FTAudio LW1 Preamplifiers

4.91/5 (11 Reviews)


Product Description

passive control unit


Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

Reviews 1 - 5 (11 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by james_lipski a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 14, 2005

Bottom Line:   
Paired this with a nad c272 amp, nad c541i cdp and pair of polk rti-10's. Was going to get the nad c162 but did not need the ability to listen to headphones or play vinal. I also did not want the tone controls or the balance pot... What I was after was a quality pre-amp but I didn't want to pay alot... I have heard for an active pre to really be transparent and and upper end unit the starting price would be 1500 dollars which was simply out of my reach... Research pointed me towards passives and paul lam and the little wonder... It has the x-coupler which helps deal with impedance matching issues.... The little wonder and nad amp together are wonderful... My nad cdp and tuner have more then enough output voltage to drive the amp. The sound is rich and very clear and compared to my denon dra-685, well let's say I have taken 2 steps up. Also dynamics and bass have not suffered in the least in fact the nad amp produces much bass, my denon did not!!! A great buy and paul lam is fantastic, answers any and all questions and has a generous trail period. If you have any doubts about passive give the little wonder a try, you may never go active again...

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2004

Price Paid:    $550.00

Purchased At:   plc (paul lam) consu



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Clif a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: May 22, 2002

Bottom Line:   
Just received the LW1 and all I can say in twenty plus years of trying to achieve sonic nirvana is WOW! Talking and communicating with Paul was a pleasure and could not be more delighted with the $500 I spent. I have it playing in my office using Innersound ISIS speaker and ATI 1502 amp (Odyssey Stratos amp shipped today according to Klaus) and this unit out of the box sounds every bit as good as my Anthem Pre 2 SE. Paul tells me to run it for 200 hours and it will sound even better. This is one time where I wish time would fly!!

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   from Paul



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by happy a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: May 19, 2001

Bottom Line:   
Used the LW-1 for about four months. The LW-1 is extremely transparent and neutral. I did not find any of the weaknesses usually associated with a passive pre amp. In my system, I use 1m interconnects with no loss of dynamic. The bass of the LW-1 is solid and deep. When compared to my Bryston BP20, the LW-1 is more transparent with a wider sound stage while matching the BP20 in bass reproduction. I paired the LW-1 with the Odyssey Stratos, the performance of the combo is exceptional. I am sure you can find better pre and power amps combo but you will have to spend a lot more. I have used the LW-1 with my Bryston 3b-st as well with very excellent result. In my opinion, the LW-1 even outperformed the Bryston BP20 when paired with the 3b-st. If the input sensitivity of your amp allows, I would strongly recommend the LW-1. I am sure you would not be disappointed.

Cheers,
happy

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Marc Bratton a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: February 28, 2001

Bottom Line:   
We all know the shiboleths about passive pre's...they can't drive IC's longer than a half meter, they lack dynamics, punch and bass, their sound quality changes dependent on the position of the volume pot, they're finicky. Welcome to a brave new world. The FT Audio LW-1 has broken the mold.
I don't know everything involved...there's a proprietary "module" of some kind inside that gets around the impedance matching problem with source components that have a pretty high output impedance. Along the same lines, it can drive a wider range of interconnect lengths, and amplifiers with varying sensitivity, than a lot of passives can. As Paul Lam, the distributor, is fond of pointing out, most source components now have more than enough voltage to drive the power amp, so why amplify it more, than have to turn it down, which is what line stages do.
The sound? There isn't any of it's own. I've NEVER heard a component that has less of a sound of its own. It just plain kicks the snot out of every active preamp I've ever had in my system, which includes a Bryston, an MFA Magus, and a Conrad Johnson PV10. And it beats them in their traditional areas of strength. One expects a good passive pre to be more transparent and delicate sounding than a comparably priced line stage. But this one beats 'em in bass, explosive dynamics, rhythmic drive-all things one does not usually associate with passives. Music just plain sounds more alive, less canned with this in my system.
The catch? There is no free lunch. You want to hear what this component can do, you'd better have good source components upstream of it, and you'd better feed it top quality interconnect, because this preamp is preternaturally sensitive to the wire hooked up to it. Anyone who says wire doesn't matter should just drop one of these into their systems. Paul Lam recommends Kimber wire, as that's what it's wired with internally. Silver Streak as a minimum, Kimber Select 1020 preferred. It matters...a lot, as there is no active circuitry to ameliorate the effects of the cables upstream of it.
To summarize, dropping this component into your system may make you radically rethink a lot of things...it certainly has me. I've just removed a HUGE bottleneck in my system called a linestage-the LW-1 has turned it into a living, fire breathing musical monster. After 12 years in this insane hobby, I'm finally getting the sound I've always craved, for relative peanuts. The system now is synergistic-it exceeds the sum of its parts by a wide margin.I truly hate to turn it off nights. I owe it to Paul Lam, the LW-1, and Kimber Select 1020...thanks, Paul!
System:Well Tempered Record Player, ClearAudio Aurum Beta>EAR 834P/Ah!Tjoeb CDP>FT Audio LW-1>Music Reference RM10 amp>Magnepan MMG's. Kimber Select 1020 between pre and power amp. All other cable Dh Labs Silver Sonics, to be gradually replaced one component at a time with Kimber Select 1010 as a minimum. Oh...these are still early days. Paul assures me it'll continue to get better, for several weeks. I can take it...
To summarize, if your preamp needs are simple-you're not going to do better than this unless you spend big bucks...and why? This costs so little for what it gives it feels like a gift. Spend the money you save on more music, or better interconnects, or feed the poor, or something.
This is one very sane way of getting off the audio merry go round. Other than trying to snag a few more pairs of Kimber Select, my upgradeitis is history, because I've finally got the sound I wanted.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   direct from PLC Consulting Co.



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Del a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 21, 2000

Bottom Line:   
I would like to go on record and say that the LW-1 passive preamp/control unit is great. It is very transparent (i.e., does not impart it's own sonic characteristic), and well-constructed (aluminum faceplate, cover and connectors are fantastic). With a well-recorded CD, decent CDP, amp, and good pair of speakers you will, without a doubt, hear the musical detail that the sound engineers intended you to hear.

I'm glad I own this unit. I believe this is one of the best audio equipment investments I have ever made. Now, all I really need to do to complete my system is to find a sub that will go seamlessly with my Krix Equinox speakers.

I can't leave this review without thanking Paul Lam for his high level of professionalism. He demonstrated extraordinary patience by answering every single one of my inquiries (~20 emails) pre and post purchase of the LW-1. In all of his responses not once did he criticize my equipment nor did he even try to 'push' the sale of his preamp on me. Thanks Paul.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $550.00




Reviews 1 - 5 (11 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating



Magneplanar:



Wood Technology: