Finally made the transition to a tube preamp!

I was always curious about the much hyped sound that one can get from quality tube amplification. People talk about 'tubey magic', 'the golden glow', etc. I was always curious, but was reluctant to go in that direction because the received wisdom is that unless you spend big bucks (like, money you could buy used car with), tube amplification will only disappoint. The rationale is that with less than top notch tube equipment, all you get is a muddled sound with weak, flabby bass and rolled off highs.

My opinion started changing once I obtained Carver M-4.0t power amp. I bought it because I wanted a lot of power to drive my Magnepan MG-1 planar speakers. Once I hooked Carver M-4.0t to my Maggies, the sound was transformed. Not only did Maggies start singing, the very character of the sound drastically changed. Carver made that amp with the intention to emulate his flagship tube power amp, and by the way that amp sounds, I'd say he came pretty darn close. Yes, I started hearing that 'magical 'tubey' sound. Very exciting!

However, that's not what really changed my way of enjoying music. Intrigued by this encouraging discovery (courtesy of the Carver amp), I started looking for an all tubes preamp. Of course, quickly realized that without paying at least three of four grand, I won't be able to afford quality tube preamp.

Then, by accident, found an ad on the craigslist selling Dynaco PAS-4. Tempted, I offered $475.00 and next thing you know, I got the preamp. 

OK, so now, with Dynaco PAS-4 hooked into Carver M-4.0t, the sound is completely, radically different than anything I was able to hear before. This preamp is incredible. It seems to have it all: soft, sweet, mellow, liquid, golden glow sound coupled with muscular bass. It delivers almost frightening slam, and the soundstage is way larger than before.

Isn't it amazing that for less than $500.00 one can get such amazing sound? The only problem is, as I understand, Dynaco PAS-4 is quite a rare find. Allegedly, it was produced in the early 1990s in very limited quantities.

Bottom line, if you spot this preamp for sale, don't hesitate to snatch it. In my experience, it is quite amazing!


Congratulations. it only gets better from where you are. Enjoy.

A tubed preamp was my first step into the tubed arena about thirty years ago. Since then one component after another has become tubed. Each accompanied by an increase in musicality and overall sound quality (they were always upgrades as well as switch to tubes). It has resulted in my current very satisfying system.

I’m all tube and don’t think I could ever go back. Good tube equipment is very reliable, most tubes are too in my experience over the last 30 years with tube gear. I have had something with a tube in it since 93 when I bought a CAL Alpha DAC and very few tubes actually red plate or arc. Had a few loose vacuum, but overall reliable and no damage to components, except for my Anthem Amp 1. A great amp but blew a cathode resistor if a tube failed. Sonic Frontiers sent me a few and it wasn’t a big repair. Worth it given how good it sounded... and just having bought a house and having a kid then I had to keep that thing running....

Sounds like a great find. Enjoy! I'm in the tube preamp, solid state amp club, too. It's a nice little glimpse into the tube world without the hassle and expense of maintaining power tubes.

A friend of mine once wrote an article called 'Color Me Perfect', the jist of which is no audio product is perfect and you pick the one that fits your system and your tastes best. Neither tube or solid state circuitry is perfect and they each have their own pluses and minuses which overlap but are not exactly the same. You are fortunate to have gained more insight into your perfect colorations and the result is a system that pleases you more.

Now if you can challenge oneself to keep it as-is, and leave it, you’ll be doing well.  For others, curiosity sets in about different tubes, then different preamps using different tubes, then curiosity sets in about exploring various tube amps, and tube DACs, so on and so forth. Like others here - I enjoy an all-tube system, yet where you are now is a nice place to be if you can stay there and enjoy it for what it is. Enjoy!