Review: Forte 40 Preamplifier

Category: Preamps

Forte Model 40 Line Stage Pre Amp

Forte was the sister line to Threshold. With that being said much of the Threshold technology found it's way into the Forte product line. This is a total Nelson Pass design and with the build quality that has become the bench mark of Nelson Pass.

This is basically a line stage preamp,although it has the capability of having a phono section installed,if you can find the phono card for the Model 40. This was an option for the Model 40.

The front panel controls are Listening Selector,Recording Selector,Channel Balance and Listening Level. One very nice feature is the Recording Selector. You can tape from one source while listening to another,nice touch there. The back panel has all gold plated RCA connectors. The power supply is separate from the main chassis and has a long enough cord to isolate the power supply several feet from the preamp itself.

Now to the sonics of this preamp. True Nelson Pass all the way. Great clarity,dept and detail and at times the transparency is astonshing. Have use this preamp for several years now and each time I think I found something better,I keep returning to the Forte Model 40. Someday I will find a phono card for this. To my dismay I have spent way to much money trying to find a preamp that is better. Yes there are better out there. But you will have to spend a ton money to outdo the Model 40. For me it becomes a point of diminishing return on money spent. Clearly the new Pass Labs preamps surpass the venerable Model 40,but at price point that is several thousand dollars. Also the Klyne Pre Amps are better as well but once again,the price difference is tremendous.

At the price point these go for in the secondary market,the Model 40 is an absolute steal,plus it is very easy to live with.

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I have owned the Forte 40 for 10 years (includes phono
stage). I am looking to upgrade - but have only found
better at four times the price I paid.
Many thanks to A'gon members. Late in posting this,but now have a phono card for this pre amp. It is truly stellar phono pre amp, one of the best I have heard in a long time.
Actually, if I understood Jon Soderberg [formerly of Threshold/Forte] correctly, Nelson Pass did not design this preamp, though it certainly smokes much of the competition. He is now doing some awesome mods to these, and the F-44, it takes them to an entirely new level of performance.

Certainley Jon would know more about that than me as he was there at the time. However there still seems to be an air of disagreement. Was this a design left behind when Pass departed or did Mikael Bladelius create this gem from scratch? Hmmmmmmm No doubt makes for interesting conjecture. Still one very fine pre amp. Won't part with mine. Unless of course I can pick up a late version Klyne on the cheap. Thanks Lou for the post.
Old thread I realize, but has anyone compared the Model 40 to any Bryston preamp?  I understand all the vintage Brystons (0.5B, 1B, 11B, 12B) use a similar design, so any comparisons between the Model 40 and any older Bryston would be enlightening.