Don Sachs Model 2 Line Stage

Discussion in 'Preamps' started by winders, Dec 14, 2017.

  1. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    This is an end game preamp. Value goes out the window, especially when you can customize to your heart's content.

    Saga and Freya volume clicks are definitely noisy. It's just a matter of putting up with it or getting used to it because of the value.
     
  2. Daveheart

    Daveheart Friend

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    I think I wrote up 4 or 5 replies mentioning the SP-14 kits, but I abandoned them all by going back to work or not being in the right frame of mind to finish my thoughts.

    Bottom line it's waaaaay cheaper to just get the PCB, parts, and transformers ($405 shipped). So if you're comfortable doing your own casework and planning your own upgrades, the VTA SP-14 is quite obviously the way to go.

    Still, additional transformers for a balanced input or output, upgrades to key caps, and the remote attenuator will significantly bump the parts cost. If your chassis making skills aren't too hot a custom chassis would closer the gap some more. Plus there's always a chance you aren't comfortable with any of the DIY. I'm sure the stock assembled option would get the same basic character, but I'm not sure it would be that close on technicalities. That being said I'm personally in process for building my own custom version of the PH-16 rather that buying Don's version or either of the VTA assembled versions.
     
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  3. sphinxvc

    sphinxvc Gear Master (retired)

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    Uhh, while that "you" was not directed at you personally, didn't you also just say you "doubt there is a huge difference"?

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. winders

    winders Know-it-all boomer, prob racist

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    Sometimes it’s best to let deleted posts stay deleted.
     
  5. Pyruvate

    Pyruvate Friend

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    As Marv said many times, think before you post. Especially when you're about to say something stupid.
     
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  6. winders

    winders Know-it-all boomer, prob racist

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    I did think. That doesn’t fix misreading what was written. Once I saw that, I deleted the text. If someone wants to get all indignant over a deleted post, go for it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
  7. sphinxvc

    sphinxvc Gear Master (retired)

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    You do realize we can see post history if we want to, right? In other words, no, it wasn't deleted when I went all "indie gnat."

    It can't be spun.

    PS, there's an actual delete button if you want to delete a post. It has the garbage can icon. You don't have to write "deleted..."
     
  8. winders

    winders Know-it-all boomer, prob racist

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    Who is trying to spin anything? Not I.

    I deleted the text before you posted. Go ahead and make a big deal of it.

    Don’t mock me for a misspelling. You know what was meant to be put there.
     
  9. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    Hey @winders if you want to get together with another Friend (me) to show off the 6SN7 endgame preamp, I'd love to have a listen. I'll even bring an alternate preamp for comparison if you feel like tinkering.

    PS if if your location is accurate, then we're in easy driving distance from one another.
     
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  10. winders

    winders Know-it-all boomer, prob racist

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    That would be fun! Let's chat in PM's about it.
     
  11. tomchr

    tomchr MOT - Neurochrome

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    It's also waaaaaay cheaper to buy a roll of steel rather than a BMW. You just have to put it together... $2800 for a hand made, custom built amplifier containing $400-500 worth of parts does not strike me as expensive. It'd take me a couple of weekends to put it together. At $125/hour that adds up pretty quickly. My comparison point is my auto mechanic. He charges about that. Why should I charge less? Then suddenly $2800 sounds pretty inexpensive. That's less than two weekends' worth of work. ;)

    I'll openly admit that as a MOT I'm biased. I am quite familiar with the costs associated with custom production of audio products. I also happen to know Don quite well. He torture tests his gear before he commits to a design. He stands by his work. That's worth money!

    It looks like a solid preamp. Don did well. I'm sure it'll serve you well for quite some time to come.

    Tom
     
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  12. Daveheart

    Daveheart Friend

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    So just to make myself clearer, my intent wasn't really to downplay any value in Don's work. I don't think I put nearly as much emphasis on the "if you're comfortable doing your own casework and planning your own upgrades" part. I also left out the time factor. I'd assume you'd need a pretty high comfort level to come close by doing it yourself.

    Also, that price cost didn't account for even one of the upgrades. It's $400 for the pcb, standard transformers, and basic parts. ~$90 would cover the cost of the specific caps winders mentioned. The cost for the resistors would increase as Don replaces most of them, but let's be conservative and say it only increases the cost by $10. The Dueland wiring would increase the costs, so let's add another $25. The balanced input uses Cinemag transformers; Don lists $225 for the option, but let's assume the parts costs is only $150. Don charges only $200 for the 64-step Khozmo; I usually see the price higher for just buying one, but we'll use his $200. Add on $250 for the specific tube set pictured. That brings the parts cost to $1,125.

    From looking at the pictures, I think I've missed some caps that weren't mentioned specifically, and I'm completely ignoring the chassis. That would increase the cost for an individual trying to make the same product as a DIY affair, but I'll just assume that Don's bulk discounts even out the parts costs that I've left out.
     
  13. gaspasser

    gaspasser Flatulence Maestro

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    What you are saying here doesn't really apply. I think you are alluding to opportunity cost, that is, if your mechanic elected to not work and instead build the preamp himself he is giving up the $125/hr. What someone does with their spare time is only a missed opportunity if they could otherwise be working. Therefore all someone is paying for is the convenience and expertise of the builder which do have value but $125/hr seems unrealistic.

    How can you make such a blanket statement? In comparison to what preamps? It sounds like nice marketing to me. In comparison to the Schiit offerings, especially Saga, this seems extravagant especially for a DIY build. I think that many here were pointing out the value proposition is lost once you have someone build a pimped-out version.

    EDIT: this comes off as snide towards @msommers as he points out two posts down that he says as much about the "value goes out the window". I apologize to you, buddy, my bad. However, I still take issue with calling it an end-game preamp. That term is too vague and the same criticism was leveled here against Schiit for saying the same about their products, but they are trying to sell the products (hence the marketing). I think EC gear proves that end-game has less to do with the individual components and more about the design of the piece of gear.

    I think where I have difficulty with all of this is that he is utilizing a DIY design that he didn't create and pimping it out. My issue with this thread about this preamp is the potential lack of value proposition and the dismissal of Freya or Saga by OP as not even in the same league, outright. Maybe if the preamp is truly end-game and worth $5000 then this build has immense value, but I can't gather any of that information from this thread.

    Really, it sounds like his main complaint about Freya was it was not expensive enough, has a noisy volume control, and microphonic tubes upset him, so he gave up on it. But as @sphinxvc pointed out with good tubes, the Freya can sound very good indeed.

    I think other than the advertisement aspect of this thread for Don Sachs, there is not really much useful information here. I see this as a disturbing pattern with the OP. He buys new gear, writes about it all over the interwebs defending his purchase before he has a chance to digest it and then sells it off?! I would rather he take the time to figure out how to build his system and then comment on how he got to where he was happy in the context of a meaningful review. I even prompted him with a post hoping he would compare the two.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 28, 2017
  14. winders

    winders Know-it-all boomer, prob racist

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    What a load of self-righteous horse shit......
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2017
  15. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    @Gaspasser Thanks for the comments. However if you're going to quote me, please quote the whole thing because when you say, "I think that many here were pointing out the value proposition is lost once you have someone build a pimped-out version," is paraphrasing what I said in the exact same post you quoted...

    The parts and quality components, design, build quality and builder experience all point to this being an end game preamp.

    I'm very happy to hear more than just the Schiit preamps being suggested here. EAR is another, but very expensive.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 28, 2017
  16. gaspasser

    gaspasser Flatulence Maestro

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    Me too, which is why this whole thread is disappointing. I am always interested to hear about gear, especially DIY that offers great performance especially for a good price. The Freya and Saga are the only preamps I ever owned.

    Also, I edited my post above to reflect your valid point, sorry if I came off as an arse towards you.
     
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  17. brencho

    brencho Friend

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    You know what would make this thread stop sucking is some discussion about how it sounds, how aspects of the design or tube choice influence or change the sound, some comparisons to other preamps, getting some other folks to hear it (sounds like @bazelio is gonna take the EAR which is sweet cause it's what I have too!), etc. It turns out that there are lots of preamps in the world at a variety of prices and some probably sound better than others or fit certain systems more so than others. Will be cool if this place provides a platform for people to learn about and compare gear that extends beyond headphones, so I'm looking forward to more info and comparisons of this pre.
     
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  18. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    LOL @Gaspasser . This wasn't even a Schiit thread until the OP was nagged about it. Sure, Schiit is a great value, just so long as you like how it sounds. But there's also great gear which you haven't read about here at all, and price to performance may not scale at a fixed rate. We know this. Audiophila Law #1. So if I were a Schiit shill, I'd love to see $3000 6SN7 preamps posted. They are actually not in the same league as Schiit, as opposed to the other way around.

    PS I'm with @brencho ... it'd be great if this forum offered discussion of broader horizons, and with differing personal value equations noted, not gasp in shock and awe when folks look beyond Schiit and the other selected favorites. It's not an indictment.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 28, 2017
  19. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    It'll be nice to have preamps to A/B, so let's update it then? Maybe we can arrange a Freya and/or Saga to borrow to add to the mix?
     
  20. bengo

    bengo Friend

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    Roy Mottram version of SP14 is $1350 + $40 shipping, ugly as sin maybe, but certainly better value. He does some other models which are cheaper again, although not 6SN7 based.

    Main point of interest for me is how much transparency is lost vs Saga, and what do you get in return...
     

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