For the rest of you, please excuse me for just a few moments of self-indulgence as I describe my latest listening experience on my 2nd SP14 build. Then you can go back to the other posts!
It's been more than a month since the first, and somewhere out there are about half a dozen people doing it on their own (yeah!! DIY !!)
I wish this one was for me, this was for another one of my great and repeat customers, who has waited patiently
(the wait on these is now up to 4 to 6 weeks!) and I certain will find it worth the wait, and a HUGE improvement over his 2 year old SP8
(heck, this is a huge improvement on the SP12!).
To finish the headline of the topic . . . my jaw doesn't drop like those writers making mega$$ hawking multi-mega$$ equipment writing
magazine articles for not even the top 1% of real people, kind of like reviewing the latest Lamborgini in Road & Track. It's a fantasy!
But perhaps, the joy and ecstasy of listening to music thru an incredible tube preamp, could make me wet my pants
(if not literally, certainly figuratively). So now we get past the headline . . .
It's my true joy to finish this and listen to this, my 2nd build of my best preamp design. Certainly I MIGHT be biased,
but I try to tell people I'm not biased, my tubes are, I try to be subjective, I try to think like someone buying another product
from another vendor.
As a quick review for the few people (most on this forum are well informed!) who might not be informed, the SP14 preamp is a re-design of my SP12 design, switching from small common 9pin tubes (12AU7)
to the older (and mostly considered much better) large octal 6SN7 tubes.
Each channel (left and right) has it's own filament regulated power supply, each channel has it's own high voltage regulated power supply,
with the B+ using it's own independent filament supply. So five power supplies instead of two. Each channel has two independent outputs
(not paralleled, actually independent) so it's possible to compare in real time what different output coupling capacitors sound like.
It's not just bigger tubes . . . the 6SN7s really do seem to have bigger, wider, taller soundstage. More space.
If you've been around tubes for awhile, you know what I'm talking about.
I'm here to report back that the wait was worth it. When I powered up with my usual demo tracks, my heart was moved. It was like the first time I ever heard a tube amplifier (25+ years ago).
Musical ecstasy. More than I expected. The band was in my room with me. I couldn't turn it off, I had to listen to the entire album straight thru, no stopping, no testing, no distractions. Just groovin' with the music.
THAT is what this is all about. If you've had the experience, you know what I'm talkin' about.
If you haven't felt that, you need a good fix of tubes!
My customer Doc did it right. Didn't blow $$ on extras just because. But did do some upgrades that will make a really nice improvement!
No need for 3 Goldpoint attenuators plus a Goldpoint selector switch, that totals over $400 or more. He got the volume control.
Stock attenuators and stock selector. They work perfect, do the job, and essentially don't make much difference in the signal going thru.
The volume control is something you use and touch every time. The selector on this one doesn't handle any signal, it routes a voltage to activate a relay right on the input jacks.
It's been over a year since the last time I used this setup, it works nice.
The caveat being you want to make sure EVERYTHING else in the entire preamp is working first, before you install it.
One thing I did is choose the tubes for this. New tubes are OK, but no comparison to the real tubes made back in the 60s and 70s.
NOS 6SN7s are extremely plentiful and cheap compared to new knockoffs. You'll see a TungSol rectifier. I could probably resell it for $50.
I can't tell you how much I paid for it, but let's just say it was less than half what a new chinese rectifier tube costs.
I've also managed to pick up dozens of NOS 6SN7s over the past couple months, and paid less than half for them than a new knockoff.
Take your pick of Sylvania's, RCAs, GE, Raytheon, National. Chrome tops, clear tops . . .
The only other upgrade was premium Mundorf silver-oil PIO caps. It doesn't get any better!!
OK, so enough talk . . . let's see a few photos . . . . (reminder, you can order a KIT, but the wait for a build is 4-6 weeks)
OK, now get back to enjoying the music!!