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The Realistic 42-2109, The Licorice Component

Discussion in 'Equipment Reviews & Opinions' started by Andrew Heck, May 3, 2018.

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How do you feel about the 42-2109?

Poll closed May 10, 2018.
  1. It's the greatest preamp in the whole world

    2 vote(s)
    33.3%
  2. Meh...

    1 vote(s)
    16.7%
  3. Garbage

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Never heard of it

    3 vote(s)
    50.0%
  1. Andrew Heck

    Andrew Heck AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    216
    Location:
    chattanooga, tennessee
    So whenever this little phono stage comes up, at least one person acts as if it's the most wonderful lover they ever knew and another as if it killed the most wonderful lover they ever knew. I know how I feel about it, but I want other views with some amount of back-up. Just like the candy, people seem to either love it immensely or despise even hearing it's name mentioned. Chime on in...
    upload_2018-5-3_18-13-20.jpeg
     

     

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  2. Bill Ashton

    Bill Ashton AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    788
    Location:
    Central Massachusetts
    I worked for RS from 68/69 until 74...there was a little A.C. powered preamp we sold precious little of, but that wasn't it! The one you show must be much better...
     
    Andrew Heck likes this.
  3. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    3,107
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    The vote didn't have the answer I needed so I was forced to vote for it as the best in the world, which we all know is a load of bunkum.

    However if you replace the caps with Vishays, and pair it with an inexpensive Pickering XV15 cartridge and a cheap tube buffer you have a very hard combination to beat without spending more than 4x the cost.

    Still, it won't be replacing my Valab LCR-1 any time soon though that's significantly more expensive so not really a fair comparison.
     
    Andrew Heck likes this.
  4. Andrew Heck

    Andrew Heck AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    216
    Location:
    chattanooga, tennessee
    Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately my Little Bear buffer actually added too much gain and distorts pretty badly pretty quickly. I guess my Shure M-75 style cart is pretty close to the xv15, and you are right, the re-cap worked wonders. I think my system sounds pretty great for the two shifts of Sunday double time I put into it.
     
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  5. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    3,107
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Mmmm, pretty sure the Pickering sounds a fair bit better .... Though I've not heard a Shure I like as they sound soft and bland to my ears Possibly personal preference though I guess.

    The Realistic is fantastic though. Three of my mates are running them as well as my dad. I've one with Nichicon caps lying around somewhere too
     
    Andrew Heck likes this.
  6. Decibel_116

    Decibel_116 AK Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,903
    Location:
    Madison, Alabama, USA
    I have one with upgraded caps that I use with Shure cartridges. It sounds amazing. There needs to be more selections in the poll. I had to vote best. However, it should be qualified. I have several others better I use with other cartridges.
     
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  7. Sandstrom

    Sandstrom Seldom turns out the way it does in the song Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,863
    Location:
    Cincinnati
    No experience with this preamp but I love licorice
     
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  8. oldman54

    oldman54 Active Member

    Messages:
    121
    Location:
    long beach,ca
    I've had one of those for 30+ years. Still works with no mods. I haven' used it since I got an artdj but I plan to listen to it, critically, when I get moved. I can' say the art sounds better but I like the gain knob, I'm constantly rotating carts.
     
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  9. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    3,107
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    The Realistic really benefits from a recap
     
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  10. Andrew Heck

    Andrew Heck AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    216
    Location:
    chattanooga, tennessee
    I know next to nothing about amplifier theory and design, but what I have learned, in general, in life, is an abiding respect for simplicity. While re-capping this Radio Shack beauty, I couldn't help but notice it was anything but complex, especially compared to some schematics and pictures of circuitry I've seen. Upgrading components let's it shine, but there doesn't seem to be much in the way of the music. In cooking, my method has always been to use the best ingredients and not screw around with them. I wonder if the same applies to sound.
     
  11. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    3,107
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    My belief is the simpler the circuit , the greater the impact on sound of the parts used. The nice thing is that simple circuits typically use fewer parts so you can go all out and use far higher quality components to upgrade without it hurting your bank account too much.
     
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  12. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    3,107
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Check out the Xiang Sheng DAC-01A when you get a chance. Apart from the DAC it also has 2x RCA inputs so it can be used as a straight out tube buffer. Sounds magic with a RCA Command 5670 in there. Moving a dip switch turns it into a preamp so it can be used with a power amp. Quite wonderful in front of one of the Chinese Quad 405 copies

    I've Burson V5i OPAMPS coming to upgrade mine. Planning to use my Realistic 42-2101a with it ;)
     
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  13. Andrew Heck

    Andrew Heck AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    216
    Location:
    chattanooga, tennessee
    Thanks for the information. I'm searching now.
     
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  14. Andrew Heck

    Andrew Heck AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    216
    Location:
    chattanooga, tennessee
    If I had the opportunity to get a NOS XV-15 350 original stylus I should?
     
  15. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    3,107
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    That depends on you. I refuse to use the NOS styli as they're getting harder to find. By all counts better than Jico though I'd hate to get used to something incredible and have to take a step back down the track. Due to this I get new Jico shibata styli instead
     
  16. Andrew Heck

    Andrew Heck AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    216
    Location:
    chattanooga, tennessee
    Sooooo, got one. It came in the mail today. It's not even begun to burn in yet, but I already know that I am in your debt for the suggestion. As far as I can gather from pictures and descriptions ivI' read, this is an improved version with better op-amps and capacitors than in previous models. Now, I have a few questions. This version has one op-amp with a socket for easy switching. Is that the one between the analog inputs and the tube output? (I can include a picture here soon). Also, I've read that the output capacitors really benefit from an upgrade. Are those the green blocks labeled C38 and C39 with 2.2k64 printed on them? If so, what would you suggest? I can't believe how good it sounds with only a tube roll so far. My system and I thank you and look forward to hearing more about improvements i can make.
     
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  17. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    3,107
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    The socketed OPAMP is just the headphone OPAMP. The two that are soldered in there are the ones to change. I've a pair of Burson V5i-D that I intend to use in mine. Apart from tube rolling and changing the dip switch I haven't made any other changes to mine as yet. Just magic with the RCA tubes in there though
     
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  18. Andrew Heck

    Andrew Heck AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    216
    Location:
    chattanooga, tennessee
    Are those the single Bursons? I'm thinking that's in the near future.
     
  19. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    3,107
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    No, they're the Dual Bursons
     
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