Copland CTA305 Preamplifiers

Copland CTA305 Preamplifiers 


  • Vacuum tubes: 12AX7 / ECC83
  • Output voltage: Rated 2V. max 40V
  • Power consumption: 40W
  • Dimensions: 430 (W) 86 (H) 390 (D) mm


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[Jan 17, 2006]
Audioholic Anonymous


Great sound overall, detail but missing the last vestiges of musicality. Easy to use, great phonostage that is supplied with it. Great styling and excellent value.


Not the class leader that the previous model used to be. Questionable construction, poor jacks.

I’m a huge Copland fan: my first real entry into high-end audio was the purchase of a Copland CTA 401 integrated tube amp. Sadly, I sold that integrated amp thinking that I could find something that was better. Eventually I did, I purchased a Copland CTA 301MKII preamp and a Simaudio W-5 amp based, to some degree, on the writings of a local magazine –UHF- that used the above combination as their reference system. I sold the CTA 301 when a friend came over, loved it, and offered me more money than I paid for it. I also thought that I could find something better as a couple of years came and went with the same preamp in my system. I tried a Simaudio P-5 and a few other preamps- the overrated Morrison bargain preamp and a custom made preamp that a local technician built. None satisfied me so I purchased yet another CTA 301 MKII and was happy again. Still time marches on and Copland released the upgraded CTA 305. Thinking that I could find something that sounded better than my 301, I traded up and purchased it. So is it better?? Yes and No. Overall, I found that the CTA 305 is better than the 301 in terms of transparency across the whole audible spectrum, presents a more detailed, deeper and wider soundstage, and still retails that ever so hard to define musicality that the CTA 301 had in spades. It also comes with a very good phonostage and a remote (volume, power, and functions). In general it betters that CTA across the spectrum. It also completely trounces the Simaudio P-5 that I recently had in my system –making it sound veiled and artificially rounded and without texture by comparison. So yes it is better in all ways that I can think about compared to the CTA 301 (I had them both in my system for over a week for comparison). So why the ‘Yes AND No’ rating? When the CTA 301 first came out, it seemed far and away the best preamp in the affordable (sic) range of preamps at the time. Nothing seemed to even come close for the money. Time marches on however, and while the CTA 305 is better than the CTA 301 by quite a large margin, it is not THAT much better sonically (to my ears) than other preamps in its class today. As much as I like the Copland 305, I compared it to a used Blue Circle BC3 Despina preamp and found that I preferred the Blue Circle overall, even though the Copland present more detail. I found the Blue Circle to be more dimensional and musical: more fun! A friend who owns a Blue Circle BC3000 preamp brought it over to compare with the Copland and the BC3000 bettered it easily on almost all dimensions. I recognize that a BC3000 is over twice the price of a CTA 305 but the point is that back in its time, the CTA 301 would have been more competitive with the best preamps of the day compared to how the CTA 305 is now. Still, I like the CTA 305 and think that it is an amazing value but now I can’t help thinking, can I find something better???? Lately, while the built quality of past Copland products has not been absolutely top-grade, my CTA 305 has since broken down twice due to poor connections made during assembly.

Similar Products Used:

Copland CTA 301 MKII, Blue Circle BC3 Despina, Blue Circle BC3000, Simaudio Moon P-5, Simaudio Moon W-5

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