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    PAT4a or PAT5?

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    wildiowa

    Posts : 202
    Join date : 2012-03-19

    PAT4a or PAT5?

    Post by wildiowa on Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:50 pm

    I asked this before, but now must make a decision. I have a a friend who has both the PAT5 and a PAT4a preamp. I took the "5" home and have been using it. But there are those here who much prefer the "4a". Should I go for the "4a" it is so hard to tell listening, but are there issues/ features that make that the better rig? I can swap...need affirmation or confirmation. Is it worth me worrying about?? Gotta decide tonite, or soon...
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    ArlanB

    Posts : 67
    Join date : 2011-01-23
    Age : 71
    Location : Santa Cruz, California

    Re: PAT4a or PAT5?

    Post by ArlanB on Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:36 pm

    wildiowa,

    I would like to submit my vote for the PAT4.  I purchased a PAT4 10 years ago to drive my then new VTA ST120 and have not looked back.  It was suggested at the time that I steer clear of the PAT5.  So I purchased a PAT4 unit that had moderate upgrades made to it and I have been throrughly satisfied.   Some day I would like to upgrade to a tubes4hifi preamp but life keeps getting in the way.
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    j beede

    Posts : 469
    Join date : 2011-02-07
    Location : California

    Re: PAT4a or PAT5?

    Post by j beede on Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:28 pm

    There are other cheap solid state preamps that I would consider before PAT 4 or PAT 5. For ~$100 I would at least think about:

    Hafler DH-100/101/110
    NAD 7020, 3020, 1020, 1155, 7220, 7225, 7130
    Rotel RC-960/970
    Advent 300
    GAS Thalia



    wildiowa

    Posts : 202
    Join date : 2012-03-19

    Re: PAT4a or PAT5?

    Post by wildiowa on Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:03 am

    What is crazy is I have an Advent 300 I bought new many many years ago and I'm letting my kids in NYC use it! So I am on the hunt. I guess the 300 is very nice, especially the phono stage. I should grab it back but they kinda like it.
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    Peter W.

    Posts : 966
    Join date : 2016-08-07
    Location : Melrose Park, PA

    Re: PAT4a or PAT5?

    Post by Peter W. on Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:15 am

    wildiowa wrote:I asked this before, but now must make a decision. I have a a friend who has both the PAT5 and a PAT4a preamp. I took the "5" home and have been using it. But there are those here who much prefer the "4a". Should I go for the "4a" it is so hard to tell listening, but are there issues/ features that make that the better rig? I can swap...need affirmation or confirmation. Is it worth me worrying about?? Gotta decide tonite, or soon...

    Superficially:

    PAT-5 vs. PAT-4 (a = "Factory Assembled): Go with the Pat-4 hands-down.

    PAT-5 BiFet vs. Pat-4: Go with the PAT-5 BiFet

    More in-depth:

    If you need a head-amp (literally, tape-head amp): PAT-4
    If you make a habit of using crystal phono cartridges: PAT-4
    If you need an on-board headphone amp (high-impedance): Go with the PAT-4
    If you are paranoid about vampire loads: Go with the PAT-4. The PAT-5 draws about 3 watts when plugged in. And should never be turned on cold to an amp. *POW*  *THUMP*  *THUMP*
    If you want to adapt an existing input for an MC Phono-Cartridge: go with the PAT-5 BiFet. It is compatible with about 80% of MC cartridges
    If you want an EPL (External Processor Loop, for an equalizer, for example): Go with the PAT-5 BiFet
    If you want all sorts of controls, bells, whistles and so forth: Go with the PAT-5 BiFet

    It is all in accordance with your needs whether the 4 or 5 BiFet is a better choice. There is not much between them in sound.
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    Peter W.

    Posts : 966
    Join date : 2016-08-07
    Location : Melrose Park, PA

    Re: PAT4a or PAT5?

    Post by Peter W. on Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:45 am

    j beede wrote:There are other cheap solid state preamps that I would consider before PAT 4 or PAT 5. For ~$100 I would at least think about:

    Hafler DH-100/101/110       Not a bad pre-amp. I keep one at the summer house, as it is pretty bullet-proof if properly assembled in the first place. That is the key.
    NAD 7020, 3020, 1020, 1155, 7220, 7225, 7130        NAD sound quality is very good. NAD build quality is just short of wretched. Consider the girl with the pretty little curl.
    Rotel RC-960/970     No experience, no comment.
    Advent 300        The Advent 300 as a tuner/pre-amp is not a bad option. HOWEVER - they are everything-on-a-single board devices and are reaching the end of their first life. Most will need recapping, and they have a tendency to burn out their LEDs. The tuner section, when aligned and functioning is first-class in most environments.  Note that the LEDs affect circuit function, so should be good, and should be fairly closely matched - hence the warning.
    GAS Thalia       No experience, no comment.



    Few of the above are readily available at the ~$100 figure quoted, and those that are typically have a reason for that price. I have gotten lucky at Kutztown and at garage sales, but by pure blind luck, rather than a focused search. Please make sure you can kick the tires prior to purchase, if you decide on these options as well.

    As we have entered the realm of Tuner/Preamps - it is my opinion, now based on 18 years of direct experience, that the Revox A720 is the best example of a tuner/preamp on this planet.

    http://www.reeltoreel.de/worldwide/A720.htm  

    Finding one these days at less than $1,000 and in fully operable condition *will* be by pure blind luck.  One of my examples is in the hands of my grand-daughter as a daily-driver, the other is in my main system, also as the daily driver, feeding a Citation 16 power amp into Magnepan speakers.

    wildiowa

    Posts : 202
    Join date : 2012-03-19

    Re: PAT4a or PAT5?

    Post by wildiowa on Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:53 am

    I am going with the 4a, I think...giving it a listen later. The 5 is not a bi-fet, and the 4a appears to be the factory assemble. And the speaker switching is of no use and is a distraction. I am paying a premium I suppose but he is an old friend and it is in prime shape...not exactly a barn find...$230.
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    Peter W.

    Posts : 966
    Join date : 2016-08-07
    Location : Melrose Park, PA

    Re: PAT4a or PAT5?

    Post by Peter W. on Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:41 am

    wildiowa wrote:I am going with the 4a, I think...giving it a listen later. The 5 is not a bi-fet, and the 4a appears to be the factory assemble. And the speaker switching is of no use and is a distraction. I am paying a premium I suppose but he is an old friend and it is in prime shape...not exactly a barn find...$230.


    Wise choice!

    When the weather turns and we close the summer house, I will engage in a complete power-supply rebuild/Upgrade of the my PAT-5 BiFet, along with a recapping and control cleaning. I built it as a kit, having purchased it directly from Blackwood when they closed up shop and were remaindering their already boxed kits. So it has some sentimental value in addition to its excellent functionality. But, I would not take the time were it not the BiFet model.

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