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Tisbury Audio Mini Passive Review Print E-mail
Wednesday, 27 August 2014
Article Index
Tisbury Audio Mini Passive Review
Set Up and Listening
Bonus Interview

I received the Single Out option, to which I connected two sources and a rotation of two power amps. Sources were a Sim Audio Neo 380D DAC, fed by a SOtM Mini Server (review forthcoming), plus a Sony TC-350 reel to reel deck. Cables included Stager Sound silver interconnects for this application.

The Mini Passive is absolutely delightful in feel and build. It is rather light, but very nicely put together. The input select and volume knobs are of high quality. The wooden faceplate looks wonderful, and the silver knobs standout even more against this backdrop. The rear panel connectors are also of very nice quality, and the whole package seems as though it should cost more. Of note: there is no remote, as this was designed with a purist approach.

Tisbury Audio Mini Passive

Set Up & Listening

I first used the MiniPassive with the recently reviewed CLONES Audio 25p gainclone amplifier, then with the Audio Research VS55 tube amp. My first impressions were highly positive, with the transparency to sources, lower noise floor, and overall precision I have come to expect from passive units. This was after about 25 hours of break-in. Prior to that, the Passive Mini sounded a bit reticent. But once it settled in, and yes, even passive components have parts that settle in, it really shined.

Once you switch over from all but the very best active preamps, the lower noise floor of a good passive unit is something that is virtually impossible to do without. I also find the bass is always tighter and more articulate via a passive, and this was very apparent with the Mini Passive. My Thiel CS2.4 have exceptionally good bass control and the Mini Passive just played into that strength.

On the other end of the spectrum, the treble was ultra smooth, clean, and grain free. The freedom from grain is rather startling actually.  When you have taut, accurate bass, and grain free treble this opens up the midrange. The little Tisbury unit's midrange bloomed, not in the way that tubes typically create bloom, but rather in a way that was transparent with rock solid imaging. Midrange imaging, as far I am concerned, is vital.

Scottish singer Paolo Nutini’s stupendous new album, Caustic Love, is a modern day tour de force of funk, white soul, and rock. It is well recorded and mastered, a rarity these days, and it was majestic through the Tisbury and both amps. Tracks like the powerful "Iron Sky", "Diana", and "Looking For Something" were rendered with these song's inherent deep emotion.  



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