Primarily a DIY effort. Tube amplification from Bottlehead and Heathkit. DIY open baffle speakers featuring Voxativ 1.6 full-range drivers. The signal goes out from the Bottlehead preamp into a Marchand crossover I built several years ago. Bottlehead 2A3s power the Voxativ drivers supplemented by Fostex super tweeters. The Voxativs are mounted on an open baffle that acts as a mechanical high pass filter at approximately 250 Hz. A pair of vintage Heathkit UA-2s drive the 15" Fostex woofers.
I recently added bass traps from Auralex and GIK Acoustics.These made a huge contribution to the clarity and detail of the system.
It is both fun and cost effective to build one of these kits. I have not heard that many other tube preamps, but I can say the BeePre is the best I have heard and definitely a step up from my previous solid state model. Of course, there is potential for improvement by upgrading transformers, capacitors and tubes and the layout of the kit facilitates this option more than a factory built unit. In other words, you can tune the preamp to your own taste and preferences. You would definitely not be wasting your time.
How does thebeepre compare to commercial offerings? I've been wanting to build one but I do have a vacuum state svp2 that I love. It is a 6dj8 based pre that retailed for around 7k. Will I be wasting my time?
Thanks Kpeoples for your in depth response. I will look into your system and try to get a 2" solid maple shelf under my BeePre to see if that will help w/ the microphonics. Also good to know that the stock EHx tubes are a good pairing with the BeePre. I had read such good reviews about the EHx Gold 300B tubes that I just started with them. I got my EHx Gold 300B tubes from Jim McShane.
I am using the stock Electro Harmonix 300B EH tubes provided by Botttlehead. I think they sound great, with no hint of microphony. Good detail, imaging, etc. My preamp sits on a 2" solid maple shelf, which may have a lot to do with the lack of vibration induced noise. The Mapleshade rack has spiked feet anchored on a solid bamboo floor over a concrete slab. The 2A3 amps picked up a little bit of vibration when mounted on previous racks, but they are also quiet now.
I love my Bottlehead pieces. They are not cheap, but with a little sweat equity they have to be the best bargain in audio.
Sweet looking system Kpeoples. What 300B tubes are you currently using in your Bottlehead BeePre?
I'm using Electro Harmonix Gold 300B tubes which is a nice pairing. My only issue with the BeePre is the microphony. I hope in your system you don't have micophonic or ringing issues with the BeePre. When the system is warming up and I sneeze near my system I can hear a slight ring through the system.