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View Poll Results: What type remote do you prefer to control your preamp?
Use a dedicated custom remote? 2 10.53%
Use the Apple Remote? 5 26.32%
Use an app on my iPhone, iPad or Android? 9 47.37%
Custom plus apps? 2 10.53%
Apple plus apps? 1 5.26%
Voters: 19. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 15th February 2013, 09:18 PM   #1
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Default Tortuga Audio LDR3x DIY Preamp Controller w/ Remote

As I mentioned earlier in another thread, we are planning on coming out with an LDR based preamp controller board (the LDR3x) for the DIY community hopefully before the end of April. This is a result of development work we're doing on our line of LDR based passive preamps.

The intent is to offer a LDR based board around which you can build either a passive or active preamp that provides exceptional LDR attenuation, selection from 3 input signals, and be controllable via IR remote as well as at the unit.

Also, by using a pair of these in a master/slave configuration, you'll also be able to configure a balanced LDR based preamp. We still have some testing to do on the balanced configuration but I'm highly confident it will work nicely.

More info can be found per a recent post on our website: Tortuga Audio Plans LDR3X Preamplifier Controller for DIY Community | Tortuga Audio

The LDR3X preamp controller board will likely be viewed as pricey when compared to typical dirt cheap Chinese made audio boards. This board will be made in relative small quantities here in the US. Also, quite a bit of testing and custom tuning goes into each board given the unique characteristics and variability of LDRs. By its nature, this doesn't lend itself to mass production and low cost. As least not yet. I'm trying to keep it under $300.

I value your inputs and suggestions. In fact, every member on DIYAudio who provides constructive input, comments, suggestions or questions via this thread will be entered into a drawing from which I'll randomly choose 1 winner to receive a free board (including shipping) once they become available. So have at it and thanks.

Cheers,
Morten

Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by CaptainWatt; 15th February 2013 at 09:21 PM. Reason: add a picture
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Old 7th April 2013, 02:01 AM   #2
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CaptainWatt, are you still on target for the 3 input version? IMHO, this configuration will serve the widest market, as 6 is a bit much for the average resi system, and just 1 isn't enough. Having an option for balanced/unbalanced outputs is a big plus, and the remote is essential. At under $300 this would be the only product on the market that I'm aware of that does this. I have just a few components that feed into a receiver, and then to a driverack which controls my amps. I need a true preamp that will not discolor the signal as my makeshift receiver is today.
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Old 7th April 2013, 01:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twillyj View Post
CaptainWatt, are you still on target for the 3 input version? IMHO, this configuration will serve the widest market, as 6 is a bit much for the average resi system, and just 1 isn't enough. Having an option for balanced/unbalanced outputs is a big plus, and the remote is essential. At under $300 this would be the only product on the market that I'm aware of that does this. I have just a few components that feed into a receiver, and then to a driverack which controls my amps. I need a true preamp that will not discolor the signal as my makeshift receiver is today.
Watt? Oh. Yes! As you can see in the pic, the sausage making is well along. The prototype LDR3x board is located center left. All those red wires are part of a patch cable back to a microcontroller development board. Looks (is!) messy but this arrangement allows rapid updates to the software without having to pull/replace chips.

The foreground shows a graphics display board. I currently don't plan on offering a graphics display option with the LDR3x but we're going to use this same board in our updated lineup of LDR preamp products which will include a display of dB level etc.

At this point, development of the LDR3x is pretty far along. Everything works! Will be making final tweaks on the board design and ordering the final (hopefully!) development board by the end of the week. Once we have that board and it checks out, we can order a production run.

So I'm thinking that by the end of April we should be good to go. The only wrinkle in the timing is I may be moving to another location here in town between now and mid-May and you know how disruptive moves can be.

I do plan on finalizing the part/supplier/cost database this week and once that's done we'll set the price for the board and start taking pre-orders which will likely be at a discounted price until we start shipping. Next week I'll also post access to downloading a near-final draft of the LDR3x Operating Manual. Going to be a busy week!

Best,

Morten

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Old 8th April 2013, 04:34 AM   #4
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Morten,
Thank you for taking the time to detail your progress. There is a significant gap in the market for these components in this price range and I think your company is positioned to fill it well. Another supplier is coming offline for a while unfortunately. Curious, where is your company located?
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Old 8th April 2013, 01:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twillyj View Post
Morten,
Thank you for taking the time to detail your progress. There is a significant gap in the market for these components in this price range and I think your company is positioned to fill it well. Another supplier is coming offline for a while unfortunately. Curious, where is your company located?
Thanks. Hopefully this will turn out to be win-win all around. We're located in southwest Florida near the coast - Cape Coral/Fort Myers area. Where hurricane season is just around the corner.
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Old 13th April 2013, 06:47 PM   #6
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Default Technical Manual for the LDR3x DIY Passive/Active Preamp Controller Board

The technical manual is now available for the LDR3x DIY Preamp Controller Board.

The only quid-pro-quo for downloading it is I ask that you subscribe to our Newsletter. Once you've confirmed your subscription you'll receive a Thank You email that will contain a download link. We won't bombard you with newsletter spam. You can always opt out anytime.

Here's a link to subscribe to our newsletter.

The technical manual will give you a fairly decent picture of what the LDR3x can do and how you can interface with it. The current manual is a pre-release version and will no doubt get tweaked a little over the next few weeks but it's in fairly decent shape.

The price for the LDR3x Master Board will be $325. The price for the matched set of LDR3x Master & Slave Boards for balanced inputs will be $590.

We will also be selling an optional custom remote for $45 although you should be able to use your own programmable remote.

We will eventually be selling an optional Encoder and Input Relay Board but those are still being worked on.

We intend to start taking pre-orders for the LDR3x later next week via our website at www.tortugaaudio.com and will announce that as soon as it's available.

Feedback and questions always welcome.

Cheers!
Morten
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Old 21st April 2013, 05:59 PM   #7
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Thumbs up 6moons.com review of Tortuga Audio Passive Preamp

Check out this in-depth review of our LDR based passive preamp by 6moons.com

6moons audio reviews: Tortuga Audio LDR6
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Old 23rd April 2013, 06:00 PM   #8
Crom is offline Crom  United Kingdom
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An interesting DIY project for sure! Congratulations on the v positive reviews. Couple of points that might help people to decide if this is for them:

1) Having read this thread and the PDF download from your site I still wasn't entirely sure what I'd be buying - in terms of components (or whether the boards would be pre-populated etc). The thread and PDF mentions 'boards' and the fact that matched LDRs are supplied. It also helpfully says that you'll need to supply a 12v adapter. However, it doesn't seem to indicate whether a full complement of components (with exception of case etc) is included. I don't think that a BOM is called for but just to say that everything's there except..a/b/c...or just replace the word 'boards' with 'kits', if that's what's meant.
2) Other LDR-based kits (ligher note and lightspeed) seem to include a lot of set up, tweakery and impedence matching. How does this design deal with this?

Hope this is helpful. It looks like an interesting project and I'd love to have a crack at the prize draw!

Good luck with the launch and I'll definitely keep an eye on this.
Crom
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Old 23rd April 2013, 07:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crom View Post
An interesting DIY project for sure! Congratulations on the v positive reviews. Couple of points that might help people to decide if this is for them:

1) Having read this thread and the PDF download from your site I still wasn't entirely sure what I'd be buying - in terms of components (or whether the boards would be pre-populated etc). The thread and PDF mentions 'boards' and the fact that matched LDRs are supplied. It also helpfully says that you'll need to supply a 12v adapter. However, it doesn't seem to indicate whether a full complement of components (with exception of case etc) is included. I don't think that a BOM is called for but just to say that everything's there except..a/b/c...or just replace the word 'boards' with 'kits', if that's what's meant.
2) Other LDR-based kits (ligher note and lightspeed) seem to include a lot of set up, tweakery and impedence matching. How does this design deal with this?

Hope this is helpful. It looks like an interesting project and I'd love to have a crack at the prize draw!

Good luck with the launch and I'll definitely keep an eye on this.
Crom
Hi Crom and thanks for your comments.

The obvious often eludes us and your "what's included" comment is well taken. I'll amend the document to fix that. A graphic will also be helpful - I'll work on that. But I'll also take a crack at clarifying it here.

What it's not.

1) The LDR3x is NOT a kit in the classic sense of here's everything, you put it all together.

2) It doesn't come with a remote.

3) It doesn't come with a power supply.

4) It doesn't come with an enclosure.

What it is.

1) The LDR3x is a fully populated preamp controller board inclusive of custom matched LDRs with one exception. The infrared receiver is provided loose. You can either solder it into the board or locate it remotely from the board (usually near your front panel) and run wires from it to the board.

2) The LDR3x only needs 2 additional items to be a fully functional preamp controller; a 5 or 12 VDC power supply, and a programmable remote.

3) Once you have a power supply and the remote is programmed, you connect your single-ended source (DAC, phonostage etc), your amp, your 5 or 12 VDC power supply, turn it on (via the remote) and you're up and running. Strictly speaking you don't even need an enclosure if you don't mind a functioning spartan mess.

Things we'll likely eventually offer as options but you can source/use your own alternatives.

1) Remote
2) Encoder (you don't need this if you use a remote)
3) 12 VDC wallwart power supply.
4) 3 input relay board

Things we'll likely NEVER offer as options:
1) Enclosures

It's a fluid situation subject to change based on user input/interest but the above is a fair reflection of our current thinking.

Setup/Tweaking Etc.

Each LDR3B is semi-custom built with its own matched set of 4 LDRs including software based correction curves to ensure excellent left/right channel matching. Aside from the hardware items mentioned above, there's no setup/tweaking etc required or even possible.

Like all passive preamps, you need to educate yourself as to whether your particular combo of source and amp are a good match for a passive preamp. I recommend you read our article on the subject which can be found here: Is a Passive Preamplifer Right For You? | Tortuga Audio

Cheers,
Morten
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Old 23rd April 2013, 07:45 PM   #10
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Neat!
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