Odyssey Audio Tempest Preamplifiers

Tempest

MM/MC phono input

User Reviews (26)

Showing 1-10 of 26  
Bryan   AudioPhile [Aug 25, 2017]

I decided to try a quality solid state pre amp and amp with my Klipschorns (heavily modified and go well beyond 20KHz. Had been using a Cary SLI-80 and and mostly a 2A3 Amp and passive volume control. I thought low watt DHT would be audio bliss. After trying a bunch of phono preamps (some very costly /tubed) and ended sticking with a SoundSmith MMP3 to pair with a Soundsmith cartridge. I just couldn't find a great match for the moving iron cartridge. I bought a used Tempest SLB and initially was unimpressed. Had too much buzz/hum. Called Klaus (who is a wonderful person) and sent it to him along with the Stratos amp. He looked them over and discussed that I had an old model and there had been changes that addressed the issues I was having. We decided on upgrading the amp with SYmphonic line caps and updated the pre. He set gain to optimize for my K-horns. I am totally blown away by the sound! Took a few days on to settle down and open up but now the have replaced all my tube gear and I can't see going back to tubes. I'm really getting the most out of my speakers. Had tried McIntosh MC2205 amp before with them and I must say this Odyssey setup kills that as well and makes the Mac sound limp and slow by comparison. Gear runs cool. Life like dynamics, exceptional basscontrol, fantastic microdetail and life like soundstage. The most amazing thing is the phono pre with my cartridge. It is really exceptional. Would recommend Klaus and Odyssey to anyone interested in fine American products, exceptional audio and exceptional customer service! Money well spent. The groneberg cables really synergies nicely as well.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Dave   AudioPhile [Apr 17, 2013]

I have read the many various reviews where there seems to be considerable discussions about the sonic characteristics of Odyssey electronics. My first experience was with the Stratos amp. The Stratos drove my Martin Logan CLSIIZs like it had 500watts. The sound is very analytical but easy to listen to for long sessions. Being satisfied with the amp, I later found a Used Tempest preamp. The sound, I thought, was very warm, almost tube like, but lacked detail. But, and I think this is where the differing opinions come from, it should be turned on and left on. I have never heard equipment that continually improves over time like the Odysseys. You can not do a quick A-B comparison with Odyssey gear. Once burned in and left on, the sound quality is exceptional. Neither my preamp or amp exhibit any hum or other issues other than an internal chirp when the Tempest is turned on. This is not through the audio chain. Klaus said this is just the relay engaging. Again, leave it on all of the time and you will find out why so many listeners and reviewers rate the Odyssey line so highly. And when was the last time you could call up a company and talk with the main man? Klaus is great to deal with.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
reon   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 09, 2009]

Got this second hand Tempest, the phono section hums but the line section is nice and quiet. Sound is not bad and actually I enjoying how it performs. Since I have some electronics skill I opened the preamp to take a look inside. This is the original version of the Tempest: not shielded transformer and regular pcb. Components are of good quality and wiring is nice, what disapointed me are the quality of the pcb and the way component were soldered on it. The pcb is not of the industrial (standard) type, it looks like the one used for hobby constructions, soldering quality is low, components legs were not trimmed properly and are too long, and solder will not go all the way up thru the board to the components, I think the bad quality of the soldering is because the cheap pcb used. These will make the preamp not reliable with probability of failure or hum. I'm sure the new version with the new pcb will be better and the way to go.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
Bryan Hunt   AudioPhile [Feb 04, 2009]

I bought this thru Audiogon for $550. A pretty good deal. I've had no problems with this unit. The phono stage is excellent. Like other reviewers have stated, it is a little warm-sounding (that's good--I can understand why it gets compared to tube pres), and very pleasant to listen to. I formerly had a McCormack ALD 1, which was more detailed, with a more precise soundstage, but tiring to listen to. The ALD's sound was too "hard", and was light in the bass dept. The Tempest has more warmth, better bass, and is simply nicer to listen to for extended periods. I would have given it 5 stars, but there ARE better preamps out there, but probably not at this price point. Other pre's i've used were the CJ PV11, Dynaco PAT4, Carvin C4000, and a few others. Out of the bunch, I prefer the Odyssey.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
gromonster   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 03, 2006]
Strength:

Solid construction, superb sound, simple but 'masculine' looks.

Weakness:

Had the 'regular' Tempest buzzing issue originally, but Klaus took care of everything and I had him upgrade to an Extreme version, eliminating any doubt that the preamp was a keeper.

I'm no audiophile, but I do enjoy clarity of music and can recognize quality sound when it is heard. After deciding it was time to upgrade the older preamp I had, I shopped around a bit and stumbled across Odyssey in my 'travels'. I read everything I could and decided the Tempest was a wise choice for my needs. Around the beginning of 2006 I called Klaus and we chatted for a bit deciding that the regular Tempest was probably the best option for the time being, so I ordered one and waited. The wait was the worst part, but the gear finally arrived. Astounded by the heft of the box, it was unpacked and installed within a couple hours of it being in the house. I was completely impressed with the solid construction. When everything was ready, I turned on the music and was very pleased with what I heard. Going through several CD's, I did begin to notice a subtle buzzing that has been noted by others, in the silence between tracks and when there was no signal being sent to the speakers. It was quiet but present. I then popped on an LP and noticed a very obvious hum. This I assumed was due to a ground, but I was unable to eliminate it successfully. Over the next few days I called Klaus and we chatted for a while, deciding it best for me to send him the pre. I sent it to him and he looked at it and we discussed the numerous variables that could cause such noise with equipment. After a couple of chats, I decided to have him go ahead and 'Extreme' the unit. It was returned to me within a couple of weeks, reconnected to my other equipment, and it was immediately obvious that this was a completely 'different' preamp under the hood. Not a peep out of the speakers aside from the music that was supposed to be there. When I put on an LP, there wasn't so much as a mild hiss, just the pop and crackles from some of my less than stellar albums. The Tempest Extreme had made me happy. It has now been about 8 or 9 months that I've had the unit and it makes my Magnepan 3.5's sing like they should. I have an older Onkyo Grand Integra M508 amp, and in the several years that I've had it I have never been disappointed with the sound. Well, I'm still not and it partners well with the Tempest. I'm sure that a couple of Stratos Extremes would make an even more impressive compliment, but that's an option that 'isn't' at the moment. Needless to say, I wouldn't hesitate to by Odyssey equipment again.

Customer Service

Stellar! No fuss, no muss, Klaus and company are truly dedicated to making quality equipment and keeping their customers happy.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Paul Buckingham   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 10, 2006]
Strength:

Decent sound if you can find a used one with the bugs already worked out of it for $500.

Weakness:

Poor construction quality
Transformer buzz in many units
Bass not particularly well defined
Somewhat compressed soundstage

This review is for the standard Tempest. There seem to be some rather polarized opinions on this equipment. My view is somewhere in the middle.

I found the Tempest sound quality to be good, but not exceptional. When combined with the Stratos, the midrange was a bit forward and exaggerated with some sibilance, highs reasonably crisp and clear, and bass lacking in presence and definition compared to truly fine equipment. The soundstage was not as realistic as that of better equipment, either. Based on the sound quality alone I would give the Tempest 3 or maybe even 4 stars, but given the transformer buzz and overall shoddy quality of construction I can't go beyond 2 stars.

It amazes me to read review after review in which users who have had trouble with this unit give it 5 stars. Apparently people have been conditioned to expect lower quality than what I consider satisfactory. In my opinion, inconsistent performance and poor quality control should be cause for alarm rather than for praising the manufacturer for actually standing behind the warranty. Sending equipment in for weeks at a time for repairs is a major inconvenience and most manufacturers do not make us do that with the apparently high frequency that Odyssey does. I sold my Tempest and Stratos and would not buy another Odyssey product because of my concerns about consistency and quality control. Two experienced friends and I also found that a cheap Harmon Kardon receiver sounded at least as good as the Stratos/Tempest combo. Not recommended.

Similar Products Used: Van Alstine
PSE
Harman Kardon
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
robbiesurp   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 24, 2006]
Strength:

Smooth dynamic sound. Huge soundstage. Palpable imaging. Great build quality. PRICE.

Weakness:

Loooooong brekin period.

I originally purchased a used Tempest from a member on AudioCircle. It sounded great but was picking up interferrence in my room. I called Klaus and sent the unit back to him. He repaired it and sent it back in about a week. This time it still had interferrence but it was reduced in volume. I called him again and he agreed to build me a brand new fully upgraded Tempest Extreme at a small additional cost. All of this took some time, but that is to be expected with any kind of product return. The fact that Klaus is willing to provide this kind of customer service for a product that has been owned by two different parties is amazing.

A lot has been said about breakin with audio products. The Tempest is no exception. Mine has been plugged in for about 6 weeks and played a for few hours a day. To be perfectly honest it didn't sound that great for the first month and a half. But as I was listening last week, all of a sudden it became very bass heavy. The next day it was all treble and tinny... The next day the Tempest settled down and now it throws a huge sound stage, the Treble is sweet and extended, the Bass is powerful and punchy. I'm a believer in the theory of breakin, but I've never heard it this dramatically with any component that I've owned. I can only describe the change in sound like the brekin period of my Shelter 501 mkII. If you've had one of these low output MC's, it's an entirely different cartridge (all for the better) at 100 hrs.The Tempest may breakin faster if you play music through it 24/7, but I don't know. I do know that if you don't leave the Tempest powered up for at least 6 weeks, you won't know the magic that this preamp can show.

I also own an Odyssey Stratos Plus amp. In my system the Tempest and Stratos sound amazing driving Meaowlark Shearwater Hotrod speakers. I hear that Klaus has discontinued the regular Tempest and is only selling the Extreme version, as well as lowering the price of the upgrade. This is amazing customer and product support. He even called me to rufund some of my upgrade money to keep it in line with the new pricing. I think you would be hard pressed to find that kind of dedication to customer service anywhere.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Richard Carpenter   Casual Listener [Jul 21, 2006]
Strength:

For the price everything. Klaus and Odyssey are behind the product. I wish more manufacturer would be as honest and straight foward. Super parts quality. 20 year warranty and 30 day money back policy. Musical.

Weakness:

Not the best preamp I have heard. Jadis and Convergent Audio are better but impossible for my budget. My wife would kill me. I believe that the Tempest will place second when the Candela arrives.

What a joke this section is. Regardless, I have owned a Tempest with remote for over 3 years. At first I mated it to a Krell KSA 50, a PS Audio HC2A, and now a Stratos Stereo Extreme. In each system it has been flawless. The Tempest is super quiet with a huge and open soundstage. As a matter of fact I tried a Conrad Johnson tube stage with the Stratos and the Tempst is wider, deeper, and more precise. What I like most is the speed, accuracy and dynamics of the Tempest. Very impressive and when magazines talk about palpability, this is it. Tonality is excellent. My friend plays the piano, and in his amazing system we have recorded his play with a real to real deck with a special Mark Levinsen microphone. Playing back these songs in my system is haunting. With the Tempest, Stratos and Hales speakers the piano is in the room right in front of me without distortion or lack of dynamics or the like.

The Tempest is without a doubt one of the all time bargains for preamps, which might not sit well with some people. I noticed Audiocircle being mentioned, and there i a very interesting link where some light is being shed on some issues.

http://www.audiocircle.com/circles/index.php?topic=29712.0

On a final note I found that the looks of the Tempest is controversial. My wife and I love it, our neighbor doesn't, big knobs and all. But you can not knock the craftsmanship of the Tempest. it is a clean layout, hand soldered, and uses very high quality parts throughout. Next month I have a second preamp. A tube unit from Odyssey, the Candela. Count me in as a repeated repeat customer, that is how happy I am.

Richard

Customer Service

Number 1. Not even close.

Similar Products Used: In the last 5 years: Conrad Johnson. Convergent Audio. Musical Fidelity. Electrocompaniet. McCormack,
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Richard C   Casual Listener [Jul 21, 2006]
Strength:

For the price it is unbeatable. Odyssey is teh bst company that I have dealt with in over 20 years in this audio hobby. Klaus. In his posts he is honest about past problems and future solutions. The knowledge and reassurance that if I ever need help I will get it in an instant. I only hope that more manufacturer will be as straight forward and reasonable as Odyssey.

Weakness:

Not the best preamp I have heard. The Jadis and the Convergent Audio were better but for many times the cost of the Tempest and out of my price range. My gut feeling is that the Candela will place the Tempest into second place.

What a joke this section is. Regardless, I have owned a Tempest with remote for over 3 years. At first I mated it to a Krell KSA 50, a PS Audio HC2A, and now a Stratos Stereo Extreme. In each system it has been flawless. The Tempest is super quiet with a huge and open soundstage. As a matter of fact I tried a Conrad Johnson tube stage with the Stratos and the Tempst is wider, deeper, and more precise. What I like most is the speed, accuracy and dynamics of the Tempest. Very impressive and when magazines talk about palpability, this is it. Tonality is excellent. My friend plays the piano, and in his amazing system we have recorded his play with a real to real deck with a special Mark Levinsen microphone. Playing back these songs in my system is haunting. With the Tempest, Stratos and Hales speakers the piano is in the room right in front of me without distortion or lack of dynamics or the like.

The Tempest is without a doubt one of the all time bargains for preamps, which might not sit well with some people. I noticed Audiocircle being mentioned, and there is a very interesting link where some light is being shed on some issues and reviews.

http://www.audiocircle.com/circles/index.php?topic=29712.0

On a final note I found that the looks of the Tempest is controversial. My wife and I love it, our neighbor doesn't, knobs too big. But you can not knock the craftsmanship of the Tempest. it is a clean layout, hand soldered, and uses very high quality parts throughout. Next month I have a second preamp. A tube unit from Odyssey, the Candela. Count me in as a repeated repeat customer, that is how happy I am.

Richard

Customer Service

Number 1, Not even close.

Similar Products Used: In the last 5 years: Conrad Johnson. Convergent Audio. McCormack. Audible Illusions. Electrocompaniet
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
W C   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 17, 2006]
Strength:

That warm 3-D holographic image. I swear it sounds real.

Weakness:

About the only weakness that I can think of is if I'm moving, it's heavy!! And I ain't getting any younger. But that's OK.

I'd like to respond as a Tempest owner. I've never had any problems with my Tempest. It's always been dead quiet and a joy to listen to. It produces a wide soustage with a 3-D holographic image. I would describe the sound as being on the warm side of neutral. I liked the sound of this preamp more than the California Audio Labs CL-2500SSP and the Citation 7.0 which are both highly regarded. In fact, the only thing that has gone wrong is one of the light bulbs has gone out. But they don't last forever. So I really don't get why a few others had problems. Some of their descriptions of the sound leads me to wonder if they even had it hooked up right. As far as build quality, it weighs as much as some amplifiers. It's built more like stereo gear from the 70's and early 80's. Solid and built to last. It's actually a Symphonic Line preamp from Germany and sells for about $3500. So I wouldn't describe the build quality as shoddy, not in the least bit.
Sometimes people can have a problem with dimmer lights and other things that can cause noise problems. The gear is more sensitive and will sometimes reveil this when others won't. One time I faintly heard a radio station coming out of one speaker. I didn't have a tuner hooked up. But I did have one pair of I/C's that were not shielded. They were picking up the signal from the local radio station. So you just have to investigate sometimes and not jump to conclusions. I been very happy with all the Odyssey products that I own and wouldn't hesitate buying another Odyssey product. Klaus is a great guy and if there is a problem, I know Klaus will take care of it. He's one of the good guys.

Customer Service

Second to none.

Similar Products Used: California Audio Labs CL-2500SSP, Citation 7.0 Yamaha DSP-A1, Fosgate 3A
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 26  

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