Category: Preamps For years I've been reading the virtues of vacuum tube components over solid-state both Sterophile, Listener, and other audio magazines provide great articles on the subject , but I've been pretty much turned off by their rather quirkey nature, lower power amp ratings, and exceedingly high pricetags! I didn't want to give up my powerful watt McIntosh MC amplifier, so I concluded that if I wanted that warm tube sound while maintaining the power and deep bass punch of a solid-state amp, I'd have to switch to a vacuum tube preamp.
What's an audiophile with champagne tastes on a beer budget supposed to do? I've never seen a vacuum tube audio component of any kind at this unheard of low price, so I was a bit skeptical.
I decided to do a bit of research by reading the reviews about this preamp on various websites, and I have to say I was rather impressed with the results, so I decided to take a chance and buy it!
This preamp is packed with quality features: seven inputs, including phono; two outputs; a "Direct" switch that bypasses the tone controls; an optional balanced output plug-in module; and three convenience AC outlets two switched, and one unswitched.
Within days, UPS delivered what looked like a new unit, even though it was a demo CVTs the "s" representing the socketed version.
I disconnected my Carver C preamp, connected the AMC in its place, and turned my audio system on. Imagine the shock I experienced when with all the gains set to minimum, I heard a howling, buzzing sound that also blew a fuse in my power amp!
I immediately shut my system down, and notified Brent that I had what I thought was a defective preamp I found out later it was a bad 12AU7; there was absolutely nothing wrong with the preamp.
It has to be said that Brent provides excellent service! I then installed the new preamp in my system, and carefully turned it on After letting it warm up for a few minutes, I began to realize what all the fuss was about when listening to my audiophile-quality reference CD's and Direct-to-Disc LP's.
AMC XP-PREAMP - Stereo Pre-Amplifier
Almost instantly, I noticed the midrange harshness usually associated with solid-state equipment, virtually elliminated from my recordings! The grain was gone; in its place was a much warmer, open, airy quality that I've never experienced before.
And as the preamp's tubes were broken in for over 48 hours, the sweeter the soundstage became. Unfortunantly, I began to experience another problem; from time to time, there would be a faint popping sound coming from my Klipsch Cornwall loudspeakers, similar to an LP "pop".
I knew it wasn't my music, and after searching through various vacuum tube websites, several sites all mentioned the very same noise problem associated with the inexpensive Russian made Sovtek 12AX7WA tubes.
Jim also went way beyond the call to duty by answering each and every question I had concerning the noisy tube, tube matching, mixing and matching by manufacturer, tube functions, etc. By his recommendations, I was able to isolate the popping Sovtek, choose another inexpensive pair of 12AX7WA's JAN Philips to replace the Sovteks, purchase them at a discount, and was recommended future more expensive upgrades later on.
I quickly received the expertly packaged JAN Philips NOS tubes in the mail, popped them in, and not only did the noise disappear, but the tube swap smoothed out my mids and highs even further, without sacrifising the bass.
Over 65.000 manuals
Because of the exceptional customer service that both Brent and Jim provide, I will be doing future business with the two of them. With the option to experiment by upgrading tubes to acheive musical nirvana, and at such a small cost, I don't know why I didn't do this much sooner! Similar products None yet. This is my first experience with entry-level vacuum tube components.
AMC makes absolutely incredible sounding products for the money and then some. Good choice. I wish I was a dealer for them.
Great value!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I bought one for my fiance who is now my wife. We loved it.
Can anyone tell me what the gain in dB is with this preamp? There is nothing on thier website or anyone elses; Thanx. Hi, I would like to upgrade only line stage tubes. Which tubes are used for line stage only? Anyone knows?
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