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Sunday, 01 October 2000 ,  Written by Bryan Southard
Conrad Johnson Sonographe SC26 Stereo Preamplifier
Introduction As I received the Sonographe SC26 preamplifier for review, I admittedly looked upon this assignment with great uncertainty, knowing little what to expect. Like many of you, I respect for the creator and parent of the Sonegraphe SC26, Conrad Johnson. Few intimately familiar with fine electronics are unaware of the success and respect that CJ has amassed, with better than 20 years of experience in creating fine electronics. One of Conrad Johnson’s latest, the highly touted ART preamplifier, is considered by many to be the finest preamplifier ever made, priced as such at a crisp $15,000. However, Conrad Johnson has long been known for their tube amplifier and preamplifier products and although they have produced solid-state electronics, they are much better known for tube products such as the Premier Series amps and preamps. Unpacked and ready for hook-up, the Sonographe SC26 looked much like many of the Conrad Johnson pieces with which you may ...
Saturday, 01 April 2000 ,  Written by Jerry Del Colliano
Balanced Audio Technology VK-40 Stereo Preamplifier
Introduction One of the best complements one can pay to Balanced Audio Technology is that in a world where two channel manufacturers are going out of business like never before, BAT is thriving with a product line filled with high value and high performance tube and solid state electronics. The BAT VK-40 is a $4000 audio preamplifier designed for the serious enthusiast. It is a completely balanced design that features a full function remote, an alphanumeric front panel readout and an advance 140-increment Vichay volume control. The BAT VK-40 is incredibly easy to set up and its back panel is very logical. I simply directed the balanced output from my Mark Levinson No. 36s DAC into the VK-40 and ran the balanced main outs to a Mark Levinson No. 333 power amp. The VK-40 is outfitted with three balanced inputs and two unbalanced inputs as well as two balanced outputs that can be modified to ...
Tuesday, 01 February 2000 ,  Written by Bryan Southard
Sonic Frontiers Line 3 Stereo Preamplifier
Introduction The Line 3 from Sonic Frontiers is the flagship of their preamplifier lineup. It’s a two-box system, with a separate power supply enclosure attached via a sizable umbilical cord to the Line Stage Preamplifier unit. Each enclosure measures in at 19 inches wide, 14-1/4 inches deep, and four-and-a-half inches tall, a size consistent with much of the Sonic Frontiers line. The combined weight is approximately 60 pounds. The Line 3 is a fully balanced tube preamplifier, incorporating a fully dual mono design. The Line 3 uses five 6922s and one 6U8A tube per channel, for a total of 12 tubes. There are sufficient input options, including two sets of balanced and four pairs of single-ended inputs. As for output options, there are two pairs of balanced and two sets of single-ended outputs for you to chose from. There are also external loops for tape in and out and a surround processor input which, ...
Thursday, 01 April 1999 ,  Written by Jerry Del Colliano
Balanced Audio Technology VK5i Stereo Preamplifier
Introduction The BAT VK5i is a $4500 all tube, dual mono, fully balanced preamp from high end up-and-comer Balanced Audio Technology. Since Sonic Frontiers ten years ago, there have been very few new tube manufacturers to come along and capture the precious high end market share until BAT. Founded in 1995, BAT is both a tube and solid state electronics manufacturer who has carved a niche between high value and high performance music playback products. The VK5i is a great example of this balance. The VK5i makes few excuses in its operation. It features a full-function remote that is nicely crafted and fully loaded with functions like mute, fade, and volume. The faceplate features a utilitarian look with seemingly military spec switches for both power and mute. The volume knob, which digitaly controls a Vichey pot, is built solidly, but does not feel as high tech as what you'll find on a Mark Levinson, ...
Friday, 01 January 1999 ,  Written by Bryan Southard
Audio Research LS15 Stereo Preamplifier
Introduction The Audio Research LS15 Line Level Preamp has been in existence since the middle of 1996. It’s an all new design which theoretically replaces the former LS2B Mk II in the Audio Research line. I say theoretically because although it took the spot of the former, and much-respected LS2, it is very different in many ways. The LS15 is priced at the midpoint in the Audio Research line at $2995, and comes with a handy remote control, something that was an additional $500 option for the LS2. Its basic makeup is an all-tube gain using four 6922 twin triode tubes. It incorporates a fully differential zero feedback; balanced circuit with electronically regulated high and low-voltage power supplies. The LS15 has a large array of input/output options. These options include balanced inputs, as well as direct balanced inputs, for best signal purity. This path bypasses switching electronics, and allows for the most direct and cleanest ...
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