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Old 30th May 2015, 09:34 PM   #1
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Default Audiolab 8000C - modify or start again?

I've pulled my old 8000C out of my system as I recently acquired a Croft preamp. Initially I was blown away by the Croft, sounds stunning on jazz, folk rock etc, but compared to the Audiolab it goes to mush with more complex and heavier material.

The 8000C is an early one (old) so I've been thinking about replacing all the electrolytics, but on the other hand maybe I should just sell it and go DIY, or buy something better...

Your thoughts welcomed!

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Last edited by bluetomgold; 30th May 2015 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 30th May 2015, 10:00 PM   #2
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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Hi,

YMMV but IMO its a keeper. Tweak it.

Replace Electro's if you want. Bypass those in the signal path.

rgds, sreten.
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Old 31st May 2015, 08:55 AM   #3
M Gregg is offline M Gregg  England
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This all depends on your budget..

First of all why are you using a preamp?
Are you using RIAA turntable?
If not have you tried making a passive?

I have listened to a few Croft and they didn't float my boat..
It depends on if its just a line stage you want to drive cables or the input selector etc..

So you could just keep it and build something anyway..then make a decision if you like what you have built or not..

Then again if you don't want to spend money for fun DIY then you would be better going to some places and listening to demonstrations.

You could tweek the Audiolab however then what do you do if you don't like what you have done..

I remember listening to Audiolab way back and thought the Pioneer A300X and 400x were similar if not better. (Cost / price). YMMV

I still have my A300x that I bought to get my system running in the 1980's while I was building a tube amp.. so it was a stand in but brand new at the time..
With all systems there is a trade off..detail/warmth/thin sound/bass drive/ and this is what people agonise over..the problem is we think we know what we want and when we have it we think we want something else..its a cruel world..

If it was me I would have a play and build something just for fun..but that's just me..
Did you ever compare it to Quad or Naim..just for fun..

I remember everyone raving about the michaelson hifi but that didn't float my boat either..
My friend had a concordant preamp at the time and I put a DIY passive out of my system into his and he preferred the passive..
I remember sitting and listening to so much stuff in the 70-90's that I gets a bit weird..you find you end up not knowing what you want..

Everything sounds either rubbish, OK, or its the best I've listened to..what you want is a system you can't wait to listen to or don't want to switch off..

I know some people with systems that cost a fortune and if they power it up once a month that's about it..serious money..
I know a couple that just ditched a system because it wasn't in vogue anymore..

Regards
M. Gregg
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Old 31st May 2015, 09:32 AM   #4
M Gregg is offline M Gregg  England
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So I guess,

Can you make a silk purse out of a sows ear..or is it just great and you would buy a new one if you could..

Whatever you decide to do..I bet its out of favour after you rebuild it and you will ask the same question again..

I must add remember with DIY NOBODY has another like yours..even if its not as good as others..
The trick is to make it like your dreams...(LMAO) here starts the 5 year preamp project..

Regards
M. Gregg
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Old 31st May 2015, 10:04 AM   #5
M Gregg is offline M Gregg  England
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A couple of weeks and a lot of fun..

Don't try this at home.. Veroboard project..(preamp)

Just for fun build..its been shown before a some time ago..however It was fun and perhaps you might get a few ideas..
The cropped pic shows the modified Maida reg..the third is is an initial test its a bit scruffy because a PCB has been removed..
Anyway back to the Audiolab..

Regards
M. Gregg
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What is the sound of one hand clapping?

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Old 31st May 2015, 07:57 PM   #6
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My speakers are active (Meridian M1), cables aren't particularly long but some sort of buffer / line stage is probably a good idea. Most of my listening is vinyl so I need a phono stage, too. The Audiolab has the advantage of a built-in headphone amp, plus it has good tone controls, lots of inputs, and a separate selector for recording - all of which I find useful.

I'm happy with my turntable and speakers (although I do regularly swap turntable bits around for fun). The preamp has always been the thing that's been hard to pin down... Originally used a Crimson, which was very good, then got an old Meridian 101 with the intention of running balanced cables - it sounded very flat and veiled though, and an old Croft Micro turned up which I loved... then I was given the Audiolab, and it seemed to be a better compromise in terms of facilities, but also sonically more detail (especially with complex recordings) and better bass control/extension, so I sold the original Croft.

After a while I felt that the Audiolab wasn't making me want to play records in the same way as the old Croft, so when another one turned up I grabbed it... as I said, I love it with jazz and simple rock or acoustic music, but with more complex stuff it starts to sound muddy. Maybe I should try a new set of valves before giving up on it...
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Old 31st May 2015, 08:17 PM   #7
M Gregg is offline M Gregg  England
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Quote:
Maybe I should try a new set of valves before giving up on it...
Maybe you should build a different tube preamp..

Maybe its easier to do up the Audiolab..

Regards
M. Gregg
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Old 31st May 2015, 08:26 PM   #8
M Gregg is offline M Gregg  England
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Here is a suggestion,

Do up the Audiolab it won't cost a lot..I would be selective about parts, however most would just renew with standard parts.
If you do upgrade it I would do it bit at a time..ie change all the electrolytic caps first and try it..They last about 25-30 years..before complete failure.

If you aren't happy you can make your next move..

Regards
M. Gregg
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Old 31st May 2015, 10:07 PM   #9
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I think I will replace the electrolytics and see how it sounds. Also need to fix the output muting circuit (so I can use headphones without turning off my speakers) I'm hoping it's just a dirty relay...

Currently all the electrolytics in the audio path are Elna Duorex. In the past I've gone for Panasonic ECAs as they are cheap and readily available (CPC). Good choice?

I notice that the PSU caps are standard Elnas - is this a cost-saving choice or is the choice of cap critical?

Is it sensible to keep the same values?

Thanks chaps!
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Old 1st June 2015, 12:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluetomgold View Post
Currently all the electrolytics in the audio path are Elna Duorex. In the past I've gone for Panasonic ECAs as they are cheap and readily available (CPC). Good choice?
Currently leaning towards Panasonic FM but need to check what values are available.
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