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Old 17th May 2006, 01:01 AM   #1
luigi is offline luigi  New Zealand
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Default Tubalizer, Monica

Just a brief impression of the AudioDigit Tubalizer for those interested.

I had a stepped attenuator lying around which sounded really very good, and was too expensive to leave doing nothing (it was reviewed in TNT see here: http://www.tnt-audio.com/accessories...ed_attn_e.html).

So I ordered in a Tubalizer and put the two into an enclosure with the Sovtek Octal tube poking out the top. That way everyone knows it's a tube preamp, and it looks pretty cool, despite the cheezy metal box.

Anyway, given the hum problems reported by others, I decided to use a 12v SLA.

Hooked it up for the first time last night, and whoa, this is good. I have compared it with my Tribute Audio autoformer based preamp and, within about a few minutes, we realised there was a winner here. The preamp with the Tubalizer edged out the magnetic volume control, which was a huge surprise given it cost half as much. Bummer for me.
Better clarity, more transparency, better staging, improved more real imaging, a more forward presentation. Just as if a tube preamp had been introduced to a solid state system in terms of staging and timbral accuracy, which, of course, it had.

By the by, there is no hum with the Tubalizer when used with a 12v SLA. No hum at all with Charlize, a bit with the AKSA50Nirvana+, a bit less with another solid state "meta-class A" amp. Interestingly, the AKSA was the best sounding of these three, despite having the most hum. When I say "most hum", this is with 96dB Hempcone speakers and is still only just audible from the listening seat with CD on pause.

I have also recently purchase a Monica NOS DAC. I hadn't listened to it much before because I had gain problems with the little Charlize amp. But with the AKSA back in the system there is now sufficient gain and I managed to get good listening levels with Monica (that is to say loud enough to get the Missus to yell at me from the other end of the house). This is a good wee unit, and surpasses the Ah Tjoeb plus upsampler single box player (tubed output stage). As Sam T would have said, there's just more there there. And it is so smoooth and analogue like. Not that I have a record player here but Im working on that.

Like the Tribute unit, Im happy to play rubbish quality CDs that I had written off as unlistenable with other preamps in the system. So it has that musicality thing going.

I had a brief play with the Tubalizer "tuning" screw but it only really sounded right with non-rolled off treble when turned all the way clockwise.

Cost of the preamp? About $US300, perhaps a little less.

I am now considering trying another Tubalizer with Monica. I also intend giving it a lash with the Tribute volume control, though in theory impedance mismatches should not be such a problem with an autoformer volume control. Or am I misinformed here?

Has anyone else tried using a Tubalizer in any of these applications? I am most impressed with it as an impedance matching device when used in concert with a straight passive preamp. It's a very cool and cost effective device. The only downside is that the octal doesn't glow much on 12v!

Luigi
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Old 17th May 2006, 03:16 AM   #2
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My suggestion? Wire up your Tubalizer preamp in reverse. That is, put the tube buffer before the attuenator. And then attach it to the Monica, and then to the AKSA. You might be surprised.
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Old 21st May 2006, 08:28 PM   #3
luigi is offline luigi  New Zealand
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Default Tubalizer, as CDP analogue output stage

Hi eVITAERC

Er, actually, I was surprised because there was no change whatsoever.

I have a Tubalizer nailed to a piece of wood, and have hooke it up pretty much everywhere in the system. Behind the Ah Tjoeb CD player, before the passive preamp (a Tribute Audio autoformer). After a Monica DAC and before the same preamp.

In both positions the Tubalizer had no effect.

But after the passive preamp and before the power amp, a quite dramatic difference, all for the positive.

And this is what I would have expected.

The analogue output section of the CD player is essentially a tube buffer stage. What the passive needs is help driving the cables and power amp, and this is clearly where the buffer stage works a treat.

Having said that, the people who make Tubalizer reckon it can be used INSTEAD of the analogue output stage in a CD player. This I have yet to try.

Has anyone else had any experience with Tubalizer replacing analogue output stage of a CD player??

Luigi
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Old 6th February 2007, 01:30 AM   #4
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Hi Luigi,
Did you ever manage to put a Tubalizer in your CD player?
I have bought a Tubalizer (unfortunately distorting at the moment) and intend to install it in my player eventually.
Regards,
Martin.
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