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2019 StereoCoffee LDR Pre/Attenuator Kit

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This is tricky review because it is actually a product but it is a product for DIYers.

 

The newest 2019 StereoCoffee has reached the point where it has opened up the sound of my system with separation, life like reproduction of voices and instruments, venue ambience, dynamics and instrument/voice separation to a point that I didn’t think possible… simply, it sound’s pretty good!

 

Over the past 18 months I, plus a few others have had the opportunity to audition most of the SC upgrades during that time and a/b test them directly with the previous version. I'm other customers will agree that the improvements are NOT in their imagination as some seem to suggest.

 

The first version I tried had 3 boards and appeared to be a work in progress because of all the upgrades I tested over 18 months.

 

The latest version only had two boards which are much simpler to connect. The brand new custom made boards are all hand wired to order by Chris and it takes almost a full day to solder, calibrate and test the boards. I reckon $250 is a bargain.

 

The original boards had what I thought exemplary performance but Chris kept producing upgrades, all of which improved performance noticeably and in the last 3 cases, dramatically.

 

I’m not capable of putting the experience into words, but a couple of knowledgable people have said. “If I listened in a dark room, I could believe their were ghostly voices around me.” Another was impressed by the "giant sound stage which envelopes the whole room with instruments".

 

Based on my experiences, listening to high end gear at audio club meets, I thought the performance of StereoCoffee had reached a point where it brought my modest system a level which sounded just as good to me or even better in my own listening space. I didn’t think it could be improved.

 

But no! I was wrong (again). My expectations were way too low which has been proven to me with the release of the latest and (perhaps) final board.

 

Some how, this new power/control board is able to dig so much deeper into my music than I have ever heard to the point where my logic tells me this is not possible.

 

In photographic terms it is like enlarging a super high resolution image that remains super sharp and shows even more detail as the size increases. In other words there is now audible detail within detail without resorting to digital enhancement.

 

The purity of sound and absence of any audible distortion is very noticeable on my DIY hybrid ESL Mini Panels and Hypex nCore amp.

 

There have been several USA nameless vocal detractors and one Aussie on DIY Audio Forum who have joined forces deliberately trying to discredit and humiliate Chris. It has recently been closed by DIY Forum Moderator. 

 

These unidentified ‘qualified’ engineers who have never seen or heard a StereoCoffee are calling performance improvements in the new one ‘snake oil’ and accusing Chris of ’ripping off customers’.

 

All they have proven to me is that Chris has achieved something they are incapable of understanding through lack of research into how the performance of LDR’s change under various operating conditions. and StereoCoffee customers are reaping the benefits.

 

Electronic development is changing fast and any LDR preamp manufacturer who claims performance of the original design can’t be improved or can't see the effect new D Class amps will have on the audio industry, must have their head buried in the sand.

 

DISCLAIMER: I don't work for Chris, I am a happy customer who keeps getting happier.

 

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Hammond enclosure with waxed Mango front panel held in place by pot and switch to hide panel bolts

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Late 2018/2019 kit comes with two boards and newly designed power/control board can be powered by 12v AC or 15-18v DC wall packs.

 

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Small board at front is to isolate LED indicator from the main power supply.

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Hello Friends,

I recently acquired stereo coffee ldr, mine is an older version than the current one. i like the sound but found out the loudness is too low. I have a low 3.5 set amp. And i am thinking to adding some gain to the preamp to compensate... Any ideas for a tube buffer or such? Will they mate well with this LDR?  

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I haven't heard the earlier versions, but I am extremely happy with the latest version. Also would say Chris is very helpful and patient, answering all my questions very promptly, making the build very comfortable.

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On 22/01/2019 at 12:40 PM, rockymystic said:

Hello Friends,

I recently acquired stereo coffee ldr, mine is an older version than the current one. i like the sound but found out the loudness is too low. I have a low 3.5 set amp. And i am thinking to adding some gain to the preamp to compensate... Any ideas for a tube buffer or such? Will they mate well with this LDR?  

I would just contact Chris as he has a number of customers all with different systems and he tests them on a couple of different rigs.

The only time I had a problem with insufficient output was when I tried to use a lowish output cartridge with a phone preamp. Level was ok but I would have liked to have more gain instead have being almost full on.

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I have had Chris's LDR pre amp for well over 2 years and I have had 2 board chages in that time and every time I think it cannot get any better he proves me wrong

Chris is a genius and a true gentleman in every sense

I exchanged emails with him last week and he has confirmed that again there are improvments and im shipping my pre next week to him for the new modifications

To those who try and discredit chris, unless you have heard his LDR then dont comment

I have had over the last 20years nearly all the top pre amps from manufacturers including Mark Levinson, Esoteric, McIntosh etc etc and dont get me wrong they are all phenomenal pre amps but no of them has had everything perfectly right, some excell with timing, timbre, soundstage etc

Chris LDR pre on the other hand has everything, zero colour, perfect imaging, spot on timbre and timing and it just sounds so natural

For those that doubt this, try it!

The price of Chris LDR is extremely cheap compared to other manufacturers pre amps

Oh and a side note if you are not happy then you can most probably sell it on for the price you paid anyways, as there is gereally a waiting list for Chris to build one,

bear that in mind because someone will snap it up if you don't like it, some people that just cannot wait lol

I know people are thinking maybe Im just judging by my own ears!

I am very lucky have many audiophile friends with great systems that are astounded by the clarity and dynamics of Chris's LDR

Guys if your on the fence trying to decide whether its that good, it is

Give it a go, what do you have to lose, buy a preamp that will seriously end your journey of trying to find that golden elusive pre amplifier that has everything

Well done Chris and dont worry what the sceptics say, there are many of us out here that know the truth

Cheers

A very happy LDR pe amp owner

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I've had my StereoCoffee built for a few months now, but I've been trying out different internal cables (cat5, 26g & 24g headphone cable, Klotz MY206.  I've settled on the Klotz MY206 microphone cable.  Very nice :)

 

The pre sounds very natural & well balanced across the audio spectrum.  Clear, punchy bass,  great midrange and treble.  Great dynamics, sound staging and headroom.  You can now hear all the subtle nuances in the music.  I love hearing the detail within the reverb in certain songs.  A great sounding pre.

 

IMG_20190527_101042821.jpg.d373cedd05f10b528b6031ea57da6e89.jpgIMG_20190527_101052325.jpg.ce2fb1d790dfb4ad7edab29f95455964.jpgIMG_20190527_101111957.jpg.b402f379458045a3115021b846403010.jpg

 

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