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Apt Holman Preamplifier
29 Reviews
rating  4.45 of 5
MSRP 
Description: Classic, versatile, well engineered preamp


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Reviews 1 - 5 (29 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

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

Date Reviewed: February 21, 2012

Bottom Line:   
The APT Holman in my current set-up is an enjoyable and valuable component that has lived up to its status as one of the best-designed preamplifiers and truly worthy of being recognized as one of the best bang-for-buck components out there. In terms of sonics and quality, fellow audio-lovers will be hard pressed to find a piece that presents music so cleanly and engagingly and is so well constructed. By no means is the design pedestrian: the lines are industrial and utilitarian, not your standard clicks and whistles nonsense that is nearly ubiquitous these days. Much attention has been paid throughout: from the potentiometers which are dead quiet to the chasis, which is shileded more tightly than Cheops' tomb. The APT is digital ready, capable to reproduce both analogue and digital material in all its glory, giving listeners a rare opportunity to listen to music the way it was meant to be listened to. Shoppers on the prowl should be able to find the APT fairly easily, at a price that is not only fair, but downright ludicrous considering how good it is. Yes, you can find better; but doing so, you will spend more money. Do yourself and your ears a favor: check out the APt Holman preamplifier. It will change your tune.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995



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

Date Reviewed: November 10, 2008

Bottom Line:   
After 25 years, the only good piece left alive in my old stereo system was my NAD 3020 integrated amp, a legendary giant-killer in the budget audiophile category for many years. So when I received a settlement for my motorcycle accident recently, I went and bought both a HT setup, and a whole new (& used) 2-channel-only system. The Apt-Holman is the stereo pre-amp I'm keeping. I am delighted with it.

I noticed one on eBay and remembered the Apt-Holman name from reading about the Audio Critic reference stack back in 1979 or so. The eBay photo had the balance knob all the way to the right, and sure enough, one channel was out when it arrived. I had read about AudioProz on this and other sites, so sent it to them for repair and reconditioning.

I've been listening to my new system about two months now, and am VERY pleased. I've been hearing new detail and complexities from very familiar albums. How much of this is due to the pre-amp versus the rest of the system is hard to estimate, but the Apt-Holman sure isn't holding the rest back.

It is also very easy to listen to for hours; very non-fatiguing, especially with vinyl, and most CDs, in my (mostly older) collection at least. It is also very revealing of some source material's shortcomings. A Linda Ronstadt CD (Hasten Down the Wind) sounded awful - harsh, nasty, and not at all like my vinyl copy, which sounded better than ever.

I am convinced that the enthusiam for tube amplifiers, seemingly growing right along with the re-emergence of vinyl, is a compensating reaction to poor-sounding CDs, often newer ones, compressed and loud, produced by tin-eared, clock-punching, rap-happy sound "engineers", in the worst sense of the word.

While I am curious about tube amplifier sound, and may try one someday to satisfy that curiosity, unless I win the lottery, I am likely to be enjoying my Apt-Holman for the rest of my life. Highly recommended :)

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $100.00

Purchased At:   eBay



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

Date Reviewed: May 24, 2008

Bottom Line:   
I had this preamp bought new (7000+ Serial #) many years ago and had been using it regularly since. It still sounded good but it started to act up like the usual Apt Holman commoin problem after all the years like the channels sometime losses it sound and problem with muting. Since it has a sentimental value to me. I decided to upgrade and not even concerned about the cost of upgrade. before I go further with upgrades, I have to say that it is an excellent unit but as electronics ages, some parts start to dry out and needed to be upgraded with new and sonically better filters and caps. There are a total of 72 capacitors, filters, etc that was removed and replaced with Blackgates and Solens parts. Nothing more is done to the unit other than regular maintenance. Total cost of the upgrade is about $400 and it is worth it. This unit is now one of my best preamp ( I own 5 more) and most listened to. The tech that did the upgrade is very skilled. He is now retired but used to work in a very famous computer company and was trained by NASA on electronics and soldering techniques. He told me that in order to break it in, I have to turn the unit on for 2 hours of listening, turn it off for a little while and on again for another 2 hours until I reach 50 hours then feel the difference or finish the break-in period. This is one of the best vintage preamp out there that is worth upgrading. I don't mind having another one and have it upgraded. I had it paired with an upgraded Hafler DH-500 driving the vintage Polk Audio SDA-CRS. WOW! I feel like I can compete with all those hyped-out tube units. Of course you have to remember that tubes and solid state electronics are only good as being designed. A simple tube amp won't be as good as a well-designed sloid state amp and vice-versa. But this Apt Holman is dead quiet espedcially going through the modified DH-500.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



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

Date Reviewed: September 8, 2005

Bottom Line:   
This one of several newer and vintage ss and tube preamps at my disposal for use with vintage tube gear from Leak, Quad, Craftsmen, AcroSound and Electrohome in my den system. The Apt Holman proves to be the most pleasing and versatile with all source materiels and tubes (KT66, KT61, 6L6GC, EL34, 807). My digital sources includes SACD and DVD-A - the iPod sneaks in from time to time. The analog sources are vinyl, FM tuner and R2R. Speaker are Tannoy 12 Montior Golds and Reds. I am otherwise unable to find a preamp under $1k which offers so much for so little and yet does not seems to compromise quality of sound for the flexibility, switch gear, etc. I particularly like the phono stage for 78 and mono LP as the tone and filter setting allow compensation otherwise only found in my Graham Slee JazzClub. Seems to handle tube amps of all input sensitivities without issues.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $200.00

Purchased At:   CanuckAudioMart



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

Date Reviewed: April 24, 2005

Bottom Line:   
This is a review of my Holman stereo preamplifier 2. It's very slimmed down from the original APT Holman preamp with only 4 inputs (tuner, tape, aux, and phono) and a tape monitor switch. The phono section is switchable MC/MM. It also has that unique L+R, R+L control and the usual complement of tone/balance controls. Although the unit sounded great from the time I bought it, I decided to follow the advice of another reviewer and send it to Vince at AudioProz to have him work his magic on it. Vince worked for APT and knows these units inside-out. He replaced various capacitors and resistors bringing the unit up to full spec. His service involves three "tiers" depending on the amount of work performed. In any case, I had all this done because this will probably be the last 2-channel preamp I'll ever own. Sure, others like Coda, PS Audio (5.5) and Acurus impress..but they either don't have tone controls or are missing a headphone output.
Inside the unit there is only one circuit board but it looks well laid out. The circuit traces are wide with only a few jumpers in evidence. The APT-2 is mostly Op-Amp driven. Switches and potentiometers are unsealed (volume semi-sealed) but they are by Shallco and would probably do the space shuttle proud. As others have mentioned, the muting circuit can give trouble but you can live with it...
Mine came with the usual circuit diagram on the bottom missing but a considerate audiophile scanned and emailed his to me. His was the only other APT-2 I've heard of and it was on Ebay for awhile too. Does anyone have a user's manual or other literature for this preamp?

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $205.00

Purchased At:   Ebay




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