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By Max Headroom
Item: AM Audio Music RT-2 Silver preamp
Location: Williamstown, Victoria
Price: $4400 (RRP is $7,650 saving over $3000)
Item Condition: 8/10
Reason for selling: Upgrade/change of direction
Payment Method: Pickup - Cash, Paypal, COD Only
Extra Info: Well I never thought that I would come to this point, but as we all know, this hobby is a cruel mistress...
Yes I am selling my wonderful AM RT-2 preamp. Its absolutely gorgeous.
For those of you who have been fortunate enough to hear/use AM amps in their system, you'll know what this amp is all about. It's one step down from the 3 box RT-3 flagship, but if you've had the pleasure of hearing it you'll know its quite stunning in it's ability to bring music into your room if the rest of your system is up to it.
The build is amazing. Inside and out, its a work of art. The one thing you'll notice straight away is this amp is not one that will look old or dated in a few years. It also feels like a truck could drive over it and wouldn't even scratch it - the workmanship and quality is absolutely amazing.
The power supply is huge, making some power amps look puny. Internally it's wired up with silver wire, which is a step up from its brother the RT-1 which uses copper wiring. And no before you ask I don't hear any shrillness, brightness or dryness. Just a detailed, smooth, dynamic and open sound.
And the sound emerges from a black background... I don't know, I could start spouting superlatives...
I’ve compared it with well respected preamps around the same price, but what you notice with this AM preamp is that it is sooooo quiet. You don't realise that amps are noisy till you (don't) hear a really great amp. Then the sound just appears in front of you unhindered without any noise or grain... and the dynamics are tremendous. They're unforced, just amazing. Hard to explain till you really hear it. It's a huge step up from anything I had used previously.
Another huge benefit is that I can play my music at low volume and it fills the room, it doesn’t shrink away. So late night listening is totally doable and you’ll still feel/hear the energy in the music - not many preamps will give you this consistency throughout the volume range, most just shrink the soundstage and dynamics as you turn the volume down.
This preamp can mix it with some very lofty company - Audio Note M8, Esoteric C-03, Nagra Jazz...
But I'll stop waxing lyrical about this preamp, and refer you to these reviews... (and yes, donation to SNA upon successful sale of this beautiful pre-amp)
Oh and before I go, I recently purchased a pair of Sovtek 6H30Pi EB Cryo Matched Pair tubes. I've put only a couple of hours on them, but honestly couldn't hear a difference, so would suggest the original valves still have plenty of life in them. Will through them in to sweeten the deal.
And for interstate shoppers - yes I have the original boxes so will arrive safely, but may cost a bit to ship as this 2 box preamp literally will come in 2 boxes, and its damn heavy.
"The build quality of the AM 805Ss and the RT-2 is right up there among the best. Does Mr Fang have a relative who owns an aluminum plant? Looking at the amplifiers you have to wonder; the monoblocks and the preamp use aluminum so thick, so massively internally braced in the corners and so beautifully machined that they give the impression cast monolithic integrity rather than of something that’s been screwed together. With the lids of the RT-2 and its companion power supply removed, and the base plates of the monoblocks set aside it’s evident that the quality is more than simply skin deep. In addition to the own-build transformers Audio Music has copper foil capacitors of its own design manufactured in its own factory in Mexico. Am Fang and his colleagues liked what Jensen, Audio Note and a few others were producing, but didn’t like the prices, so decided to set up in competition. Audio Music U-Caps are the result...
Internally, the RT-2 especially is a work of art. It is properly dual mono from power chord onwards. The feed splits as it enters the power supply chassis to feed two separate circuits, then travels to the preamp via separate ubilicals. To the front of the preamp box, massive machined alloy yokes hug the two 33-step-transformers for volume control, and at the rear another yoke holds the two larger output transformers. Across the middle is a vertically mounted tube socket board bolted onto its own, again massive, aluminum plate. Signal path capacitors are AM’s own U-Caps. The point to point wiring, all silver, is neatly executed. In all, it’s a joy to behold..
From that very personal perspective though, I think the RT-2 is a veritable blinder, able to mix it with some very illustrious and expensive company indeed. I tell you, it pushed my own Audio Note M8 hard into a corner. Nose to nose it asked: “You really worth that much, big boy?” Of course, and ultimately given the law of diminishing returns, the question is not so much one of £££s worth, but of sonic satisfaction. In others words eight point five tenths versus ten tenths – but for a lot, lot less money, if you want to characterise it that way.
The RT-2 is genuinely that good sonically, in my view."
6moons (reviewing the copper based RT-1 which is one step down in the range:
"In my 11 years at this helm, I've never before come across a component this deserving of being called built like a tank. Think Burson squared. The canned TVCs are braced in massively machined aluminum retainers. So are the output and power transformers. The vertical tube board mounts its super-tight sockets to a massive aluminum plate whose back side doubles as mount for the associated circuit board. The grooved heavy-duty top cover locks into rabbeted place with eight long bolts passing with perfect fit through the overkill corner blocks...
Whilst one might rightly question whether this type of build is necessary—I don't think that Jeff Rowland shoppers would though—there's no question that Audio Music's designer is an extremist when it comes to mechanical construction...
If you've ever wondered about manufacturers referring to components as true dual-mono whilst running off a single power transformer with dual secondaries, Fang would have your back. He even extends this divide-and-conquer thinking to his stout doubled-up 4-pole umbilicals; and as we already knew the twinned volume controls where it arguably gets just a tad inconvenient but does double as precision balance control...
Needless to say, such design intensity has to include completely noise-free operation both mechanically and electrically for zero transformer hum and nada tube rush. The R-T1 complies. Ambitious tube gear which claims that noise is acceptable as long as the sound is good belongs into the past century with wow and flutter and brickwall filters.
The first sonic surprise was just how loud the R-T1 sounded at micro volumes. We're all familiar with hifi's mandate that escalating volumes ought to only go louder, not change with band-specific compression, stridency, brightness, hardness or other nonlinearities. Hardly anyone talks about the inverse. Things shouldn't collapse, shrink or disappear as volumes fade. It's probably a fortuitous combo of current drive, overall system resolution and speaker responsiveness that delays the inevitable sonic shrinkage which accompanies counter clockwise on the dial. Old-fashioned loudness controls were meant to compensate for HF/LF loss at pianissimo levels but none of today's high-end gear has them. Here the R-T1 set a new high in low. It maintained truly phenomenal intelligibility and substance all the way down into the very ambient noise floor of the room itself...
If you think on it, there's something very wrong with being held hostage by systems which only satisfy when played loud. Sometimes loud isn't appropriate or possible. Sometimes you're not in the mood for it. Should you settle for a lesser experience then or, worse, opt to not listen at all? If you relate, the Audio Music preamp up-ends such silliness (obviously your particular amp/speaker interface must be capable of transferring massive signal cut into proper fullness and detail - and many speakers just aren't). Very likely Fang's magnetic volume controls had something to do with this due to how effective their lot get as one turns them down. The upshot is that contrary to popular lore where tube circuits are inherently noisier than transistor equivalents to come second on resolving power, on low-down intelligibility with body the R-T1 thoroughly whupped ass on my Esoteric C-03 preamp and even outweighed my Nagra Jazz in the bass...
Conclusion. The R-T1 should be of particular interest to people of either hi-eff systems where deep attenuation is the order of the day; or those who routinely listen quietly but presently belabour a significant loss of substance whenever they do. Here the transformer-based volume controls excel at maximizing drive at very low signal voltages. It really was just a matter of time. Reference Chi-Fi has arrived. Audio Music's R-T1 TVC valve preamp belongs into the top echelon of performance as do its assembly and finish quality. It might take a few more years for this new reality to sink in. The few adventurous souls open-minded enough to already give this machine an audition should simply agree that this future is here now!..."
Item: Parasound P5 Preamplifier (Black)
Location: Sydney (Northern Beaches)
Item Condition: 9/10
Reason for selling: Moved over to MiniDSP for even more/finer sub control in a difficult room/house
Payment Method: Pickup - Cash, Paypal, COD Only
Pick Up Only At This Stage.
It has spent its life in my rack cabinet.
Comes with original remote.
NO original box or power cord.
Item: Nad S100 Pre Amp
Item Condition: Great considering age - 8/10
Reason for selling: No Longer Required
Payment Method: Pickup - Cash, Paypal, COD Only
Extra Info: Nad S100 (silver series) pre amp. Balanced and unbalanced outputs. Comes with remotes. Works like it did from day one. Great condition considering age. Comes from smoke / pet / child free house hold.
Can post Australia wide
Item: Accuphase C280 preamp, in light champagne gold with gorgeous persimmon cabinet - completely unmarked.
Item Condition: Near perfect
Reason for selling: No longer required
Payment Method: As agreed
Extra Info: I have had this Accuphase preamp for a few months now and it's probably the best piece of equipment I've ever bought. Build quality can only be described as world leading, and this particular model oozes pride of manufacturing and attention to detail at a 'cost no option' approach.
Musically, it has staggering detail, with an amazing sound stage, and delicate and captivating three dimensional presentation. Totally realistic image - just a stunning piece of equipment. I never thought music could sound this good. This particular model was built with a very high end phono stage and was regarded as one of the best ever produced. Apparently the overall costs was similar to that of a car at the time.
This link from Accuphase presents most of the technical details:
This is a very heavy item and it will be professionally and meticulously packaged. Freight is at the buyer's expense. I have attached a small sticky red tape on the volume knob to remind myself of the previous setting. It will be removed on the sale of the item.
I’m after opinions and advice for a new purchase. I want a desktop head amp that also has preamp function for a pair of active speakers. Prefer balanced option for both outputs, but not mandatory.
My headphones are Audeze LCD-3 and AKG-702. I’m not looking for one that includes a DAC. It is to drive Genelec small monitors when not handling headphones. Being on a desk, it can’t be huge in size, and I don’t want to burn myself on massive tubes 😉
Budget is.... I guess $1k to $3k. I want something built to last / a keeper. DAC tech just moves so fast...
Thoughts so far
Pass Labs HPA-1 would be at the top end
Burson Conductor V2
Please throw your options in! 👍