Sept 16, 2019 update: The LDR3000T was released on schedule and began shipping the week of Sept 16. More information on the LDR3000T can be found here. A few product pics follows.
The Road To An LDR Tube Preamp
The road to an LDR tube preamp started in 2012. Since then, Tortuga Audio has been first and foremost a technology development company focused on LDR (light dependent resistor) attenuation – or what regular folk would call audio volume control. As I write this, we are on our 4th generation LDR preamp controller (the V25) and are planning to release an updated version (the V3) hopefully before the end of 2019.
Along the way, we designed, produced and marketed a series of passive preamp models designed around our LDR preamp controllers. We also marketed our LDR preamp controllers to DIY audio enthusiasts as well as other OEMs.
We also began to develop a companion buffer product. By buffer we mean an active current amplifier and output buffer stage that when combined with our LDR preamps would become our version of an active LDR preamp rather than only a passive LDR preamp.
In January of 2017 we released our first buffer product, the TPB.V1 Tube Preamp Buffer. The TPB was noteworthy for 3 things. First, it actually had a tube input/gain stage albeit set to unity gain (0 dB) by default. Second, it combined the tube input stage with a solid state MOSFET output (buffer) stage. Last but not least, it sounded awesomely good. I mean REALLY good!
Over the ensuing 2 and half years we’ve been tweaking the TPB in various ways and have all but totally redesigned the original V1 model while keeping the essential concept intact. The result is an even better sounding buffer.
This brings us up to today. When released, the LDR3000T.V25 will integrate our proven high performance V25 preamp controller with the new V2 version of our tube buffer. These will be integrated into a single enclosure and will be our first ever fully integrated active tube preamp.
When released, I believe the LDR3000T will be the first LDR based tube preamp ever made. At least on this planet!
How Good Will It Sound?
We believe the LDR3000T is going to be a world class preamp that will sound absolutely fantastic! I’ve heard it at least in its various prototypical versions. I’m impressed.
A close analog to the sound of the LDR3000T is our LDR3.V25 Passive Preamp in combination with our current TPB.V1 Tube Preamp Buffer (shown in the pic below). These were recently reviewed by WallOfSound in Canada. You can read the full review here.