ChiFi Tube Preamp into a CR-2040 - Difference?

Discussion in 'Tube Audio' started by chadwick404, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. chadwick404

    chadwick404 New Member

    Hi, Long time lurker, first time poster (I think) - you guys are all great - I learn so much here. Thanks!

    So, been into home audio and theater, on a budget, for many years now. Had some good stuff, for consumer grade, such as Onkyo 919 THX (can't recall the exact model now - freaking awesome receiver tho), several vintage items, various old and new speakers, have several Sony ES pieces including the current TOTL 5000 unit, Like my home theater...

    For the basement, I currently have a Yamaha CR-2040 receiver, running a pair of Realistic Nova 8Bs (I like the odd stuff), and have thoroughly enjoyed its presence, tone, balance and ability to manage the sound stage. It can definitely kick bootie with bass or whatever, but is best at basically passing through the sound that producers intended to be heard - e.g "natural sound". It really does an awesome job of passing unadulterated sound - and, of course, can be dialed in with bass/treble/presence as one wishes. Of all the vintage, it really is a cut above most...I am also quite aware that speakers often make or break any chain link upstream - the Novas probably are not well regarded, per se, but I would challenge depending on the music...

    So - I want to venture into tubes on a very small budget - my thoughts are to look at some ChiFi tube preamps hooked into the CR-2040's Adapter circuit, designed for easy bypass switching explicitly for discrete sound processing...I choose a NobSound Little Bear P7 unit - definitely not top of the line, but I am hopeful to hear some things, learn a bit, and move onwards...

    Frankly, I can't hear a difference. I have heard tubes stuff - i have in storage my late father-in-law's Magnavox speaker separates, with the tube amp installed which I hope to one day redeploy into my basement - I always loved its sound (large speakers in cabinets, don't know its age). I've heard the "warm" sound of various old tube amps from various sources - can't say any of them were "audiophile" but I know for sure when I heard them and relished the lovely tonal quality...

    I truly, as yet, can't hear a difference with my set up. Am I spoiled? Is the CR-2040 really that good, maybe? Is my hearing bad? I've truly loved the sound from the CR - I know it is really good (and the receiver has been serviced, tuned etc.). But that good so that I don't hear any real difference between a tube preamp SET with a SRPP topology vs. running straight receiver/amp? Have I not burned in the tubes long enough (about 4 hours now)?

    Something else?
    (thanks guys)
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019


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  2. chadwick404

    chadwick404 New Member

    Ummmmmm - well, I forgot one of the most basic lessons in life. Check the simplest thing first when examining a problem....power supply transformer was faulty - the preamp was definitely not doing anything...geez - and now I can definitely hear a difference. Lovely sound. The preamp does very well and the Yamaha amps sound sweet - love the marriage....ok, lesson relearned...(I posted a reply because I could not find a way of deleting my original post unless I edited it to nothing)...

    Anyway - I'm liking what I hear - sounds really good...listening to Live From Here (formerly Prairie Home Companion) - really, really nice,.,,,
  3. Tinkerbelle

    Tinkerbelle Everything in Moderation Staff Member Super Mod Moderator Subscriber

    Hudson Valley, NY
    Glad you found the issue and are enjoying your music. Welcome to AK!

    The information might be useful to someone else trying a new marriage of components, so you might want to leave the thread as-is. Subscribers can delete their own threads; alternatively a moderator can delete it for you - you can private message a mod (start a conversation). Alternatively, you can use the "Report" button to report your thread and request that it be deleted; moderators & admins will see the report.
  4. chadwick404

    chadwick404 New Member

    Thanks. There is no shortage of opinions, for sure. My wife and I are generally "middle of the road" purchasers, finding (for us) the extra margin of cost is usually (though certainly not always) not worth it for the objectives. I see that with audio gear as well. To get into that upper echelon is often a matter of opinion as much as anything tangible.

    For now, this little, cheap preamp is good to go as I learn more. I'd urge any newbies to consider this route, marrying a preamp with some decent SS. I'd also welcome any suggestions for next consideration. I already upgraded the two smaller 6N3 tubes with a couple of NOS GE versions. I may upgrade the 6N5P tube - but I am getting confused a bit on what options might exist and what exactly i would be looking to "improve". Love some ideas to think about...

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