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    SP14 first impression



    Posts : 68
    Join date : 2010-02-09

    SP14 first impression

    Post by xlr8 on Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:23 pm

    Howdy folks! I got my new SP14 preamp up and running this past friday. I've put about 30 hrs on it thus far and this is what I think: WOW!! I've used modified Pas3, Adcom GFP750, Antique Sould Lab Wave (don't waste your money) Eico HF85 and now this into 2 VTA boarded ST70s driving my homebrew dipoles that I designed and built myself a few years ago. The Eico has stayed in the longest because it sounds so much better than the previous preamps, having been re-capped with k40y PIOs and power supply helped out a little. When my wife first heard the Eico, she was immediately baptized into the world of audio. cheers

    I played the first track through the SP14 this past friday at around 9am. "The Look of Love" by Diana Krall (computer file). At first it sounded cold and hard. Even a little tizzy at the extreme top end. I know it needs some play time in order to smooth out. Even still, I could tell that imaging and soundstage are head and shoulders above the Eico. My friend and I have been playing guitar along with artists over my system for years, but friday, we just played track after track after beautiful track. He is not an audio guy and never has been, but he loves music just as much as I do. As we were listening to a Greatful Dead track, HE was the one who pointed out how realistic drums sound now. He said "I have NEVER heard drums sound like that coming out of a stereo". On another track, he went on to tell me that "it sounds like a real live person is playing a real piano inside your house". All this time, I was wondering to myself whether I should have used the k40y caps in here rather than the Mundorfs, because to me, it sounded like someone was poking me in the ear with a sharp stick. After playing tracks all day and into the night friday and saturday, it already seems to have smoothed out significantly this morning. Bass is fuller and richer now and that tizzy top end has mellowed quite a bit. Patience is a virtue and I'm not going to run out of music to listen to, so I'm just going to let it play and see what happens as it burns in. Overall, my wife and I both feel like this is the best sounding piece of audio equipment that I've installed in my system to date. I have one little bug to work out between the gain and master volume, but I can't bring myself to pull it out to fix it!!

    Thank you Roy for making a piece like this available at such an awesome price! I personally know the folks who own Audio Alternative in Lilburn GA. I never thought I'd ever own equipment that sounded even close to the megabuck stuff they sell, but I do now! They have always been nice enough to set up the very best they have to offer and allow me to bring records in and get a reference. So how do I tell them they need to come over to MY place to get a reference?? HA!!! lol!

    Edited to include the fact that I now understand what people mean when I read about "instruments in their own space" or "air around instruments" or "black background". This thing is dead quiet too. Cool

    Last edited by xlr8 on Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:06 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Additional details)


    Posts : 1308
    Join date : 2008-11-30

    Re: SP14 first impression

    Post by tubes4hifi on Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:07 pm

    OK, well now, you're spoiled like me - nothing but tubes for life! (hey yeah, another new website for me . . . tubes4life Very Happy )


    Posts : 68
    Join date : 2010-02-09

    Re: SP14 first impression

    Post by xlr8 on Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:33 am

    Yep, I'm definately spoiled now. We're on day 5 of listening, 50+ hrs and it seems to just get better and better. That tizzy treble I mentioned is slowly turning into an incredible amount of detail. I never noticed before that some of the computer files I have of older recordings have been pulled off of an LP. I can now make out the distinct sound of a stylus tracking on a record on a lot of them.

    My tubehead friend came by yesterday. He brought along his Hickok 533 and his magic box of ancient tubes. He left me with a couple of nice sets of Jan Sylvania and old RCA 6sn7 to try after 100hrs or so. He also left me with a spare CBS labled 6x5 rectifier tube that he said he'd probably never use. What a guy! Cool

    Tube Nube

    Posts : 657
    Join date : 2008-12-06
    Age : 53
    Location : Calgary, AB

    Re: SP14 first impression

    Post by Tube Nube on Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:19 pm

    What a great review!

    I'll have to look up your comparison pre amps, just so I better know how good is my SP14.

    But i was nodding along with your description. I've really been enjoying mine for I dont even know how many months now.

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    Re: SP14 first impression

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