Here some sound impressions from the owner of the recently shown line stage with silver/finemet transformers.
I translated his description trying to stay as true to his words as possible. The original german text is also quoted below.
I had been using the big 10Y preamp in my system for an extended time period, namely as long as was needed to finish my own one. I am quite familiar with the different variants of this preamp. I always had a preference for the one with Tribute TVC. But this is a matter of personal taste. This 10Y preamp fits perfectly into my system. Thomas' suggestion to build an improved version with a silver wound TVC on 'finemet' core had me thinking: 'How could that even improve it?'
The curiosity won and what followed was some waiting time. Pieter of Tribute needs considerable time, but therefore his products can compete with those of any top transformer winder.
Finally came the time when I could exchange the preamps and the listening could start. To be fair I need to mention that the new 10Y first had to run for about 10 days before it reached absolute perfection (Even though Thomas is sceptical about such burn in).
What changed compared to the other preamp? To say it bluntly: It plays on another level. Everybody who is familiar with the 'regular' 10Y preamp might be able to imagine what that means. Looking at this from HiFi aspects, the first apparent point is the natural and silky treble reproduction. This of course benefits the reproduction of strings which I never heard as realisticly, except in a concert hall. Now you may think this preamp is mainly for listening to classical music. This is not the case. When aggressive sounds are asked for - for example from the crash cymbals of the drummer - then they are there with all the severity.
The mids don't fall behind the excellent treble reproduction. Vocals are reproduced with lots of tone colour. Sometimes with a spooky realism. The three dimensional reproduction of musicians is one of the strengths of this preamp. And the regular 10Y preamp was already excellent with this.
Also apparent is a better accentuated bass, which also extends further down. But what is most important is the reproduction of a contra bass with all its nuances and tone colours. The bass is not just a black wall.
I normally don't like the dissection of the music into parts and the 10Y keeps everything integrated. But I want to mention the even further increased resolution. It is not the case that this is noticed first and musical content second. The musical flow is perfectly integrated just as in real life. This is especially positive with the reproduction of complex orchestral passages, which can cause other electronics to 'get lost'.
The resolution also brings an improved sound stage. This is not very important for me, but when it is offered like this, I take it. It is not important for me if the trumpet is situated 1m in front of the bass or just 50cm. But when the audience is reproduced as part of the concert in a life recording, that is something! It becomes obvious if the recording engineer fiddled with the tone adjustments too much. Still this preamp has the ability to make poor recordings enjoyable. A real winner for music connoisseurs.
It is hard to believe that the transformer upgrade changed so much, but it is the case. Congratulations to Lindau and to Pieter from the Netherlands.
Thanks a lot to Jürgen for sharing his impressions!
Here his original report in german:
Ich hatte über einen längeren Zeitraum die Gelegenheit, die große 10Y Vorstufe in meiner Kette zu hören. Nämlich so lange, bis meine eigene fertig gestellt war. Nun kenne ich die unterschiedlichen Varianten dieser Vorstufe von Thomas sehr gut, mir hatte die Version mit dem Tribute TVC immer am besten gefallen. Das ist natürlich Geschmackssache. Jedenfalls passte diese 10Y so perfekt in mein System, dass ich über den Vorschlag von Thomas, die verbesserte TVC Version von Tribute mit Silberwicklungen und „Finemet“ Kernmaterial einzusetzen, erst einmal nachdenken musste. Was wollte man damit noch verbessern?
Vielen Dank an Jürgen für den detaillierten Bericht und weiter viel Freude mit der Vorstufe!