Apt Holman Preamplifier Preamplifiers

Apt Holman Preamplifier Preamplifiers 

DESCRIPTION

Classic, versatile, well engineered preamp

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 30  
[Feb 13, 2017]
warren albee
Audio Enthusiast

I just picked up an APT Holman preamp along with an Amber 70 amp and a pair of Allison ones. Vintage stuff. The 40 year old Tape 2 Monitor switch ( the one with the green flag that pops up) was corroded inside and intermittent, so I opened it up. Good Lord it is tight in there.The switch was barely visible, sandwiched betwixt 2 circuit boards that did not look happy about being removed. .This thing was assembled by Elves at midnight in a moonlit forest. Wiggling the switch would give scratchy sound, then it would cut out. Since I was not prepared to throw hundreds of dollars at a rebuild and recap, I tried to gain access. Denied. The switch is sealed, so no way to get Deoxit in there. At all. I gave up and consoled myself at being soooo close to my first Holman APT..and took to my 10 year old single barrel Bourbon. Project sat, gutted for days. Then I had an insight. Hell with it, I am going to drill a hole dead front center on that stinking little plastic button and spray Deoxit in there, then push the button 100x. I did it. It now works. Not perfectly. I then put a small O-ring around the button in the OUT position to secure it, wiggled it a few times, got both channels, then put it all back together. Not a factory fix, but a fix. Good Grief.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[Feb 21, 2012]
Auricauricle
Audio Enthusiast

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.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Nov 10, 2008]
sqlsavior
AudioPhile

Strength:

Superb phono section.
Dead quiet.
Transparent and detailed.
Extremely flexible controls and connections.

Weakness:

Likely to need repair and/or reconditioning. Well worth it, IMHO.

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 :)

Similar Products Used:

NAD, Hafler, Rotel, JSH pre-amps

Rest of system:

Music Hall MMF-5 turntable
Denon DL160 high-output moving coil cartridge
Marantz CD5001 CD player
Apt-Holman preamplifier
Hafler DH220 power amplifier
Magneplanar MMG speakers

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Jun 30, 2008]
Bill Slappey
AudioPhile

Strength:

Substantial construction. All pots and controls are of high quality. I did not expect this quality from photos. If you are into vinyl, this preamp is hard to beat.

Weakness:

Age.

This preamplifier is GREAT. The phono section is exceptional. Impediences can be matched to the cartridge. Line inputs sound great too. Quality construction.

Customer Service

none

Similar Products Used:

Audio Reaserch, Conrad Johnson, Marantz, Dyanco, Pioneer, and Sansui

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 24, 2008]
odraude
AudioPhile

Strength:

Excellent highs and excellent lows. Dead quiet like you are on a deep scuba dive. I don't get tired listening to different music for extended hours. Even without the mods and upgrade, this preamp is worth listening. But I highly recommend upgrading because the parts are old and maybe almost bone dry and besides the newer parts are now more sonically superior that the old ones. Blackgates, Solens, Sparague, Hexfred, etc to name a few.

Weakness:

None so far after the upgrades.

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.

Similar Products Used:

Haflers, Aragons, Outlaws, Onkyos, Phase Linears, Acurus', Brystons, Nakamichi.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 08, 2005]
eLeakist
AudioPhile

Strength:

Flexibility and all round great sound

Weakness:

Pots and switches must be maintained. I desoldered all and reassembled after a 24hr soak in MG contact cleaner and then Superlube.

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.

Similar Products Used:

Classé Model 30, Cary SLP50b, McIntosh C26, Nak 410, 610, 630, Quad 303, 404, Leak Point One Stereo, Varislope III, Point One Plus, Crown IC150A, PSAudio, Cambridge Audio.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 24, 2005]
Monitorman
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Dead quiet. Noise floor buried somewhere in China. Tone controls really control the tone(s). As explained elsewhere, the volume control is superb and ramps up/down the signal in a most natural way. Gobs of gain. MC/MM equalization flawless (as much as it can be). Headphone amp the best I've ever heard. Unit feels like you could hit it with a 2-pounder and it would still work OK.

Weakness:

Spartan, minimalist, "post-modern" styling. Grey paint everywhere. Forget about cosmetics like a brushed aluminum (or exotic alloy) billet faceplate.

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?

Similar Products Used:

Quad, Adcom, B&K, YAMAHA, Morrison.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jul 10, 2003]
shawk
AudioPhile

Strength:

Design. Phono section. Oveall sound. Current low used price. Flexibility. Great manual.

Weakness:

Some components at the end of their service life. The caps and resistors get noisy and go out of tolerance. The muting relay gets intermittent.

Very good unit. A classic. Any Apt preamp or amp will probably need to be rebuilt, as the caps and resistors will be noisy and out of tolerance. Most of the poor reviews are likely to be the result of out of tolerance caps and resistors. Upgrading the quality of these components during the rebuild will result in a significant improvement. Once overhauled, the preamp and amp are the sonic equivalent of much more expensive equipment. Many sellers assume that the poor sound is the result of poor design. Therefore, you can find these units cheaply. If you budget $250 per piece to overhaul and update them, you can have the equivalent of a $4,500 preamp and amp for about $850.

Similar Products Used:

Krell, Levinson, Quad, Marantz

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 06, 2002]
wmjaeger
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Great mechanicals--switches and all that.

Weakness:

Sonically weak.

I'll go with some of the other remarks that this unit sounds dry and restrained. How can that be? Square waves look good through it yet the sound is affected? My previous Hafler and Dynaco units both sounded better, thought they didn't look as nice.

Similar Products Used:

See above.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
[Feb 23, 2002]
Bob
AudioPhile

Strength:

warm, intimate sound phono section control flexibilty excellent construction spartan look

Weakness:

no longer made spartan look

This is one of the most musical preamps available for under $3000. It has been the control center of my music system for over twenty years, and it still retains the focused soundstage and warm intimate sound that it had from the first day I listened to it. I like the action of the volume control, the laser-trimmed resistors maintain the proper left-right balance throughout the entire volume range, right down to the lowest volume. The first 180 degrees of the volume control are a slow ramp-up of the volume, very suitable for headphone listening via the much better than norm phones output. A previous reviewer misread this feature of the volume control, citing the need to turn the control up too high in order to get the appropriate volume. Even at one o''clock, there is plenty of room to go in the range of the volume control. Unlike Spinal Tap, there is no need to go up to "11" on this volume control. The switching flexibility is absolutely amazing, with all tape and external processor inputs and outputs fully buffered. The tone controls have a subtlety that is most welcome in this day of +/- 12dB adjustments. Two phono inputs! One for my 78rpm turntable, and one for my regular vinyl. Life is good. And this preamp is excellent.

Similar Products Used:

Dynaco Mark Levinson Krell

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 30  

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