Wont be seeing many of these for sale, certainly not at this price.
Bottom line - a very good sounding tube preamp, with good phono stage (MC and MM), and overbuilt with very good parts.
Has been tested and compared to big names at double the price and does very well.
Built in Calgary by a veteran audio tech. Totally his own design from the screws up.
Custom case solid aluminum, billet aluminum knobs. Empty case weights I think 15 lbs? Empty circuit board weighs more than some complete preamps Ive owned. Whole enchilada is in the 30-35 lb zone.
Separate power supply - heavy duty. And I think custom case too? Last 2 photos.
Fully balanced plus RCA out - and x 2, to run 2 amps. Balanced input.
Good sounding phono stage - better than most preamps/amps - keeps up with a lot of stand alones. MC and MM. Comes with XLR to RCA pigtails.
Running 4 x 6922 tubes - all for the outputs - some kind of dual tube per channel design - Sovteks with less than 500 hours. Have a predicted life expectancy of 2000-5000 hours in this preamp..
Phono stage is all solid state.
Check out the new photos of "under the hood" - unlike some audio gear, there is actually something inside. A whole lot of many somethings in this case. Don't ask me what the bits are or what they do, but they are all there for good reason.
About $1000 wholesale worth of OpAmps alone inside - v good quality chosen for performance and reliablilty.
I have little idea what else is going on inside - but suffice it to say that after repairing vintage electronics for 30 years, the builder has learned a lot about what works and what lasts - and has built this unit to be a super performer, but also to be super reliable. "Super Blue" the nickname.
As I understand it, repairs and upgrades will be offered at modest or discounted rates for long time.
Some possible upgrades or options coming include remote control, enhanced phono stage with dip switch load select, etc.
There are plans afoot to start up a website and to offer these preamps on a limited basis, but not there yet.
If these do become more available, will still be hand built by the designer in very limited quantities. Probably less than 10 per year.
Expected retail on these will be $4500-5000 or more, depending on some options.
Meanwhile - I am offering mine for sale. Possibly not for long - depends if other stuff sells first.
If I do sell it, I plan to get another one soon.
Sound? - As many of you have done, Ive gone through a lot of different preamps - both solid state and tube. Sound is personal, but for me Super Blue is at least equal to the best Ive owned and heard, which was a Sonic Frontiers Line 2 with extensive upgrades worth $3000 ish. Only this one is only a year or 2 old, should easily prove more reliable than vintage gear and most modern, has some advantages in design, and with local support. Sounds better than other lesser tube pres Ive tried and better than any solid state Ive had.
Plus - it is very likely that I have not yet fully utilized the potential of this preamp. Im still in the novice camp of audio enthusiasts. I can say that when I would go visit my tech the builder, and he was using this exact preamp - well his sound was really good. Better than what I was able to achieve at my place - a fact which led to purchase of Super Blue. However, even with SB Im not there yet - my techs sound is still better using a very similar Super Blue Mk 3 or 4?- which leads me to predict that there is more here than I have yet been able to realize with my systems.
Very reliable and not fussy to use. Lots of protection against bad power and dumb operators. I think power is regulated 3 times at different stages. Dumb operator example - yesterday my grandson uplugged my laptop which was streaming audio to my delicate tube amps by way of Super Blue at the time, with volume up quite high. He wanted to plug in his phone to play his music, and he did, before I knew what he was up to - not one peep from my system - no pop, whiz, or bang. Try that with your set at home boys. I dare you.
This one is one unit away from the latest version - V 3 or V4 or ?. Was the builders personal preamp until I bought it a few months ago, and since then he's built one more - his current personal unit.
More info and possible connection to the builder for anyone with serious interest.
In Three Hills, AB.
Willing to ship and I know how to pack stuff. No refunds, no returns if shipped.
An audition would be preferred.
Email, or call/text 403-443-3229 not after 8 pm Mountain please
Re: Custom Canadian built Tube Preamp - Frogge Audio - "Super Blue" - balanced & rca, - REDUCED
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