Hovland HP-100 Preamplifiers

5/5 (9 Reviews) MSRP : $4495.00


Product Description

Single Ended Tube Preamplifier


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Reviews 1 - 5 (9 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

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

Date Reviewed: March 25, 2004

Bottom Line:   
http://www.hovlandcompany.com/intro.html
I hope this long review will give others like me a guide of what they are looking for:
Searching for his her perfect preamp for there system, while don't have to be like me spending so much $$ & time & least to say be disappointed with some company / magazine claimed to be better or best at any price... (All depend on what & which they compare to & use reference from.)
As for what I am looking for & expect from is a full body ,close to live music (especially instrument & vocal-that-true-to-live- dimension ).Well indeed the most difficult component to compare (you cannot just listen at the dealer & must bought or brought home to try in your own system )& choose & yet almost can do without is the 'Preamp".
My over all system consists of:
1/ QUAD 988 ESL (extremely true-to-life & revealing speaker that regardless how much more $$ you spend on other speakers).
2/ VTL power amp (which I have not even thing of other after listening to others regardless how much more $$ you spend, in term of power, music, money all balance well.)
3/ Accuphase CD 75v (which I over spend but a beautiful build piece of equipment for life
(Though, I use it only as a transport because I find it sound more analytical sound even in direct drive to power amp, they are just over build with features that I never even use .I just like to keep .)
4/ ScottNixon TubeDac++; WOW regardless the cost it the best true-to-life musical sound DAC that I ever heard. (I stop chasing all the up/down sampling after having this unit .Least to say that I 'm glad to know & talk to this talent & honest non-businessman designer who so humbly price his product ! He is deserved to be praised & supported.)
5/ Hovland preAmp. What can I say...a piece of art good enough to be displayed in the museum & don't get me wrong, as of course I never choose a piece of equipment because of their look. There is a good reason for me to keep it...
I gone through from many passive preamp such as TVC ,Placette& so many other that just have a custom made attenuator .I felt I still missing the body & true effortless dynamic in my system .All of them show good unaltered sound but just little thin in presentation that result of a week original signal which cannot be bought out .I believe it's like looking at a piece of expensive time piece or diamond ; yes they look ok at a normal reading distance ,but look even better when viewing through an non-distorted optical magnifying scope (leitz or ziess)seeing all the details or watching bird with 20/20 vision & then with a self stabilizing /tripod mounted binocular (focus & clear ) .The key to that true musical signal has to be intact & yet be amplified lease distorted through out a signal chain . (good example is the Quad ESL speaker keep it so simple (KISS)in design no cross over & homogenous material through out ,too bad Mr. Walker never know after 30-40 years we still praise for his work .) TubeDac...; design, simple & basic.
Hovland also felt into this category, simple in design & as it look & good use of custom work & tweak if I call it .I tried to use other tubes but you can almost save $ by keeping the stock tubes, for it made little different if any better than the stock .It has given me all those I had been missing from other preamp. I used (e.g. Bat 50, CJ 17 (defective & repair from day1 & company refuse to do Update change to newer17-2s, even after many many request, Cary 98....).All these unit miss a define bass of any & bass sounds just like a boom. On the contrary that hoVland able to separate almost every bass piano note without loosing detail ; a piano note hi/lo just keep going on naturally as a real thing . As for Cj & Cary they just come & go real quick & missing some detail & transparency in between that made them sound so so smooth in the mid range such as vocal . Cj even lacks micro dynamic that eventually makes music sound dull except the mid vocal. That may be a problem with some tubes unit except hoVland which I do not know how & why it just sounds not like a tube preamp yet has the energy & clarity, Dynamic that it seems to amplify the original signal & dissects them put them in different plane in space yet all the signal still connected to produce a continuum of so call music as it fools our brain to interpret as if a live musical instrument or singer is singing in front of you! From vocal to complex music & from High to low, hoVland seems to handle with balance without emphasis in any frequency. I think in any system the most important thing is that the entire component must be coming out in balance at the end or else become unnatural.
Hovland has detail & airy than those other I mention. Its bass is firm & real .I can hear deeper center; front & back vocal & instrument even if both are aligned center. Cymbal goes from left to right & even small difference of instrument placement can be discerned not the left to right but a slight forth front

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $3500.00

Purchased At:   private seller



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

Date Reviewed: December 7, 2003

Bottom Line:   
I have owned several excellent to exceptional preamps in the last 3-decades, some of which are listed below. Each preamp provided insight into the musical performance that had its strengths and weaknesses. But just like having an extra gear in which to shift you past the crowd on the highway the Hovland HP-100 transports you in an almost surreal way to the musical connection. The epp and flow of the music is, as others have in other places, continuous. This seems like a simple feat and until you hear the Hovland on a excellent system you think you are there. Nothing before prepared me for the transforming nature of the Hovland. Musical communication flowed like water in a water fall or a stream. Each musical note flowing like any other droplet of water in the continuum. The ease of presentation is augmented by the skyward extended, cavernous 3D soundstage, explosive dynamics, phenomenally airy highs.

Craftsmenship gets redefined, at what must be considered a high value price, with the Hovland. The sort of instrument that captures your appreciation of dedicated care in construction and execution. Timeless.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2002

Price Paid:    $3400.00

Purchased At:   Audiogon



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by kevfitz a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: December 23, 2002

Bottom Line:   
This preamp just makes beautiful music. It is dynamic, sweet and fast. The MC phono section is a good value and makes this unit a relative bargain if you still play vinyl.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $6000.00

Purchased At:   Brooks Berdan



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

Date Reviewed: June 21, 2002

Bottom Line:   
It has all been said, at the price this is the best Preamp you will find, one I will own and love for a long time to come.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2001



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:3
Submitted by analogrules a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: March 3, 2002

Bottom Line:   
What can one say that has not been said about the Hovland. For all you 'fools' out there just sit back and enjoy. Toe tappin' sound unlike any other pre out there. ABle to truly dissapear and let the source shine through. Internal MM/MC Phono stage is excellent for the money

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2001




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