Sound Valves 101i Preamplifiers

101i

Tube line stage preamp w/tube phono section

User Reviews (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3  
Mark Bryston   Audiophile [Jun 20, 2000]
Strength:

6 tubes, 3for lp, 3 for line stage(all 12ax7's). EPL swich to bypass the selector swich. Comes with shorting plugs. Independent tape loop from the main switch. Very well built. Gold is cosmetically appealling(it is really gold). Soft start mode to preserve tube life. VERY INEXPENSIVE TO GET ALL TUBE PREAMP WITH SELECTABLE PHONO

Weakness:

Not the last word in quiet phono stage.

I discovered the 101i in stereo reviews annual product guide
and the list price for an all tube preamp had me on the phone in a heartbeat($799). I discovered that the only way to get the sound valve preamp is to order it factory direct. They have been around for 20 years in this capacity and are still here so I felt confident to try the purchase. It came with a 30 inhome trial but I fell inlove with it right out of the box and after the breakin period it was only better. It is everything you want from a tube preamp in the macro sense. It portrays the music in the tube manner of which any audiophile could articulate. It creates the lifelike presentation that you are looking for when you go tube!!! It also mellows the digititis in CD players considerable as any tubed preamp will(something that only Mega Mega buck solid states can do. From a macro point of view it raises the level of vinyl playback to even greater realism rendering a very stable soundstage with depth and startling realism. Its EPL independant switch, the literature claims, improves on digital playback even more. It does but at the expence of not being able to record of that source. Not a big deal if digital is your primary source and you dont make copies(I make many cassette copies).
The build quality is exellent!!! It for a time supported a pair of mono blocks from Bryston without any sign of stress. I know that this was not the best idea but for a short time I had to make do with the space and cabling I had. The soft start takes only a short time 15 to 30 seconds and the LED indicator turns from red to green. This allows the tubes to gradually come to operating ability without undue stress preserving tube life. The gold color really is gold in the truest sense. I found it appealing and after alnmost a year still feel that way. However the Wife does not like it so if the wife acceptance factor comes in to play better find out what she thinks!! The signal to noise ratio which is the biggest area any tube has to deal with in todays market of 140db cd players, solid state amps ect. The 101i's line stage is excellent. Turning the volume pot all the way to full revealed almost absolute quite at the speaker. For a tube that is top notch. The Phono stage is the one area that the 101i's micro analysis falls a little short. At the extreme listening position for commerical pressing I could max out at 12oclock at which a slight but audible hiss could be heard. With lower signaled audiophile recordings the extreme is closer to 3oclock to which the hiss is very noticable when no musical sourse is present. During playback however it was masked by the recording itself. Even in between tracks this is true. So the sound floor of the 101i is still below the surface of the vinyl.At $800 It a STEAL!!! If the phono stage does bother you(It takes both MM/MC)then upgrade to an outbord and run it through the EPL switch, thats what I plan on doing. BUY It with confidence.

Similar Products Used: None( first all tube in the system)
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Aa   a Casual Listener [Feb 14, 1999]

Very good

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Marc   Audiophile [May 18, 2001]
Strength:

NONE.

Weakness:

Read my review on this product under VTP-101i - "Caveat Emptor" - buyer beware.

Horrible product, put together by people who obviously do not care, but want your money.

My only wish is that Audio Review installs an extra grade of "0" so I can give this product what it deserves!

Similar Products Used: I'd rather use a boom box.
OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
Showing 1-3 of 3  

(C) Copyright 1996-2018. All Rights Reserved.

audioreview.com and the ConsumerReview Network are business units of Invenda Corporation

Other Web Sites in the ConsumerReview Network:

mtbr.com | roadbikereview.com | carreview.com | photographyreview.com | audioreview.com