Audio by Van Alstine FET Valve CFR
To be clear, this is not a FET-Valve hybrid. Van Alstine’s latest preamp features an all-tube signal path, relegating MOSFETs to the role of power-supply voltage regulators. Apparently, there’s plenty of magic to be found in a plain-vanilla circuit topology when it is coupled to a sophisticated power supply as deployed by AVA. Both mm and mc phono options are available. The FET Valve represents modern tube sound at its best. Its twin virtues, really a happy blend of neutrality and accuracy, guarantee that it will not dominate the personality of your audio system. Without a doubt the best sounding AVA preamp DO has auditioned to date.
PrimaLuna DiaLogue Premium
The Dialogue Premium preamplifier is a dual-mono, tube-rectified linestage, using a pair of 5AR4 rectifiers, and three 12AU7s per channel. It combines innovative design with high-quality parts and construction. The midrange was rendered with almost reach-out-and-touch texture, rich and vibrant tone color, realistic bloom, and a faithful sense of dimensionality and space. In this regard, this PrimaLuna is the embodiment of the characteristics that make valve amplification so intoxicating. The DiaLogue Premium line offers creative and thoughtful design, exceptional build-quality, first-rate parts and assembly, tremendous attention to detail, an elegant look and feel—and its sonic performance is clearly well above its reasonable asking prices.
Rogue Audio RP-5
Combining classic vacuum-tube heritage with microprocessor control is Rogue’s recipe for one satisfying and affordable preamp. The RP-5 brings its magic to bear in color saturation and tonal liquidity, providing an authentic sense of dimension and spaciousness to each image. The treble is nicely extended, quick, detailed, and replete with harmonics. Bass performance is also authoritative and controlled, with a hint of added warmth and bloom. The RP-5 is a prime example of what the culture of the high end is all about—music reproduced accurately and beautifully. The RP-5 is a component that should tempt a lot of people into going Rogue.