet vs Bent Audio NOH TVC
« Reply #4 on: 28 May 2005, 09:25 pm »
Simon,

excellent review and an interesting outcome.  I have a Supratek Chardonnay.   Since my cdp has an internal volume control,  I tried connecting it directly to my amp.   In my particular setup, the direct connection has a bit too much hum and hiss, it was otherwise nearly the same (the Suprtek did add a bit more detail but changed the musical flow a bit, but not in an unpleasant way).  To my reasoning, that meant that the Supratek (and an additional pair of ICs), wasn't coloring the sound.  Of course, this is in my system and to my ears.  

Experimenting makes this hobby fun, especially if you can do so before puchasing the alternative.  Enjoy your new setup.

Phil

Mondie

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Review; Supratek Cabernet vs Bent Audio NOH TVC
« Reply #5 on: 5 Jun 2005, 01:01 pm »
Well l have lived with both the NOH and Supratek now for 10 days, swapping between the two many times. The blatant superiority of the passive is still amazing to my ears. It just sounds wonderful, natural, wholesome and most of all just leaves you feeling relaxed.

The Supratek begins its journey to its new home tomorrow and l must say l will walk out of the PO in the morning with a smile from ear to ear. Apart from its looks there is nothing else about it l will miss. And as a bonus l am actually able to pull some $$ out of my HiFi obsession and put them into one of my other hobbies, watch collecting. The black hole has given back for once :D

If you are even remotely interested in passive do yourself a favour and take the punge. l doubt there is a pre amp at any price that can match my NOH.

mingles

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Re: Review; Supratek Cabernet vs Bent Audio NOH TVC
« Reply #6 on: 15 Mar 2010, 06:07 pm »
Hi Simon,

My apologies for the late reply to this forum. I just stumbled into this review. Very interesting. I'm curious if you're still using the Bent TVC and if your impression has changed after 5 years.

Best,
Mark

Mondie

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Re: Review; Supratek Cabernet vs Bent Audio NOH TVC
« Reply #7 on: 16 Mar 2010, 12:19 am »
Hi Mark,

Yes l am still enjoying my Bent TVC. The NOH made way for a silver TAP about 3 yrs ago now and its still doing well in my system. l have been involved in a few comparisons against other pre's including Restek and Accuphase among others, its still here  :thumb:

denjo

Re: Review; Supratek Cabernet vs Bent Audio NOH TVC
« Reply #8 on: 5 Aug 2010, 12:57 pm »
Hi Mondie

Glad to hear the TAP is still with you! Wow, pitting it against the Accuphase and keeping the TAP says a lot about the TAP! I still enjoy my TAP immensely and find the realism of the sound and music just spooky real!

Best Regards
Dennis