Unique to vacuum tube preamplifiers, the Transcendence Five features an exquisite headphone amplifier built in at no extra cost. The Transcendence Five features precision-stepped volume and balance controls and a silver contact fiberglass selector switch. It has a mono-stereo switch, a tape monitor switch, a tape 1 – tape 2 switch, and a lighted power switch on the front panel. It has 20 gold-plated jacks for input and output to handle special, CD, FM, Spare (for VCR or TV), two sets of tape in, two sets of tape out, and two sets of audio outputs. It has three convenience AC outlets.
I purchased my T5 in a kit form less than two months ago. It was very easy to build. The instructions are precise and require no guess work. If you can solder, you will find building this preamp a pleasure. The real pleasure however, is listening to this bad boy. I can't comment on a break in period. I plugged this unit in and let it play for a full day before listening. It's been nothing but sweet music since then! I enjoy a wide range of musical styles. Some of my recordings are audiophile grade, some are old, others just poorly recorded. I wanted a system that would make my good recordings sound as beautiful as they were meant to sound, but not a system so "transparent" that my marginal recordings sounded like crap. I have the T5 paired with an Odyssey Stratos and this set up fits the bill perfectly. I'm really not qualified to comment on the sonic nuances of this preamp as I haven't auditioned any other high end units. My purchase of the T5 was based upon Van Alstine's great reputation and Scot Markwell's review on www.avguide.com . My only complaint is the powerful voltage transient when switching the unit on. My amp was designed to stay powered up. No can do with the T5. Musically, I have no complaints. Both line and phono stages are fantastic. My tunes are warm without coloration and detailed with a deep sound stage. All is well in my living room.