Review: New York Audio Labs Minuet in Tube preamp

Category: Preamps

I have a Minuet in A which has been completely modified by Stephen Sank. In it's original state it was an interesting preamp, not a CAT, or even an AI Modulus 3, but interesting.

Adding Hexfreds locks you into Bugle Boys, and gives you small glimmers of the potential magic which can be heard after a Sank mod. Once Stephen mods it, it will eat a CAT or an AIM3 for lunch. It sounds very much like a Spectral on steroids.

I have never heard anything better. While Stephen's work may seem expensive to some, it is not when you understand all the high quality parts that go into these mods and the level of skill necessary to accomplish such dramatic mods, not to mention the labor involved! In fact, I believe it to be the greatest deal going in audio today.

I listen to nearly anything that is not depressing and remains music, sorry Rappers, C/W and Blues fans.

I like to use too many CD's to mention for testing. If I had to use only one, it would be Linda Ronstand with Nelson Riddle, the collection of their 3 works on 2 CDs. There is enough content in these to tell you just about anything you need to know about a system/component.

As I own electrostatic dipoles, bass, while great to have, is not necessary for me in abundance, though the 3300's are full range, and with Sank moded NYAL gear, they have reasonable bass. Mids to me are critical, and highs should never be bright or forward.

I had a loaner prior to having my Minuet in "A" modified fpor a time, and now my own. Prior to receiving my moded preamp I had one in my system which I had moded with Hexfreds, Dale RN resistors, and Theta caps to replace the factory poly caps. After replacing this with the Sank moded preamp, my sound went from pretty good to as near as you can get to wetting your pants good, while not actually wetting them!

The ONLY drawback is turn-a-round time. Stephen is generally swamped, be prepaired for a good long wait.

If I had a million dollars to dump into my system, I would buy some great speakers, a fantastic CDP, DAC, cables etc, but I would burn it (the money) before replacing this preamp, it is THAT good!

Associated gear
Acoustat 3300's
Moscode 600
Bidat, Art D I/O, various transports

Similar products
I am forced, due to experiance and feedback from others, to most strongly urge that if you want Mr. Sank to mod your preamp, amp, or other gear, that you buy and send him the parts, and pay him when the gear is returned by going C.O.D. He has promised items as many as 6 months before he actually delivered/sent it, this is the worst case I know of, there may be worse ones. I still recommend him, only because he does the best mods to this gear.
You would NOT recommend him? Is there someone else qualified and experienced in these mods?
I'd recommend Stan Warren of Supermods. He is prompt, knows his stuff, he is the S in PS Audio, not sure why he left, I think it may have been family related. Then he started Superphon, grew tired of manufacturing, sold to Audio Advisor, who did not know how to run the company apparently. Then he started Supermods.

Stan Warren
2375 W. 21ST Ave.
Eugene, OR 97405
(541) 344-3696

Tell him you want a Hexfred bridge, all 1N400(1,2,4,etc.) diodes replaced with UF1N4007's available from Mouser, made by Fairchild. If he has problems getting them I'll be happy to give him some. Then the poly caps should be replaced with AudioCap Theta's or MultiCap RTX's, the RTX's are a little better perhaps, but a lot more money. More can be done for sure, replacing the RCA jacks and mounting them on a plate would be a really good idea, but I do not know if he would do that or not, you would have to ask.

Then you need to buy Bugle Boy tubes for a MAJOR audio thrill! This presupposes that the rest of your system has the resolution to hear all the improvements. I have NO doubt that you will hear improvements, but how much will vary with your other associated gear.

I bought one of these some years ago, with a hiss in the output. Sounds like the noise emmitted by a spectrum analyzer. I am able to turn up the volume and the noise remains at a constant level.
At this point, it also needs replacement of the 2 large knobs, the pots behind them, and some other parts.
I am looking for the schematics for it. Any help with this, will be greatly appreciated.
What is the cost of the modifications spoken about here,
(Diodes, Caps, etc), and who does them currently?
George Kay in NYC was the original designer and he will repair and/or mod your NYAL. Go to the guy who made the thing in the first place.