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Anthony A.

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2005
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well, after much exhaustion as to which player is the best (for me) and at the same time not overly expensive, i decided to go for a tubed cdp. i recently listened to a full blue circle (tubed) setup running cls2z's and i was in awe as to how realistic it was. well, i auditioned the cary 308, 303/200, 303/300, shantling 100, naim, denon, musical fidelity, and a few more. well, i bit the bullet and bought a used jolida 100a cdp with level 1 mod by parts connections. i received it today and really like it. i will spend the next little while "tweaking" its sound by changing out some cables and also tube rolling. this is my first tube component and i am one step closer to realism. my setup now consists of ascent i's, pass labs x250 amp, jolida 100a mod 1 cdp and (don't laugh) a denon 3803 receiver as a preamp. the denon really is killing the sound imo. i want to try probably a bat unit. can anyone describe bat's tube preamps to blue circle's? i really liked blue circle's stuff but they are hard to come by used. i just ordered a pair of bc68 power cords for my speakers and am eagerly waiting for their arrival. other than that, i have nordost everything else.

so what tube preamp should i go with? someone told me to forget about getting the anthem d1 pre/pro (since i have a ht setup that i use 70% of the time) and get a receiver for the surrounds and a good preamp for the fronts. am i missing something. how does all of this connect to each other? please give any and all opinions and thanks for the help everyone.
Have BAT VK51SE. Overall, it's the best preamp I've ever had in my system. Very neutral. Doesn't sound like tubes, doesn't sound like sand. I've also heard lower-end models of BAT stuff at hi-fi shows. I don't think you can go wrong with one.
well, after much exhausting "listening" tests with my fairly new cdp, i am starting to enjoy music again. i have tested a lot of cables in the meantime and go figure, i continued my setup with more nordost cables. something about these guys just make the music sound right. as for tubes, i've been doing a lot of rolling (and expensive too). i have narrowed down my likings to the amperex bugle boy 12ax7 for its all around good nature. the svetlanas which came with the cdp are still very good considering they cost $10 a tube (and a great all around tube as well). i recently got a set of mullards that surprised me a lot. they had more gain than all of my other tubes and the soundstage was so wide i was getting chills. the downside is that they are not good with all types of music. they project an image that is a bit behind the speakers (excellent for classical, jazz, etc). sucks for rock and dance music. so now im still looking for something that will give me the same soundstage but more forward. any suggestions? i personally did not like the jg 5751's in my setup. i have a pair of raytheon windmill getters on the way and we'll see what happens. looking also for sylvania gold brand 5751. any suggestions on tubes that might fit my setup (and tastes)?
Anthony A. said:
someone told me to forget about getting the anthem d1 pre/pro (since i have a ht setup that i use 70% of the time) and get a receiver for the surrounds and a good preamp for the fronts. am i missing something. how does all of this connect to each other? please give any and all opinions and thanks for the help everyone.

Here is a quote from

Connect the front left and right outputs of the surround processor to the video inputs of the preamp. Set the preamp’s volume controls to the same level you normally use for CD or LP playback. Always make sure the controls are set to that exact position every time you switch the system to "Video" for home theater. If you have a stepped attenuator for volume, this is easy. If you have a continuous non-stepped attenuator, you will probably want to make a "pointer" of some sort so you can easily set the volume control to the correct position. The surround processor is used to set the actual level for the front left and right speakers so they match the other speakers for TV and movies -- or, horrors, music in surround sound. Some newer preamps, even some new tube preamps, have "pass through" connections that bypass all circuitry and the volume controls for the ultimate in easy integration of stereo and surround sound.

Here is the link in case you want to check it out.
BAT makes excellent products, but here are a few things to take into considerations on the BAT equipment:

1) You'll need to have balance adapters if you're considering the Vk-5i for this top-of-the line model (and the newer Vk-50 series) only have balanced XLR connections. I think the lower models support (unbalanced) RCA inputs, and outputs. Keep in mind that you'll need to have XLR-to-RCA adapters if the units you're looking at does not have it.

2) The 3i & 5i models both use 6922 tubes which may be very expensive when you consider rolling with NOS tubes for more musicality. The SE versions use 6H30 tubes but they are more expensive.

I agree with the post from SocialXray for I gave the exact same suggestion with another member on this board having the Denon 3805 receiver. The pre-amp you are considering should have home-theater bypass connection to make things easy on the calibration side. In my search for tube preamps, I was seriously considering the Cary SLP-98 and in the end, went with the preamp from ModWright. (ModWright SWL-9.0)

Here's the link to the post with connecting preamp to the Denon 3805 receiver:

And the link to 6Moons review of the ModWright SWL-9.0

Good Luck
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Set up


Just to give you an idea, my system is somewhat similiar to yours. I have the Pass Labs X-350, A McIntosh C2200 Tube PreAmp, Shanling CD-T200A Tube SACD player, Ascent i's, transparent audio interconnects all around, and am audtioning MIT speaker cables. I have not rolled any tubes in the Mac but I did switch to the Western Electric 396a's in the Shanling. The difference has made me think I don't need to even touch the Mac's tubes. The 396a's opened my Shanling up so much that it was like having a totally new player. Course, this doesn't really help your situation so to my point. With the X-350 being SS and my desire to have that warm sound that it appears only tubes can give, I went for the mcIntosh C-2200. If you can audition one, give er a try. I can tell you that I bought mine from my local dealer at less than what I have seen them go for on eBay and Audiogon as used. With the X-250 and the X-350 being so close, I would think that you would replicate my happy experience. In the long run, just experiment and let your ears make the decision. Let me know what you settle on and why. Best of luck!

Mark :D

Congrats on your purchase of the Jolida JD100 cdp. The unit reacts very well to tube rolling. Currrently, I'm using the Raytheon 5751's w/windmill getter. Hopefully, your results with them will be as good as mine are.

Am a big fan of the 5751's. I use them in place of the 12AX7's I have in my system, including my amps. Their gain is slightly lower than the 12AX7's, but that's ok, since the Jolida has a lot of gain.

Anyway, some others you may want to try are the 3 mica blackplate RCA's and the 3 mica blackplate GE's. These should be of the late 50's vintage. I've tried the Sylvania 3 mica 5751's (Gold Brand), but the highs were too extended for my taste....your mileage may vary.

In terms of a pre-amp for 2 channel listening, I use what's considered a real sleeper, the Manley Shrimp. That unit is so unbelievably quiet. Built like a brick you-know-what. And Manley offers world -class service. You may want to check out the reviews:

Hope this helps,