October 27, 2012
I can’t believe it’s been another two and half months since my last post to this thread. Time seems to speed up as you get older. Apologies to Einstein but that’s MY theory of relativity.
I just want to write that my LDR1 continues to perform flawlessly and sound great (and I still haven’t used the Encoder knob). I did a listening test the other day and the LDR1 allowed me to clearly hear the differences between a well recorded CD and an SACD of the same title. In other words, the LDR1 didn’t mask the difference.
I also wanted to mention with additional listening, I detected a slight channel imbalance in my system. This is not a function of the LDR1, my system always seems to favor the right channel ever so slightly. It’s most likely related to my listening room. With a little fine tuning using the LDR1 channel balance function, the channels are now perfectly balanced – something I’m particularly sensitive too. Keep that in mind if you are considering the purchase of any volume control device that lacks some kind of balance control.
In-in-all, if my LDR1 had a volume level display, it would be virtually perfect. The good news is that future generations will have that display. Speaking of which, with its bamboo side panels and good sized display isn’t the new LDR3B shaping up nicely?
Your first impressions appear to be very consistent with an independent review by HiFiPig.com. Here are a few quotes below from that review. The full review can be found here.
There is just a sense of absolutely everything having been stripped free of fuzz and imprecision. Instrumental placement isn’t approximate or inferred. Instead, instruments are precisely located at a fixed and exact distance from the others with the space between performers and the characteristics of the recording environment jaw-droppingly obvious.
… the LDR6 produces a sound completely free of colouration, with a soundstage that was just consistently deeper and better resolved than with any other passive pre-amp I have ever used.
…suitably matched, sonically, the LDR6 is an absolute gem. Jaw-droppingly transparent, with faultless microprocessor control, this pre-amp provides a level of transparency usually the domain of hair shirt enthusiasts, with the convenience of remote control.
It’s possibly the most transparent pre-amp I’ve yet used.
October 27, 2012
It’s been more than three weeks since my last post and I can confirm everything I wrote previously with one exception (see below). My system is sounding ultra-smooth, rich and liquid with an exceptionally wide soundstage. Much of the credit for that goes to my high quality single-ended triode amps and vintage ALNICO magnet speakers. However, if the LDR1 was inhibiting those performance attributes in any way I would hear it and it doesn’t.
I still haven’t used the Encoder knob. With the excellent remote control, I’m just not motivated to do so. The one exception to what I wrote previously is the volume level when turning the unit on. It appears that it will start up at step 15 if the previous volume level was 15 or higher at turn off. If the level was less than 15 at turn off, it will start at that previous level but with a minimum start up level of 5. Once again, this is all good by me – it will never start up at too high a level and it will always start up with at least a little volume (step 5).
I don’t recommend anyone doing this but when I performed the volume tests above, I did so with my amplifiers still ON. I assume all or most audiophiles know that you turn your amp(s) off before turning your preamp off and vice-versa on start-up – to avoid on/off transient noises. This first time I turned the LDR1 off with the amps still on was by accident. Nothing bad happened so I continued to do so including turning the LDR1 on with the amps already on. All of this is another example of noise-free and glitch-free operation of the LDR1.
October 27, 2012
I forgot to mention that the LDR1 operated flawlessly. However, there was one operational item that differed from what is written in the owner's manual. On Page 7, under the section titled Controlling Volume – "When the unit is turned on, the volume level will ramp up to the same level it was at when it was last turned off… "
Whenever I turn the unit on, the volume starts at Step 15 (I counted). I tested this numerous times and no matter what level it's at when I turn it off, it always restarts at 15. I actually prefer this then returning to the previous level. I would rather err on the side of caution when it comes to volume. BTW, for reference, my general listening level has been between 24 and 28.
October 27, 2012
I’ve had my LDR1 for a week so it’s time to write my initial impressions. Let me state up front that the LDR1 is the most pure, neutral, transparent, noise-free and grain-free component I have ever heard. Because of this, it sounds even better than my prior LDR-based preamp – the DIY Paradise Eva 2. Images are sharper and there’s nothing but empty space between them. The Eva is excellent in all of the above attributes so this is high praise.
Here are some other things I like about the LDR1:
1. The feature I like the most is the finer volume steps – approx. 1dB per step. This allows me to raise the volume without making it too loud (not so with Eva's 3dB steps).
2. I haven’t had to use it because the channels are perfectly balanced but it’s nice to know that balance control is available.
3. The full size remote is nicer and easier to use than the Eva’s micro remote.
4. After having my subwoofer connected via speaker level inputs for many years, it's a nice change using the 2nd set of output jacks to connect the sub via line level. I don’t know if it sounds any better but surprisingly I had to turn the subwoofer level control way down with the line level connection.
Here are some things I don’t like about the LDR1:
1. The blue “Death Star” indicator LED is bright! I’m only half serious but I wish it weren’t quite as bright. OTOH, since it’s the only indication of various operation modes it's important to be able to see the indicator LED.
2. I still miss having some kind of volume level indicator. This was previously mentioned and Morten said that it may be a future upgrade. You get used to not having one but it’s still a nice-to-have.
3. The LDR1 is WAY bigger than the Eva and a lot more conspicuous (this may be a positive attribute for some people). It’s attractive and well-made but unfortunately in my situation it doesn’t match my other equipment (see the photos below). An optional silver face-plate would be nice. I may have a maple wood case made for mine to match my other equipment. Hey Morten, do you know a good wood worker?
4. I don’t see the need for the Encoder knob. It’s much easier to use the remote for all functions. Matter of fact, I haven’t even used the Encoder knob, not once (I suppose I should to verify that it’s working correctly). I would rather the LDR1 come with a back-up remote and eliminate the Encoder knob – perhaps at reduced cost.
Nitpicks aside, and that’s mostly what they are, the LDR1 is a terrific passive preamp. As far as I can hear, the input signal passes through virtually unchanged, except the volume level of course.
Here are some photos of my system:
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