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Be prepared for a 65 lb. monster reference preamp! This is the best tube preamp I've ever owned... I moved into a smaller listening room, and so I'm more serious about selling things that I could not let go of before!
Bested the well known CAT preamp, the MBL 6010D preamp, Joule Rlectra, Cello Audio Palette and everything else I've tried.
Do a google search and try to find something negative by anyone who has reviewed it!
Synopsis and Commentary:
As we all know, or should know, the proof of the pudding is in the taste; and the proof of a preamplifier is the way it sounds. In this system, the Opal didn't really establish a sound of its own. If it did, we couldn't hear it or pinpiont its sonic signature - nor can we describe this characteristic in simple audio language. This preamplifier simply provided better sound than any other units we have auditioned - bar none. There were better highs, better midrange information and better bass. Perhaps better isn't the right word to use and what ought to be used instead is the word MORE. The Opal offers more extension, more air, more dynamics, more resolution and more staging - in other words, the Opal manages to finish what the source components begin.
We have always said that a good preamplifier is the nerve centre of an audio system. A preamplifier can make or break a system's all round sound. If you have a superb amplifier, a pair of great loudspeakers, excellent cables and a poor sounding preamplifier, it isn't possible to extract the best audio signal from the system. Then again, there are a lot of super preamplifiers on the market which will introduce their very own sonic signature. A preamplifier's personality may be beneficial to the all-round sound by enhancing or altering the personality of ohter components within the system. In reality, it is the synergistic complement that yields the desired results and the only problem is to find the "right" mix of components. If on the other hand, a preamp, such as the Opal, has little or no distinct sonic signature, the aforementioned issue is eliminated or diminished. This could well mean that the preamplifier will reveal shortcomings in the system such as weaknesses of interconnects, source components, loudspeakers, or of course, power amplifiers. However, when all components are of excellent quality, the Opal will work its magic to create great sound. The Opal, although a tube design, works well with solid-state components, thereby letting the end user decide the type of sound he/she prefers. We believe that the all-round quality is neutral, although this cannot be established in terms of broad consent. While most designers/manufacturers in the high-end electronics business have a sound understanding of technology, even good sound, not many have an understanding of music. Roger Hebert is such a designer. He also has a comprehension of pristine workmanship, electronic parts and an open mind, which allowed him to listen to criticism. After countless evaluations and and many hours of listening sessions involving knowledgeable folks, and only when the Opal had passed all tests, was it released to the market. The consequence is a preamplifier which surpassed our expectations and a unit which may have set a standard in the industry.
This ad was originally posted on US Audio Mart.