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Old 4th August 2014, 06:07 PM   #1
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Cool Audiophile quality preamp

The days of on-the-fly tone control is gone. I used to play my preamps as an instrument to enhance passages in songs to personalize my listening experience. If you haven't heard, you cannot know the benefits. I used to have an acoustic room strictly for listening. Ceiling and walls were 12" thick with 5 layers of sound isolation materials. The floor was mounted on pneumatic suspension. Had over 8,000W of amp power divided into a three way active crossover network. Many came for the experience and were blown away; their only comment was "unexplainable". It is impossible to explain how different and lively music can get when equalized on-the-fly as a musical instrument. All the new generation preamps and integrated receivers lack this flexibility. I find myself turning off my audio system shortly after turning it on, for the music is now bla; unlively. I can see all kinds of passages where songs can be improved, but I can't do anything about it. I need to build an audiophile quality preamp with at least base, midrange, treble, and loudness controls. Best would be with a 5 band parametric equalization tone control and a subwoofer output independent from the preamp's full range output. Also, I intend to drive many amps, all in parallel, each individually adjustable to compensate for amp input variations. This preamp will be used in all-stereo mode only. Does anyone know of a good preamp design with high SNR, and very low THD preferably unweighted. This would be a good start.
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Old 4th August 2014, 06:18 PM   #2
adason is offline adason  United States
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why can do all that in digital format by minidsp, ultracurve, and many other dsp machines, plus the convenience of 31 bands and hundreds of memories
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Old 4th August 2014, 06:47 PM   #3
a.wayne is offline a.wayne  United States
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The music is already eq'd , why necessary to do again after, i do find eq is mostly needed when the coloration is high in the system, same as massive room Absorption.

Go for low coloration, true to size speakers and you will find no need for eq ...

My 2c
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Old 5th August 2014, 06:17 AM   #4
Calvin is online now Calvin  Germany
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OT on:
If the TO likes to turn tone controls and equalizer knobs so its fine.
Actually I find the critique really off and certainly not helpful.
OT off.

I think You could look at a vintage preamp that features the tone controls You wish for and add as many output buffers You require.
Or copy from vintage amps Datasheets and build a new preamp after Your specs.
Apart from putting an equalizer between Pre and Power amps I donīt know of a all-in-one Preamp that fullfills all Your requirements.

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Old 5th August 2014, 09:35 AM   #5
miklos is offline miklos  Hungary
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I'm with Calvin on this. Try to find an old Technics flat preamp SU9070 and the matching parametric EQ the SH9010, they are from the late seventies and see if you can improve them.
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Old 5th August 2014, 08:11 PM   #6
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I was once in your shoes and was always tailoring frequency response of every song I listened to, now I find I like my playback systems flat to hear the music how it was intended to be heard.

I was using a Soundcraftsmen CX4100 preamp which has +12/-12db boost/attenuation at 30Hz, 60Hz, 120Hz, 240Hz, 480Hz, 960Hz, 1920Hz, 3840Hz, 7680Hz, and finally 15,360Hz on both channels. I think it is a very nice preamp but I have actually been thinking about listing it on the bay because I haven't used it in years and really don't see myself using it in the future.

Last edited by famousmockingbird; 5th August 2014 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 5th August 2014, 08:19 PM   #7
AuroraB is offline AuroraB  Norway
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Tone controls can be handy, but not necesseary al the time...
Just make them switchable..... that extra bypass switch does NOT play havoc with the signals, given it is a quality switch.. ( read: quality - not phoolery )
While the Lie leapt from Bagdad to Constantinopel, the Truth was still looking for it's sandals!
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Old 6th August 2014, 05:32 PM   #8
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Cool Obviously you are not getting it

I am not looking to equalize the songs/music as for a fixed equalization format; I want to be able to personalize my listening experience. For example, listening to Murrey Head's "Say It Ain't So", I would like to emphasize his voice in specific areas, and his guitar in others. All is done "ON-THE-FLY" at precise times and in very precise slew rates. I need to be able to increase or decrease certain frequencies at times by as much as 12 to 15db for short bursts of high slew rates or by juist a few db for a few seconds with slow slew. Those who have lived the experience can no longer appreciate the same songs/music when listened to in fixed EQ mode. If you haven't had the experience, you cannot understand the difference. Digital EQ is simply not adaptable for this kind of listening. If you are an audiophile purist, you are depriving yourself from the experience. I have met many purists that criticized the practice, but after they have lived the experience, ended up turning away from flat and geared up to relive the experience at will. If you do not know of a good audiophile preamp design with "analogue" EQ controls, I am not looking for criticism on the way I want to listen/play music; I have lost the desire for flat music a long time ago; I rather turn it off for it does nothing for me. I am 63 not afraid of investing stupid money to go back to what I love. So what I want is: Do you know of an audiophile quality "ANALOGUE" preamp design?
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Old 6th August 2014, 05:37 PM   #9
Mooly is offline Mooly  United Kingdom
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Originally Posted by benphysics View Post
Do you know of an audiophile quality "ANALOGUE" preamp design?
The tone control section of Douglas Self precision preamp (1996 ish from memory) is excellent because it has adjustable turnover frequencies (continuously adjustable, not switched).

Anyone built/listened to D Selfs precision preamp.
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Old 6th August 2014, 06:04 PM   #10
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Cool Looked it over and seems in the right direction

Many thanks, I looked at the link you sent me, and the preamp seems like just the right unit for my purpose. I have posted to get more information, and will try to get back to you whenever I get more information.

Million thanks,
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