Van Alstine Transcendence Six SL Preamplifiers

2/5 (1 Reviews) MSRP : $949.00

Product Description

There are Special (Phono if so optioned), Tuner, CD, Spare, Tape 1, and Tape 2 inputs with gold RCA jacks. There are two sets of tape outputs, tape-to-tape monitoring switches, two sets of audio outputs, and a buffered headphone amplifier. The T6 has the same size case as the AVA DAC, 12" wide, 11" deep, 3.5" high, and will stack with it. The chassis features a black-anodized faceplate and knob set with silver lettering and a newly redesigned black powder-coated steel chassis.

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User Reviews

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Huffam a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: August 11, 2004

Bottom Line:   
purchased this preamp 13 months ago and I have listened to it extensively. I must confess, given the price to performance ratio, I am not entirely pleased with this unit. The first thing that draws your attention to the T6 is it's noise floor. The noise floor exists in three different areas: 1) minor audible noise on all line level inputs 2) major audible noise in the phono stage, enough to be heard between tracks at normal listening volumes 3) this unit makes noise when it is switched OFF, there is a distinct, although faint, midrange buzz from the speakers when the unit is not powered up. There is also cross talk between the CD and Tuner inputs, reminiscent of a 40 year old Dynaco PAS. The sonic character of this preamp is not without its virtues however. At low to mid volumes, I found the T6 to be very engaging and articulate, particularly with acoustic recordings, including Jazz, Blues and Classical. With music of a more complex nature (by "complex" I refer to multitracking, over dubs, board effects, etc., in short, modern music of a non acoustic variety) listened to at higher volumes, the T6 becomes harsh and congested. I had nearly resigned myself into thinking that indeed, I am "getting old", I no longer enjoyed my favorite Rock n Roll tracks at the same robust volume that I was accustomed to. Only after a component swap did I realize that it was the preamp causing my displeasure. The reliability of the T6 is also to be questioned. After about ten months of listening, I was confronted with a heavy, intermittent distortion from the right channel. I could not determine the source of this unpleasantness since it was intermittent. I placed a call to Frank Van Alstine to inquire about this problem, I was certain it had to be sent back for repair. He informed me that there have been problems with the tape/input switch, but the "repair" was simple enough, just "flip the switch about thirty times". I did this, and indeed it worked, but it was obvious that I was merely removing contact corrosion with the "repair". These are sealed switches, impossible to properly clean. It is only a matter of time before they degrade the preamps performance, if they haven't already. I mean no disrespect to Frank, for he certainly seems like a personable, knowledgeable man, but his philosophy in audio design seems to be "that's good enough". This is evidenced by not only the low quality switches, but also the inferior chassis feet that provide no isolation whatsoever, as well as the cheap, non-removable power cord. One of the reasons that I purchased a VA unit was the fact that it could be upgraded at a later date as improvements became available. This is another source of my displeasure. Approximately six months after I purchased the T6, a power supply upgrade was available. Much to my chagrin, I found that it was $400. Just recently, a switch upgrade became available at the price of $150. I do not think that a $550 upgrade is cost effective for a preamp that I paid $1000 for, especially considering that new units are selling with the upgrades for $198 more than I originally paid. So there you have it, I am sure that this review will incur the wrath of many die hard Van Alstine fans, but I wish I had read a review such as this before parting with $1000 of my hard earned money. If this preamp had cost less, the discrepancies I mentioned would be much more palatable. As it stands, it's definitely a "thumbs down".

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2003

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   direct

Reviews 1 - 1 (1 Reviews Total)

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