My Mark Levinson 38S was out-performed by a $1150 passive preamp - diyAudio
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Old 28th June 2005, 06:35 AM   #1
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Default My Mark Levinson 38S was out-performed by a $1150 passive preamp

I am a Mark Levinson fans for quite some time. From 38 to 38S, from 331 to 431, I love the fast and clear response of it. My gears as follows: -

Pioneer PT-07A CD player (yes, it is 15 years old with a new lens 3 months ago)
Assemblage DAC version 2.7
Dynaudio C2 speaker
VDH Silver Jubilee interconnects
Zu Cable Libtec speaker cable
ML 38S preamp
ML 431 poweramp

The passive preamp in test is a Django (using a pair of S&B transformers). When I hooked up the preamp, it immediately sounds good - detail, clear and with a quiet background. Tried a few cuts on the Japanese big drums, the drum skins are tighter although the amplitude is not as loud as the 38S yet the tings and dongs are very fine. Tried a cut from Carol Kidd (When I dream), she stands out from the stage and a very sweet, smooth and musical tone. Tried another cut from Dire Straits, it rocks. I have no option but to ask my friend leaving the Django with me.

Iíve tried it for more than a week now and it is still the chief actor in my system. I cannot stop myself from listening up to 1 in the morning. I believe it would be an ultimate budget preamp for everyone until last night.

I brought the Django to my friendís home who is using 38S preamp and a pair of 6C33 monoblock tube power amp. It doesnít work as good as it did in my system. It is still very detail and sweet but the difference is not that big.

I went through some webpages and it seems the impedance has something to do with passive preamps. The Mark Levinson 431 has an input impedance of 50K ohms on single RCA and 100K ohms through balance but I donít know what is the impedance of the 6C33. Can anyone tell me is this the reason why the passive pre-amp has such a big difference between working with a solid state poweramp and a tube poweramp? Is there any way to overcome this drawback?
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Old 28th June 2005, 06:50 AM   #2
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One would certainly expect the tube amp to have at least 100k of input impedance. Could it be the source to blame?
For reasons that go beyond simple impedance matching passive preamps work in some sytems much better than in others.
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Old 28th June 2005, 07:52 AM   #3
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The source is the same since I bring along the Assemblage DAC except that the CD drive is different.
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Old 28th June 2005, 07:54 AM   #4
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The CD drive in the tube amp environment is an Esoteric that I believe is better than my old Pioneer PT-07A.
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Old 28th June 2005, 12:53 PM   #5
Previously: Kuei Yang Wang
 
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Default Re: My Mark Levinson 38S was out-performed by a $1150 passive preamp

Konnichiwa,

Quote:
Originally posted by Sunsun22
I brought the Django to my friendís home who is using 38S preamp and a pair of 6C33 monoblock tube power amp. It doesnít work as good as it did in my system. It is still very detail and sweet but the difference is not that big.
I don't think the difference is specifically "Tube" vs. "Solid State", but likely system synergy specific. It is for example possible that the "Tube" amplifier is tuned to a fairly "opaque" sound and thus reduces the impact of what is ahead of it, this can often give a very relaxing sound with all music and make recordings more listenable....

Sayonara
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