High Performance LDR Preamps & Buffers
Photoresistor volume control
Better Technology | Better Sound
“The Tortuga Audio preamp equaled or surpassed all basic performance parameters against any contenders I had in house, passive, active, tube, FET and at any price level with regards to faithfulness.”
“Music through the LDR6 is an ephemeral experience. It dances with fire for a brief shining moment and disappears, leaving you wanting more.”
“The performance of the little Tortuga reopens the passive vs. active debate.”
“The LDRx seemed to be a perfect fit despite its affordable pricing, helping the system have a clear and transparent presentation, wide stage, and big dynamic contrasts, kudos for bringing such great performance at a low cost.”
“The sound here had my friend contemplating a purchase, beautiful workmanship and elegant, yet exciting sound, great room.”
“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.”
Customer comments and informal reviews of our products
"If you must have the absolute best, look no further."
“I have just installed the Tortuga LDR board and can say that it is the be all end all of volume controls. It is dead silent and any level changes are seamless and silky smooth. I believe the vision of the Melos circuit of the mid 90s has finally been fullfilled. If you must have the absolute best, look no further.”
LDR3x user..."floored by the sound quality."
“Today I received the LDR3x board and I am FLOORED by the sound quality. I’ve been using a TVC [transformer volume control] for several years and was very happy, but the LDR simply blows it away. I am hearing detail I never knew existed in recordings I have listened to hundreds of time before. Bass is better, treble is clearer, etc….the sound is killer. I am retired and have been pursuing this hobby seriously for 40 years. The last 20 years of my career was as a music wholesale salesperson – I worked for Telarc for 7 years and then for an indie distributor where I sold several audiophile labels, so I have some serious experience listening. This volume control is fabulous.”
“I have an LDR-1 and it is fabulous. Best preamp I ever owned at any price. When I bought it I thought I would get super transparent sound at the cost of thinning things out. Usually, that is the price for transparency. I took the risk anyway. I was dead wrong. The transparency is indeed the best I ever heard – but it is so full sounding – I can’t believe my ears. Now, warm and full are not the same. It is not warm. It is truthful to the recording. Regardless, it is that fullness and weight and supreme smoothness without sounding bloated and without giving up one iota of detail which makes this a world class product. I doubt things could get more than 5% better at any price- even $100,000. The LDR1 is the most perfect preamp I could ever imagine.”
“So what did the LDR3.V2 do for the sound? To my surprise, a sense of even more transparency. There are details in the midrange and treble that are just more obvious now. The treble seems more extended, but there was absolutely no change in tone. I don’t know why this is possible. I can’t perceive a lower noise floor. Vocals are even more realistic, and everything has increased texture and is more palpable. But the best thing of all is the increased speed of transients. Everything has an immediacy to it. This even translates to the bass. Kick drums have speed and an authority that is impressive. There is a tremendous amount of quick energy there that just wows me on many tracks. The music has real life and intensity. It blows me away. Easily the best I’ve heard. And I don’t perceive any loss of dynamics and any volume. ”
"There have been many many goosebump moments.." (LDR3.V25)
“….let me be clear. I love it! First listen after completing assembly was to LPs, with the turntable feeding into the Meitner’s phono section and from the Tape Out (fixed level) jacks into the Tortuga. Sound quality is noticeably better than through the Meitner’s own line stage, top to bottom, with a veil removed and better controlled bass very apparent. There have been many, many goosebump moments, with familiar albums often taking on a new beauty thanks to the Tortuga’s superb performance. Make no mistake, this is a relatively inexpensive preamp with exceptional accuracy that does not in any way add to or subtract from the original recording, IMHO. “
"my reference tool to judge other preamps"
“From now on, the LDR3.V2 will be my reference tool used to judge other preamps and components in the audio chain. For instance, my trusty Dodd Audio VGP variable gain preamp proves to be close to the LDR in transparency and tonality. Both preamps are pleasant to listen to, with similar full body midrange, sweet highs, and sufficient lows. The LDR is superior, however, in rendering all those ranges in an even lower noise floor canvas, resulting in more organic sound overall, higher volume listening desire, and longer listening session before listening fatigue sets in. The words “chameleon”, “rediscovering familiar music”, “walls of enveloping sounds”, “vocal solidity”, “dynamic”, and “true to the source” come to mind.”
“What an experience! Truly the best sound I’ve ever heard in my system. A layer of “mush” has disappeared and angry high S’es are now pleasant. More details and less harshness, especially in mid-upper-high range compared to the EC4.6. It is absolutely marvellous at low levels, the pot-meters in other preamps I’ve had were all out of balance in the channels at extreme low volumes, now it’s all in perfect balance from 1 through 99 with a beautiful room experience, width and depth in the music.”
A few recent articles
In May 2018 we released a newer and better display for our line of LDR preamps. Driven by our latest V25 Preamp Controller, the new graphic OLED display (Organic Light Emitting Diode) provides an intuitive and easy to use control interface that replaces our earlier dual 2-digit 7-segment displays.
…. Read More >>
Designed around the excellent current production 6H30 tube, we’ve concluded that the TPB.V1 Tube Buffer is also compatible with the entire family of 9-pin 6DJ8 / ECC88 / 6922 / 7308 tubes which opens up a big wide world of tube rolling possibilities. And while the 6H30 is a great sounding tube for the Tortuga buffer, I’m already convinced that some of these alternative tubes will yield sonic improvements.
We’ve taken a different path to making a better sounding preamp
Our preamps don’t use conventional volume control technology.
No potentiometers (“pots”)
No stepped attenuators (switched resistors)
Why not? Because they don’t deliver the best audio performance.
Our preamps use “light dependent (photo)resistors” or LDRs. Photoresistors are not new technology but they pose unique and difficult challenges to audio engineers. That is why preamps typically use conventional volume control hardware. We took on those challenges and solved them. Why? Because we wanted to design a better sounding preamp. So we did.
Your search for the perfect preamp for your system could be over
A Tortuga Audio preamp owners sent us these unsolicited comments….
“What an experience! Truly the best sound I’ve ever heard in my system. A layer of “mush” has disappeared…. More details and less harshness, especially in mid-upper-high range… It is absolutely marvellous at low levels….it’s all in perfect balance from 1 through 99 with a beautiful room experience, width and depth in the music.”
“I am a classical musician, aged 68. In the audio hobby maybe around 30 years. Have heard no end of preamps and passives. Certainly 100s, maybe more. Yours is the best sounding – the closest to the sound of music.”
LDR3.V25 Passive Preamp - Our Most Popular Model
- Unity gain passive preamp
- Superior audio quality | light dependent resistors
- Single ended | 3 inputs | 2 outputs | Cardas RCA jacks
- Menu driven graphic OLED display
- Fully IR remote controlled | Apple remote
- Firmware/feature updates via USB port
- 12 V trigger out