Don Sachs Model 2 Preamp

jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 1,468
Just secured this used Don Sachs Model 2 preamp for pickup in a week or two.
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Based on the venerable VTA-SP14, info on these units found here: http://www.dsachsconsulting.com/custom line stage.html
The one I'm getting has the volume remote upgrade, upgraded pair of Shuguang Black Treasure CV181-Z tubes, and upgraded Duelund CAST PIO-Cu output capacitors. I may send it in for further upgrades after I play around with it first.

Anyone here familiar with Don Sachs equipment? Looks like he started with Vacuum Tube Audio/Tube4HiFi kits, and then applied his own improvements. His stuff seems to get rave reviews on the interweb.

"Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon

Comments

  • FaustinFaustin Posts: 968
    Nice looking pre. Not familiar with his products. I will be interested in what you think once you have a chance to play with it a while. I think my next pre will be one that uses the 6SN7 instead of a 12A series tube.
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 25,742
    Faustin wrote: »
    Nice looking pre. Not familiar with his products. I will be interested in what you think once you have a chance to play with it a while. I think my next pre will be one that uses the 6SN7 instead of a 12A series tube.

    Or go for the gusto with a single-triode 6SN7 precursor -- 6J5, or maybe even a 56 or a 27 :)

    http://vinylsavor.blogspot.com/2014/02/tube-of-month-6sn7.html
    6mpdppu0l6vh.png

    They're all good, and good sounding, tubes, if that family has enough "mu" for one's porpoises purposes. :)
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 4,550
    Looks good Jody. Looking forward to your impressions.
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT - Parasound P6 - PS Audio M700x2 - Elac Adante AS-61 - AQ Niagara 5000 - SVS SB16u

    HT - Panasonic BDP/Tivo Bolt - Marantz SR5013 - Def tech C and In ceiling - Sony XBR 75"
  • NightfallNightfall Posts: 9,110
    Faustin wrote: »
    I think my next pre will be one that uses the 6SN7 instead of a 12A series tube.

    Why?
    afterburnt wrote: »
    They didn't speak a word of English, they were from South Carolina.

    Village Idiot of Club Polk
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 1,468
    edited November 2019
    Will be interesting for sure. My previous in-home experience with tubes is limited to incorporating an Eastern Electric MiniMax BBA into my system...which may become for sale if things work out well B)

    EDIT: I want to throw a tube-pre hard against a class-D power amp.

    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 4,550
    Should be a very interesting combo.
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT - Parasound P6 - PS Audio M700x2 - Elac Adante AS-61 - AQ Niagara 5000 - SVS SB16u

    HT - Panasonic BDP/Tivo Bolt - Marantz SR5013 - Def tech C and In ceiling - Sony XBR 75"
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 16,708
    That is very sexy Jody. I like!
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 1,468
    My big limitation for testing is a good DAC. I will really be limited to vinyl/analog except for a Logitech SBT, or a CD player.

    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • FaustinFaustin Posts: 968
    Nightfall wrote: »
    Faustin wrote: »
    I think my next pre will be one that uses the 6SN7 instead of a 12A series tube.

    Why?

    To my ears the 6SN7 has a better soundstage and is more musical than the 12A family of tubes. And the price of NOS 6SN7 tubes is not as ridiculous as 12AX7,s and 5751's etc. Side note: I recently bought some nice quality adapters/converters for my Bottlehead 300B monoblocks, to go from the the miniature 9 pin 5670 tube to a 6SN7. With the 6SN7 I have noticed better bass extension and an overall better sound. x55jf8per0gr.jpg
  • msgmsg Posts: 5,744
    jdjohn wrote: »
    My big limitation for testing is a good DAC. I will really be limited to vinyl/analog except for a Logitech SBT, or a CD player.

    Beautiful looking piece there, Jody. Curious to hear your impressions, as well.

    Re: the DAC, I say nothing to worry about in your plan there, since you'll be testing this new piece with other components you already know.
    I disabled signatures.
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 25,742
    edited November 2019
    The 6SN7 is a hifi tube, even though it wasn't designed for hifi. :) IMO, of course. Only medium-mu, though, so it's not exactly a blanket replacement (functionally, that is) for high-mu twin triodes like a 12AX7 or a 6922.

    I am with @Faustin, FWIW -- I am always a little perplexed, amused, and saddened when I see the knee-jerk use of 12AX7 and 6922 in modern hifi designs, especially when said designs aren't phono or tape head preamp/EQs :p The 6SN7 and 6SL7 (and their kin), by and large, just gots mo' musical soul to me.

    13337579533_65c3688dea_h.jpgWesties closeup by Mark Hardy, on Flickr

    EDIT: of course, the crowd I run with are smitten with things like 27s and 56s :p
    (The 27 and the 56 are a bit lower mu, single triode precursors of the 6SN7; you'll see a couple of 'each front and center acting as voltage amps in the photo of Alan's PP 2A3 amp below)

    9d5pzx7tl83n.jpg

  • NightfallNightfall Posts: 9,110
    edited November 2019
    Man, my preamp sucks now too. Will my stereo ever be good enough?!?! :D
    afterburnt wrote: »
    They didn't speak a word of English, they were from South Carolina.

    Village Idiot of Club Polk
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 25,742
    edited November 2019
    Nightfall wrote: »
    Man, my preamp sucks now too. Will my stereo every be good enough?!?! :D

    why, what's wrong with it?

    If it makes you feel any better...

    Line level preamps (with gain) are hard IMO -- I haven't (ever) heard very many that I really liked. I've been using a 'passive front end' for years now. I really, truly could use some more oompf driving the Simple 2A3 amp, but I've yet to find an even close-to-affordable preamp that didn't make everything sound just a little more distant. :/

    FWIW, I thought the Tubes4HiFi(?)/Vacuum Tube Audio SP14 6SN7 preamp wasn't bad at all when I played with one. Price is fairly reasonable, too (last time I looked). This one was tarted up a bit :p

    32650125070_05fbac9e4c_k.jpgDSC_7135 (2) by Mark Hardy, on Flickr
  • NightfallNightfall Posts: 9,110
    mhardy6647 wrote: »
    why, what's wrong with it?

    It's got 12AX7 and 12AT7's in it. ;)
    afterburnt wrote: »
    They didn't speak a word of English, they were from South Carolina.

    Village Idiot of Club Polk
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 25,742
    well... 12AT7 isn't so bad, at least ;)


    11037513993_c8dbc1d1ea_k.jpgparamours 112413 by Mark Hardy, on Flickr
  • FaustinFaustin Posts: 968
    I have an interesting story about my pre and the 12a family of tubes. I do not want to highjack this thread, so I will start another one. Somewhere, someplace. Maybe. Anyway, I still want to hear some thoughts and impressions in regards to the Don Sachs pre.
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 1,468
    I picked this up a few days ago, and the sound is promising...probably needs some fresh tubes. The unit is 3+yrs old, and the tubes are still stock, so probably showing some age. I don't know how many hours the previous owner put on them. I did notice (after proper warmup) a little random static every few minutes. The noise only lasts a few seconds, and isn't especially loud. Again, it is only every few minutes (like it's cycling), and I can only hear it at idle (i.e., no input, volume at zero); it's probably not even audible with music playing. I emailed Don Sachs about it, and he highly suspects it is a tube, or tubes. I'll try to narrow it down.

    Except for that random noise, this seems to be a very quiet tube pre-amp. My initial listening has been through a PSA SG S300 Class-D power amp, which is very revealing. Considering this, and that it is still this quiet, it's kind of impressive IMO.

    As I mentioned before, my tube experience is quite limited. My listening impressions are that it sounds...tubey :D It is SO different than what I'm used to with SS, and especially class-D, I'm still processing it all. The WAF is high, as she was immediately impressed with the harmonics. We both agreed that a rug is needed in front of the speakers since the floor is hardwood, and the room is pretty lively. To me, the tubes add a faux room acoustic, which can be a bit overwhelming in a 'hot' room.

    Generally, I found the tube 'kiss' sounded good with digital formats, but *might* be a little much with vinyl. Microphonics could be coming into play here with the cartridge, so I'm trying to be realistic in expectations.

    I'll need to chase-down that random static and see if replacement tubes are necessary before I do more serious listening and provide more impressions.

    BTW, Don Sachs is consistently suggesting the use of CV181 tubes instead of 6SN7...just sayin'.

    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • marvda1marvda1 Posts: 4,051
    try rca vt-231
    Amplifiers: MasterSound Compact 845, Ayre v6xe, Consonance Cyber 800,Kinki Studio EX-M1
    Preamp: deHavilland Ultraverve 3
    Transport/Dac: L.K.S MH-DA004, Cayin Venus cd-100i, Musical Paradise mp-d2 mkI,
    Musical Paradise mp-d2 mkIII
    Speakers: Rosso Fiorentino Volterra II
    Speaker Cables: Organic Audio Organic Reference 2, Analysis Plus Black Mesh Oval 9,
    Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme
    Interconnects: Argento Organic Reference 2, Argento Organic 2, Gabriel Gold Reckoning
    Power Cables by: Cullen Cables, 6sons Audio, Swiss Cables
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 1,468
    msg wrote: »
    jdjohn wrote: »
    My big limitation for testing is a good DAC. I will really be limited to vinyl/analog except for a Logitech SBT, or a CD player.

    Beautiful looking piece there, Jody. Curious to hear your impressions, as well.

    Re: the DAC, I say nothing to worry about in your plan there, since you'll be testing this new piece with other components you already know.
    I have to say, Scott, this preamp really does justice to the lowly SBT DAC analog output. FLAC files on the microSD card, in particular, are fantastic. I can only imagine how a better DAC will sound.

    I'm currently still chasing down a complement of tubes to suit me. I'm finding that "matched tubes" is a relative term for sellers.

    I am generally digging the sound of this preamp into the PSA class-D, but tubes are high maintenance to be sure.

    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 1,468
    As nice as it is, I think I will be trying to move this pre-amp on in the near future. I just don't think I'm a tube guy.

    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
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