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Chat => Local is Lekker !! => Topic started by: Francois on January 08, 2016, 10:12:59 AM

Title: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Francois on January 08, 2016, 10:12:59 AM
I had the pleasure to have Willem (valvesound) demo his latest creation at my place. man I love his designs...simple as possible.

I first heard the "version 1" about 18 months ago and was already impressed. At the DIT show it stood out as an already complete and market "ready" product..... and he improved it

Version 2.....and a new design in the wings too.

So how does it sound ? Quite remarkable actually! It was up against the Audio Research LS17SE, very unfair but very enlightening experience.

No it wasnt better, but remember the LS17SE is based on Reference 5...and 40+ years of pre-amp development.  :thinking:
Was it night and day ? NO  :stop:

To me it had a sound firmly between LS5/BAT VK30/CJ PV10 and LS17SE

Open, natural sound, but oh so quiet. It has a beautiful valve character. A sweetness, and good solid bass
I think its strength lies in the midrange.   :clap:

It doesnt have the delicate airiness of the LS17, something I pick up on very revealing speakers. Airiness like in a slight "ether" surrounding you when it plays. Something that fills the air and wraps around you. I dont hear that often. Even my Hovland lacks that.

Does it sound like a Valve audio ? Surprisingly no, different. I will put it towards Conrad Johnson sound. VA tends to sound like the BAT camp. Both amps are not neutral, thank goodness

Neither are ever clinical, harsh or too revealing. NEVER sound like a SS preamp!!  :thumbs:

I REALLY hope we see both versions on DIY show!

Is this a R100k product ? No, not yet. Is it a bargain ? YES, very much so. I think a LOT of systems will benefit from this preamp!

Willem, time to put it out there bud!
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: YT on January 17, 2016, 08:51:17 PM
Sounds great
What price tag goes with it ??
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: itscraig on January 18, 2016, 07:29:50 AM
nice write-up Francois,
nice one Willem another winner.
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: gavinbirss on January 18, 2016, 09:19:53 AM
Would it be possible to post a photo of the unit. Not internal just front and rear.

 :thumbs:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on January 20, 2016, 09:24:49 AM
Thanks Francois for the write-up and your vote of confidence.


Yes I am very happy with the latest design (version 2). The aim was to build a valve pre-amp with the least possible components especially in the signal line as that will always be closer to the 'truth'. Like they say the best pre-amp is a wire that connects the source to the power amp.
Making a minimalist design work well puts a lot more emphases on the power supply and I believe the 'virtual' battery circuit that I implemented did the trick.


The prototype version 2 that Francois listened to has been sold.


Version 3 is in the making with even less components in the signal line with no capacitors at all. It will also have an added balanced output. The power supply will be further improved and if all works out as planned, it should be completed by March.


I cannot give an indicative price for version 2 or 3 at this time as almost all of the components were imported before the Rand fell through the floor. I will have to do a new pricing  on the bill of material for that.


I will post pictures of version 3 soon  :thumbs:

Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: scrarfussi on January 20, 2016, 08:27:04 PM
I am the proud owner  of the prototype ver 2
beautiful  preamp absolutely love it  :clap:

thank you  valvesound  for a brilliant preamp
i will definitely be in line for ver3

 
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Crashappy on January 20, 2016, 08:28:24 PM
Pikchaaasssss   :popcorn:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: scrarfussi on January 20, 2016, 08:35:56 PM
will take better pictures  later

(http://i1280.photobucket.com/albums/a496/wezhira82/DSC_0321_zps5iewlw5c.jpg)

(http://i1280.photobucket.com/albums/a496/wezhira82/DSC_0322_zpsl0aem6ze.jpg)
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Crashappy on January 20, 2016, 08:38:38 PM
Nice. Clean front like it
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: scrarfussi on January 20, 2016, 08:39:47 PM
PS Francois the last time you listened to it was before the virtual  battery mod he did for me in  December
 a nice leap from before
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on January 21, 2016, 04:07:21 PM
I forgot to mention that version 3 will also have a headphone output  :winkwink:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: gavinbirss on January 21, 2016, 04:50:22 PM
I forgot to mention that version 3 will also have a headphone output  :winkwink:

Great addition I reckon and much welcomed.
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: itscraig on January 21, 2016, 06:00:51 PM
I forgot to mention that version 3 will also have a headphone output  :winkwink:
i want to hear it please :Whoohoo:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on January 22, 2016, 08:59:05 AM
i want to hear it please :Whoohoo:


Craig, of coarse, will give you a shout once it's ready to play music  :2thumbs:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: itscraig on January 22, 2016, 06:05:00 PM

Craig, of coarse, will give you a shout once it's ready to play music  :2thumbs:
:groovy: :groovy: :groovy: :2thumbs:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: scrarfussi on January 23, 2016, 10:36:52 PM
screw the headphone preout version 3 is coming to meeee :rubhands:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: watz on January 24, 2016, 06:36:09 AM
screw the headphone preout version 3 is coming to meeee :rubhands:

1st dibs on your ver 2 .
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: itscraig on January 24, 2016, 09:02:41 AM
screw the headphone preout version 3 is coming to meeee :rubhands:
not to worry i will just do the quality check before it leaves the factory :groovy: :groovy: :groovy:
Valvesound better start that production line :whip: :whip: :whip:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on January 26, 2016, 09:54:37 AM
I found some pictures of version 2 from the front. None of the back panel unfortunately.
(http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o714/wapienaar/PRE-AMPS_zps1qgyreez.jpg) (http://s1339.photobucket.com/user/wapienaar/media/PRE-AMPS_zps1qgyreez.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Schalk on January 26, 2016, 03:50:29 PM
Hey Willem,

Way to go! Ek is bly jy klim uit die kas uit, en ordentlik daarby. Sien uit om bietjie in te luister met 'n volgende geleentheid. :groovy:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on January 26, 2016, 04:09:59 PM
Hi Schalk,


Baie dankie vir jou 'post'. Ek sal graag wil he dat jy luister. :thumbs: :groovy:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: watz on January 27, 2016, 12:05:44 PM
pricing guys ,
I need to see how many shoes i have to buy for  :angrywife:. so that i can sneak this one in .
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on January 27, 2016, 04:19:46 PM
watz, it's going to be many shoes, or maybe with the rand dollar as it is now not so many if they are also imported  :winkwink:


I did a pricing check on the BOM and this is what I am willing to build the pre-amps for. I am quoting in Dollars as that will take away the fluctuating rand issue.


Only the best quality components are sourced and used.
Version 2:
Tubes - Amperex Holland
Signal Capacitor - Audyn Tri reference or Jensen paper in oil depending on your preference
All resistors are specifically designed for audio use
Electrolytics - Nichicon and Elna
All hookup wire - Jupiter 4N copper in cotton sleeve

Version 3:
Tubes - Siemens Germany
No signal capacitors
Transformers - Lundahl Sweden
Resistors - Vishay foil
Electrolytics - Nichicon and Black Gate (yes I have stock of these)
All hookup wire - Jupiter Silver wire in silk sleeve





The models are called Revelation 2 and 3 with Revelation 2 (v2) being 2/3 of the price of Revelation 3 (v3).


Revelation 2: $1000
4 stereo channel single ended inputs and 1 stereo channel single ended output.


Revelation 3: $1600
4 stereo channel single ended inputs, 1 stereo channel single ended + 1 stereo channel XLR balanced outputs.
Headphone output.
Remote controlled input selection, mute, standby and volume.
Full dual mono design. Two separate high voltage extremely low noise power supplies, one for each channel.


The components used in these designs are not merely thrown in to add a snake-oil factor. Each and every component was selected in its position with many hours of a painstakingly voicing process.


Regards
Willem
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: scrarfussi on January 31, 2016, 01:45:05 AM
watz, it's going to be many shoes, or maybe with the rand dollar as it is now not so many if they are also imported  :winkwink:


I did a pricing check on the BOM and this is what I am willing to build the pre-amps for. I am quoting in Dollars as that will take away the fluctuating rand issue.

Revelation 3: $1600
4 stereo channel single ended inputs, 1 stereo channel single ended + 1 stereo channel XLR balanced outputs.
Headphone output.
Remote controlled input selection, mute, standby and volume.
Full dual mono design. Two separate high voltage extremely low noise power supplies, one for each channel.


The components used in these designs are not merely thrown in to add a snake-oil factor. Each and every component was selected in its position with many hours of a painstakingly voicing process.


Regards
Willem
i waaaant  :drool: :drool: :drool:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: juventino on March 17, 2016, 09:14:37 PM
Any update on these Beauts?
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on March 18, 2016, 08:54:45 AM
Hi, I am about a week away of posting pics of the completed revelation3.
I have been listening, burning-in and voicing / tuning it for about 3 weeks now.
The case work took a long time to sort out. But I now have that in place so it will go much quicker from here in.


In parallel I got an order for one of my 'RIAA resolve' phono pre amps so that kept me busy too.


Here are a few bad pictures of the revelation3 in the making.


(http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o714/wapienaar/revelation3%20naked_zpsdvai8w2k.jpg) (http://s1339.photobucket.com/user/wapienaar/media/revelation3%20naked_zpsdvai8w2k.jpg.html)


(http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o714/wapienaar/revelation%20panels1_zpsbgzz7yvj.jpg) (http://s1339.photobucket.com/user/wapienaar/media/revelation%20panels1_zpsbgzz7yvj.jpg.html)


Cheers
Willem
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Jozua on March 18, 2016, 09:38:22 AM
Seems like I need to fly up for the DIY expo to listen to this.....
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on March 18, 2016, 09:56:59 AM
putting me under pressure are you...  :thumbs:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Jozua on March 18, 2016, 10:05:29 AM
putting me under pressure are you...  :thumbs:

Looking very pro and creating high expectations but then I am easily pleased with the very best...

Suggestion: Can a valve hours worked timer be placed inside to valves hours worked - to make it so much easier to know when the valves need to be replaced.
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on March 18, 2016, 11:13:42 AM
if you really feel the need, anything can be done at a cost. This extra cost will not contribute to making the amp sound better.
Personally I dont see the value in that.  :nfi:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: juventino on March 18, 2016, 01:13:06 PM
That looks awesome.
Cant wait to have a listen.
Title: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Hi-Phibian on March 18, 2016, 11:02:52 PM
if you really feel the need, anything can be done at a cost. This extra cost will not contribute to making the amp sound better.
Personally I dont see the value in that.  :nfi:


You are wrong you see.  When you start selling NOS cream of the crop hand selected tubes to your customers at a nice markup for a lot less effort than building an amp, the angst meter, will stimulate sales.

There is value in that, for you, maybe less so for the customer.
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on March 29, 2016, 09:49:35 AM
Hi all, so it was a nice long weekend and I managed to box the revelation 3. It is sounding extremely good and I am very happy with the result so far. I have to finalise the headphone output and then the lid can come on.


here are a few pics of the revelation 3 pre amp.


(http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o714/wapienaar/Revelation%203%20pics/IMG_1434_zps71c554qg.jpg) (http://s1339.photobucket.com/user/wapienaar/media/Revelation%203%20pics/IMG_1434_zps71c554qg.jpg.html)


(http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o714/wapienaar/Revelation%203%20pics/IMG_1431_zps8hurybpf.jpg) (http://s1339.photobucket.com/user/wapienaar/media/Revelation%203%20pics/IMG_1431_zps8hurybpf.jpg.html)


(http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o714/wapienaar/Revelation%203%20pics/IMG_1425_zpsfim8e8eo.jpg) (http://s1339.photobucket.com/user/wapienaar/media/Revelation%203%20pics/IMG_1425_zpsfim8e8eo.jpg.html)


(http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o714/wapienaar/Revelation%203%20pics/IMG_1418_zpssyzcgb9d.jpg) (http://s1339.photobucket.com/user/wapienaar/media/Revelation%203%20pics/IMG_1418_zpssyzcgb9d.jpg.html)


PS I have taken Jozua's request to heart and a hours worked timer will be implemeted in the microcontroller and be an option to view and reset on the display.


Regards
Willem



Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on March 29, 2016, 09:52:43 AM
I have to mention that this pre amp uses the Paladin pre amp controller and volume control.....its really very nice and I love it! Thanks Ian!
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: lanties on March 29, 2016, 11:51:39 AM
That looks absolutely stunning!
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on March 29, 2016, 12:25:35 PM
Thank you so much Lanties. It has been quite a job and to do the wiring that it looks halfway decent and still keep the good engineering practices in place is a pain staking task. So I really appreciate your comment.
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: scrarfussi on March 29, 2016, 03:17:54 PM
I have to mention that this pre amp uses the Paladin pre amp controller and volume control.....its really very nice and I love it! Thanks Ian!

What function doss the preamp controller serve?
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on March 29, 2016, 04:07:32 PM
What function doss the preamp controller serve?


It does the following:


Channel selection
Volume control
Mute
Power up sequencing
Remote control
Display

Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Kent Kassler on March 30, 2016, 12:00:07 AM
Fan friggin tastic!....Congratulations,she is a beauty!
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Francois on March 30, 2016, 09:24:00 AM
This BETTER be at the DIY!!

 :notworthy:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Hi-Phibian on March 30, 2016, 09:58:55 AM

This BETTER be at the DIY!!

 :notworthy:

It's no longer DIY.   Belongs at HiFi show.


Meant as a compliment. 
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on March 30, 2016, 10:33:12 AM
thank you all   :cleansound:


Francois...seeing that you started this thread you will be the first to have the revelation 3 at your house for demo.
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: pwatts on March 30, 2016, 11:36:26 PM
Looks great from a technical electrical & mechanical standpoint.
However, as some total unsolicited commentary from the side, my input from aesthetics would be:
- reduce the darkness and change the font of the Revelation 3; my immediate impression was that it was drawn by hand with a magic marker
- change the font of the power/phones/volume to something a bit more modern (it looks like the old rub-on "Letraset" used on DIY projects in the 80's)

[neither of those need cost anything but can make the difference between the looks of a product vs. qty-produced prototype]

Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Hi-Phibian on March 31, 2016, 07:24:08 AM
Looks great from a technical electrical & mechanical standpoint.
However, as some total unsolicited commentary from the side, my input from aesthetics would be:
- reduce the darkness and change the font of the Revelation 3; my immediate impression was that it was drawn by hand with a magic marker
- change the font of the power/phones/volume to something a bit more modern (it looks like the old rub-on "Letraset" used on DIY projects in the 80's)

[neither of those need cost anything but can make the difference between the looks of a product vs. qty-produced prototype]

Pierre

I agree. Sometimes we are just a bit polite around here and perhaps positive encouragement helps a lot but not always in the right direction?. The fonts could be done better.  Maybe get help from a few ladies on design choice on that.
One other thing I would change are the screws holding the connectors.  Use non magnetic stainless hex or star.  It may sound better but will definitely look better too.
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on March 31, 2016, 08:33:30 AM
Thank you guys, all the feedback is constructive and I will definitely look into your suggestions.


The font is a difficult process as everything is engraved with a CNC machine. The smaller the font the smaller the cutter. That font on the front panel is machine font which means that the cutter does a single pass only allowing for such small font.
Never the less, thank you for your suggestions. This is a prototype so next pass will be better. :thumbs:


Willem
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: gavinbirss on March 31, 2016, 09:04:51 AM
A nice addition on the rear panel may be L, R and input number that is readable when bending over the unit from the front, i.e upside down to be read easily when unit is in or on top of a rack and you are in front of the unit.
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Hi-Phibian on March 31, 2016, 09:16:41 AM

Thank you guys, all the feedback is constructive and I will definitely look into your suggestions.


The font is a difficult process as everything is engraved with a CNC machine. The smaller the font the smaller the cutter. That font on the front panel is machine font which means that the cutter does a single pass only allowing for such small font.
Never the less, thank you for your suggestions. This is a prototype so next pass will be better. :thumbs:


Willem

Hi Willem

Perhaps you could do one or two designs and run a pol?
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on March 31, 2016, 09:21:48 AM
^^^ good idea
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on March 31, 2016, 09:23:51 AM
A nice addition on the rear panel may be L, R and input number that is readable when bending over the unit from the front, i.e upside down to be read easily when unit is in or on top of a rack and you are in front of the unit.


Hi Gavin....you are actually the second person that suggested this  :thinking:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: gavinbirss on March 31, 2016, 10:00:30 AM

Hi Gavin....you are actually the second person that suggested this  :thinking:

Hope it was not posted and I missed reading?

 :dop:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Jozua on March 31, 2016, 10:59:55 AM
Any idea of how the remote will look like ?
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on March 31, 2016, 11:09:20 AM
Any idea of how the remote will look like ?


This is what it does look like. Its the apple remote. Very nicely built and also aluminium.
(http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o714/wapienaar/apple%20remote_zpsbohfo0fh.jpg) (http://s1339.photobucket.com/user/wapienaar/media/apple%20remote_zpsbohfo0fh.jpg.html)


(http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o714/wapienaar/apple%20remote2_zpswjk9fxop.jpg) (http://s1339.photobucket.com/user/wapienaar/media/apple%20remote2_zpswjk9fxop.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: entropyagent on April 01, 2016, 02:10:25 PM
Hi Valvesound

Congratulations on the progress with this exciting development. I can only imagine the work that must have gone into it.

I can't afford one, so my opinions are of little relevance, and I have little aesthetic sense, but......from the pictures I don't see the silver 'Revelation 3' looks aspirationally better than the ..er...blackface 'Version 2'. Fancier, more like the product of a professional organisation of substance, perhaps easier to slip into a lounge, etc, but not betterer enough to extract actual money from my miserly grasp (not that this is likely anyway). Will your model differentiation and pricing structure make allowances for this worldview? (Actually, I am not sure how this would fit in with the use of the very-interesting Paladin control system.)

I seem to recall that British company Chord, in the 90's, sold an amp with plain garb and an optional, premium-priced fine suit of clothes (brushed aluminium, with pillars, as I recall). A little research reveals that the brochure for the current CPM 2650 integrated says "Integra Legs shown are optional' - maybe they still do it.

I wish you well with your enterprise.
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on April 06, 2016, 10:08:40 AM
Thought I'd share some info and pics of the phono pre-amp that I am building for a customer.


The pre-amp you see in the pictures is the MM pre section and its power supply. The MC pre-pre is a SUT from Lundahl with amorphous core that will be matched to his TT cartridge.


The phono section has two gain (voltage amplification) sections producing a total 46dB of amplification.
The RIAA correction is achieved by altering the feedback signal. The RIAA curve was developed by sweeping a signal through an anti RIAA network and it produces a filter response within 0.1dB across the frequency range 16Hz to 50kHz.


Care has been taken with the PCB layout to enable two exactly symmetrical channels and a ground plane to reduce possible noise from any electro-magnetic interference source. The tracks are as short as possible and all on one layer of the board.


The power supply is a shunt voltage regulator giving 100dB of rejection over the audio frequency range with a notch at 100Hz rejecting any rectifier artifacts up to 150dB. The heater supply is linear voltage regulated with a slow start-up ramp to not stress the filaments on power-up.


The valves (tubes) are Genelex Golden Lion 12ax7's and a very special GE (Pearl Cryo) 12at7 doing duty on the output.


The critical components such as for RIAA filter I used non magnetic silver mica capacitors and Vishay bulk foil resitors. All these components were matched to within 1%.
Signal coupling capacitors are the very special Jensen copper foil paper in oil and on the output Mundorf Zn's.
All resistors in the signal path such as grid stoppers and cartrige load are Takman carbon and all others are the non magnetic ultra low noise metal films from RRP.


After all that blurb, here are some pictures of the boards.


Power supply
(http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o714/wapienaar/RIAA%20resolve%20phono/valvesound%20Phono%20PS_zps4rgbk4gc.jpg) (http://s1339.photobucket.com/user/wapienaar/media/RIAA%20resolve%20phono/valvesound%20Phono%20PS_zps4rgbk4gc.jpg.html)


pre amp and RIAA filter
(http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o714/wapienaar/RIAA%20resolve%20phono/valvesound%20Phono%20A_zpscsztyiqr.jpg) (http://s1339.photobucket.com/user/wapienaar/media/RIAA%20resolve%20phono/valvesound%20Phono%20A_zpscsztyiqr.jpg.html)




Cheers
Willem




 



Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Jozua on April 06, 2016, 12:58:37 PM
Impressive !! You becoming a high end custom product builder !!

Just wondering - which valve is used in the pre you building ?

Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on April 06, 2016, 01:29:22 PM
Just wondering - which valve is used in the pre you building ?


a broad-band pentode by Siemens Germany. Thats all I am saying  :winkwink:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Jozua on April 06, 2016, 01:53:33 PM

a broad-band pentode by Siemens Germany. Thats all I am saying  :winkwink:

You mean a valve smuggled through the Sahara in the a=r=s=e of a camel after having killed 10 solid state infidels and now only available through you or a valve that can be bought by the public ?
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on April 06, 2016, 02:18:30 PM
can be bought from various sources by anyone in the public.
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Jozua on April 06, 2016, 02:29:05 PM
I was hoping for a triode 06H30...
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on April 07, 2016, 08:53:41 AM
Back to the finalisation of the Revelation 3 pre-amp.

I borrowed a set of Audeze LCD2's from Craig (itsCraig) and[/size]
after two days of listening to the "best headphones" I could get my hands on, I am happy with the headphone output of the pre-amp.  :groovy:
These LCD2's have a nominal impedance of 70 ohm and the pre-amp handled them extremely well. Lots of detail and in complete control of the drivers down to the lowest of frequencies.


I'll post some pics of the unit finally with its lid on and the phones tomorrow.




Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: fdlsys on April 07, 2016, 11:39:39 AM
Back to the finalisation of the Revelation 3 pre-amp.

I borrowed a set of Audeze LCD2's from Craig (itsCraig) and
after two days of listening to the "best headphones" I could get my hands on, I am happy with the headphone output of the pre-amp.  :groovy:
These LCD2's have a nominal impedance of 70 ohm and the pre-amp handled them extremely well. Lots of detail and in complete control of the drivers down to the lowest of frequencies.

I'll post some pics of the unit finally with its lid on and the phones tomorrow.
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on April 08, 2016, 09:48:03 AM
Back to the finalisation of the Revelation 3 pre-amp.

I borrowed a set of Audeze LCD2's from Craig (itsCraig) and
after two days of listening to the "best headphones" I could get my hands on, I am happy with the headphone output of the pre-amp.  :groovy:
These LCD2's have a nominal impedance of 70 ohm and the pre-amp handled them extremely well. Lots of detail and in complete control of the drivers down to the lowest of frequencies.


I'll post some pics of the unit finally with its lid on and the phones tomorrow.







I don't know what went wrong with this post text size....but anyway I have now finalised the pre-amp after verifying it with a good set of headphones. The headphone output works / sounds really good with Craig's Audeze LCD2's.
So the lid is on and its done.
(http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o714/wapienaar/Revelation%203%20pics/rev3%20%20LCD2_zpsobaeguva.jpg) (http://s1339.photobucket.com/user/wapienaar/media/Revelation%203%20pics/rev3%20%20LCD2_zpsobaeguva.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: juventino on April 08, 2016, 01:07:38 PM
 :drool: :drool: :drool: :drool:

Should be  :banned: for being audio porn
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: GECO on April 08, 2016, 01:54:32 PM
STUNNING!!
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Kent Kassler on April 10, 2016, 09:54:38 AM
Wow!....what a moment.....congratulations!
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: xumbug on April 10, 2016, 01:22:34 PM
Nice one Valvie, must have a listen sometime. Congrats!!!!! :dop:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: scrarfussi on April 10, 2016, 10:35:39 PM
cant wait to sample this beauty
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: handsome on April 11, 2016, 10:41:13 AM
This is a magnificent looking build both inside and out. You are obviously also spending a lot of time of on the circuit design - rock on!
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on April 11, 2016, 10:56:40 AM
thanks all for the positive comments.


Yes handsome, a lot of effort has gone into the circuit design as a whole. It is a "simple" design. Simple meaning that there are very few components doing the actual amplification but applying the correct voltages for the operating points are crucial for best linearity and lowest distortion.
The power supplies are actually the most complicated in that they have the most components.
All in all it turned out very good and I am happy with the result.
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: scrarfussi on April 12, 2016, 09:16:59 PM
enjoying my revelation 2 while saving up for the revelation 3  :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on April 13, 2016, 08:48:51 AM
enjoying my revelation 2 while saving up for the revelation 3  :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance:


revelation 3 doesn't necessarily sound better than 2. It just has more features and sounds different  :thumbs:

Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: itscraig on April 14, 2016, 01:24:55 PM
awesome pre-amp headphone amp, deep base great sound stage and dynamics
well done Willem, good luck with the product
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: charles on April 18, 2016, 11:31:16 AM
Congratulations,

Excellent workmanship.
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on April 19, 2016, 11:27:58 AM
One other thing I would change are the screws holding the connectors.  Use non magnetic stainless hex or star.  It may sound better but will definitely look better too.


I was waiting for black counter sunk allen cap screws for the back panel. I received those and also got stainless steel non magnetic as you suggested. To be honest I was skeptical and decided that only if I can really hear a difference will I use them because the black does look so much better on the black background of the connectors.


Well last night I did the A/B testing......BEHOLD there is a noteable difference. It is especially noticeable with piano music. More musical, natural and true to life. So....the stainless steel screws it is then.


Here is a pic of both types used during the AB comparison. The stainless on the left two sets and the black steel on the two right input sets.
(http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o714/wapienaar/Revelation%203%20pics/rev3%20back%20panel%202_zpsey1hagr5.jpg) (http://s1339.photobucket.com/user/wapienaar/media/Revelation%203%20pics/rev3%20back%20panel%202_zpsey1hagr5.jpg.html)


and here is how the final product looks.
(http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o714/wapienaar/Revelation%203%20pics/rev3%20back%20panel%201_zpsohlwux6u.jpg) (http://s1339.photobucket.com/user/wapienaar/media/Revelation%203%20pics/rev3%20back%20panel%201_zpsohlwux6u.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: itscraig on April 19, 2016, 06:10:33 PM
must be your cables >:D
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on April 20, 2016, 09:11:50 AM
probably is  :dop:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Kent Kassler on May 10, 2016, 11:39:49 AM
 :giggle:..... :shh:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Atjan on May 10, 2016, 05:09:58 PM
Congratulation on a beautiful pre-amp Willem! Unfortunately I left early from the DIY and never got to hear it.
Where is Francois' review?

Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Francois on June 06, 2016, 07:31:29 AM
I had the preamp for a while and what a pleasure it is.....

Besides that it looks VERY good! Most guys missed it because it looked like commercial kit! No wonder people didnt sit and listen and ask questions about the preamp. They just assumed we picked the best amp/pre combination.  :clap:

Pitched against:
Hovland HP100, Plinius Tautoro and Audio Research Reference 5

Why not ? I simply is good enough to be compared to those.
Best first.
Dont for a moment think that coming 4th means much. The difference is not more than 5-10% top to bottom!!

Smoothness: HP100, Valvesound, Ref5, Plinius - Hovland just seems to have nailed it.
Detail:            Ref5, HP100, Valvesound, Plinius - Reference 5 brings out the tiniest detail, easily
Soundstage:  Ref5, HP100, Valvesound, Plinius - Ref5 also throws a massive stage. Difference quite noticable
Features:       Ref5, Plinius, ValveSound, HP100 - HP100 only one with phono, but rest has so much more
Looks:           Ref5, ValveSound, HP100, Plinius - Yepp it looks impressive
Bass:             Plinius,HP100, ValveSound, REF5 - The SS bass still the tightest
Mids:             HP100, ValveSound, Ref5, Plinius - Ref5 sometimes WAY better, sometimes not...chameleon..
Treble:           HP100, ValveSound, Plinius, Ref5 - Yes Ref5 has detail, but treble on Tannoy bite a tad too much

Price: Valvesound is less than 50% of ANY of the above!!  :notworthy:

Well done Willem! this preamp is noticably better than the previous one. Its more compatible with different amplifiers. It didnt sound amazing on the Manleys, just very good, but on the Krell it was fantastic. I sometimes liked it more than my Hovland.  :notworthy:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Andrew on June 07, 2016, 04:12:52 PM
You should send us one for review  :thumbs:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on June 07, 2016, 04:34:30 PM
sure...just say when and where. PM me for detail and arrangements  :thumbs:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: scrarfussi on June 16, 2016, 09:16:35 AM


Well done Willem! this preamp is noticably better than the previous one. Its more compatible with different amplifiers. It didnt sound amazing on the Manleys, just very good, but on the Krell it was fantastic. I sometimes liked it more than my Hovland.  :notworthy:

 :sweat: :sweat:

now you making me itch to upgrade
being the proud owner of the ref2
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Fabian on June 17, 2016, 05:03:18 PM
This pre-amp looks beautiful and the way you describe its sound and overall performance makes me want a demo ...
Hoe kry ek jou in die hande Willem soodat ek kan luister ou maat ???
I am in Jhb East and if push comes to shove I will drive to hear it out.
Provided I buy  :angrywife: something off course ... eish  :giggle:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on June 28, 2016, 03:37:02 PM
Hi Fabian, sorry for the late reply. I will PM you with my contact detail and we can take it from there. You are welcome to take the pre-amp and demo it in your system and environment.


Rds
Willem
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on July 05, 2016, 01:42:09 PM
I had sleepless nights about being third placed in a few of the comparisons Francois made in his review  :sd:
So some thinking and more thinking and some parts ordering and tweaking and I managed to improve two aspects and hopefully some others too.


The upgraded pre-amp is back with Francois and hopefully he can give another / updated review after he has had some time with it.


The most noticeable improvements are in the micro detail and the bass departments. On Saturday at Francois' place there were a few new ears around and the feedback was very positive.


So lets see...or rather hear what comes out  :sweat:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Francois on July 07, 2016, 04:44:45 PM
Version 3.1, what can I say about this little beast ?

Version 3 was already a good preamp, but didnt gel with the Manleys. Was amazing with the Krell.

Now things got VERY complicated. willem managed to build a world class pre-amp here. No it doesnt compete with the $4000 amps out there. This a $5k-$10k contender.

I put it up against the Hovland HP100 and Audio Research Reference 5, Plinius Tautoro and ARC Reference 2.

Its dead quiet. It has a BIG soundstage. Its detailed, very detailed. Its smooth and listenable, for hours.

It now will go into a 1:1 with the Ref5 to determine who is best. The other contenders have to bow out.  :notworthy:

This HAS to go into production Willem. And Ill buy nr 0001  :rubhands:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Francois on July 13, 2016, 04:06:29 PM
A few remarks from Mike (Valvaglo) this compared to his Conrad Johnson ET3 and VT100

Francois, I polished the Valvesound pre and have it playing now. As usual, the VT 100 doesn't forgive. What goes in is what comes out, only louder. This pre makes even these Audio Physic's sing, pleasant tops and mids and more bass than the Conrad Johnson et3 puts out. The trebles are crisp and clear without " biting " you in the ear. This sound is more like the D900s sound. Piano is so real sounding and the sax is so cool cymbals really " ring "like brass. I seem to remember that the LS 5 used to be like this. The detail is not chirpy, it's just realistic.  You can even hear the mixer being faded out. 

This is like having a set of baby Infinity IRS speakers in my house. I can't believe that a pre can make such a difference. I have things to do but this music is so good that I am glued to the couch in front of the system.
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: VALVAGLO on July 14, 2016, 01:24:43 AM
I received this preamp from Francois this afternoon at lunch time ,I arrived home ,connected the Valvesound Revelation 3 preamp to my system and had an absolute ball listening to MUSIC from then until now. It's about 1h00 now and if there ever was a chance to have listeners fatigue ,it would be now. but the music just keeps on coming. Sweet natural clear and precise.

The bass is punchy and deep and if you give the amp some Welly, even the couch murmurs under your bum.
Diana Krall performing "A case of you" is so real ,every time she pushes the piano sustain pedal, you clearly hear the tramp and at the end she tramps on the damping pedal ,and the immediate stopping of the piano chord is so abrupt that I thought the amp had broken, and then from this deathly silence suddenly the loud burst of applause that first startled me and then made me feel that I was seated in the audience as they applauded a one of a kind emotional song.

I have no idea what this preamp costs, but all I can say is that I will have to make a financial plan to obtain one.

I may have to sell my Audio Research LS5 to get one but in my house I have never had a preamp so revealing and so natural sounding.

Cymbals sound like brass, triangles ring like fine steel,voices of various artists are easily recognisable, male voices sound "chesty" and female voices so alluring

I must go to sleep now but my head is scheming ways to buy one of these preamps

Willem, you are nothing short of genius to have done all this to such great effect, I can still remember when you brought the prototype to listen on the Quad11's and Graaf gm 20 on the D900's and even then it was very good but now you have nailed it. Well done, 
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on July 14, 2016, 09:42:56 AM
Hi Mike, thank you very much for your lovely review and description of your experience. I am really happy with the way it all came together.
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Kent Kassler on July 16, 2016, 02:34:05 AM
Hi Willem.....just had another look and thought.....what if you leave the power/headphone and volume print off entirely?Since it would be impossible to mistake those functions for anything else I believe the fascia would look all the better for it.
I would even avoid the "Revelation" logo on front and put a nice template at the back rather?
It would just look cleaner and more sophisticated I reckon.
Never detracting from a beautiful piece of work and I commend you sir.
Regards Andre
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on July 18, 2016, 09:09:49 AM
Hi Andre,


Thanks for your suggestions. It would make like much easier if I don't put any small lettering engraving on the front panel. So I will definitely consider your thoughts.


Cheers, Willem
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: VALVAGLO on July 18, 2016, 12:25:51 PM
@ Willem (Valvesound)  I know many people like a good looking piece of kit and I am one of them, but even if you built me a "plankie" version of this preamp, I would buy it , the sound and detail not to forget how good it generates bass is so realistic ,that this is one time that the look makes no difference.

I would hang it up on the wall like a piece of abstract art. I will supply a piece of teak to use as the "plankie"
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Atjan on July 18, 2016, 02:33:33 PM
I like the look of the amp, fwiw.  :2thumbs:

A few people seem not to smaak the font (looks a bit retro), so it may be worth considering options.

Certainly this is a piece of kit that seem to get unreserved good reviews, I'd love to hear it some time.
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: xumbug on July 18, 2016, 07:21:46 PM
I'd love to hear it some time.

Me to :rubhands:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Kent Kassler on July 18, 2016, 09:20:37 PM
Hi Andre,


Thanks for your suggestions. It would make like much easier if I don't put any small lettering engraving on the front panel. So I will definitely consider your thoughts.


Cheers, Willem
:thumbs:...the "Valvesound" part must stay as is!....just my opinion of course....try one,I think you will be quite impressed with the outcome and you save some money as well.
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on August 15, 2016, 03:27:20 PM
:thumbs: ...the "Valvesound" part must stay as is!....just my opinion of course....try one,I think you will be quite impressed with the outcome and you save some money as well.


I think that is what I will do. easier.... cheaper..... less hassle and will suit more people.
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Kent Kassler on October 01, 2016, 11:08:07 PM
How are things going sire?
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on October 03, 2016, 08:29:14 AM
Hi KK....things are all well thanks.
The revelation 3 has matured with a lot of people demo'ing the pre-amp in their systems and the feedback has been extremely positive  :groovy:
The design has moved from a proto-type to a production ready unit as there is one single PCB now housing all the components in stead of various small boards being interconnected.
A new chassis to fit all the components easily and neatly. It still has the same look only slightly larger.


Cheers
Willem

Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Kent Kassler on October 03, 2016, 07:39:02 PM
Fantastic news Willem...all the best! :thumbs:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: JimGore on November 02, 2016, 03:41:27 PM
I have been meaning to write here for a while but somehow haven't had the time...  Rather late than never!

Some background:  I am a bit of a skeptic when it comes to listening to other people's things - my system is at a reasonably high level of performance and resolution and most components people bring around just don't do too much for me.  This has tainted me a bit over the years...

A while ago Willem brought over his preamp for me to listen to in my system.  All I can say is that I was pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong by Willem's creation.  The pre-amp didn't just deliver the goods in terms of performance - it actually gave me an emotional response (the very best kind) to what I heard and that is something very rare indeed! 

It is a truly remarkable piece of kit he has come up with - I can not praise the man and his work highly enough!  Well done my friend  :thumbs:

Kind regards,
Ian.
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: valvesound on November 02, 2016, 04:17:59 PM
Thank you very much for the encouraging words Ian. It is great to get feedback from another set of ears and also the opportunity to test in other systems and environments to validate what one thinks you know  :dance:
Cheers mate  :dop:
Title: Re: Valvesound Preamps
Post by: Nirvana on November 02, 2016, 06:28:06 PM
Baie bemoedigende feedback van experienced ears,Willem!   :cleansound:

Voorspoed met jou projekte!  :2thumbs: