Review: Tube Research TRL Dude Tube preamp

Category: Preamps

Ok guys I'm not a writer and have never been compelled to write a review on any equipment ever in the past. So what can I tell you about this "Dude " preamp that hasn't already been said.

To start with I'm a low to moderate level music listener and strive for a system that brings out the true emotion and detail of the music. This is not to be confused with lush or warm but natural clear,and dynamic, as it is in the real world. My music preferences lean toward Jazz/blues some classical but I enjoy many many different types to include Big Band, Rock, Reggie, New age, Older 50's, even a little bluegrasss/country have been heard sneeking through those dimly lit tubes..

To discribe the Dude one can't ignore the physical aspect here built, built, built. INDUSTRIAL was the first word that came to my mind when I opend the CRATE. All 90+ lbs with a 1 inch thick faceplate that has the name DUDE deeply etched into it. The large Brass/gold knobs have a feel that let you know that you are dealing with a serious piece of equipment here. These units can be custom ordered to match your system from the # of inputs/outputs all the way down the type an number of capacitors. Mine was custom ordered with the extra power supply caps and the extra 6SN7s per channel since I run long cable and biamp. Popping hood on this baby revealed what looked to me like it's own mini substation for a power supply. The extra custom goodies come with a nominal fee. The company is small so order can sometimes take a while depending on there work load.

If you look below you will see my list of similar Items which I owned all of them over the past 5-10 years searching for the right preamp for me. The most recent one before I switched to the Dude was the Shindo Vosne-Romanee and the Jadis JP-200. Nothing against these units as they all have a great reputation and following and i'm sure in the right setup they sing.

I first hooked up the Dude to my system and started playing some classical music at low level which I use for breakin because of its wide frequency range and dynamics. After just a few hours I began to notice that this preamp was really doing something different in my system than any of the other preamp prior. DYNAMICS on a whole new level. I was hearing little background instrument clearly with a dynamic surge and decay that I never new exsisted in this recording. I'm starting to realize how important this trait is in bringing out the emotion in the music. I let this preamp cook for a few days then did a little more listening. This time Big band music sitting in the sweet spot. Woe Dude! Talk about Imaging, rythum, and pace best I've ever had in my system. Not to mention tonal accuracy my daughter a flutist has commented on that aspect, Even my wife said "that sounds pretty good" and that never happens. This little Dude will keep you foot tapping. I contined to let the Dude cook for another couple weeks.

The Dude is still breaking in I'm told but I know this is, for me, the buy of the decade. I'm enjoying the music on a whole different level now. No longer am I just fixed in the sweet spot late at night but also have the system on throughout the day while doing other things, being captivated from time to time by its tonality, musicality and openness. If you are in the market for a preamp you owe to yourself to try the Dude and maybe, like me you will finally be satisfied and captivated with your sound.

I realize this review doesn't tell as much about the preamp but more about how it makes me feel. What can I say, I listen for hours and can't always explain why its so captivating. For thoses of you who know; you know.

Downside- Staying up late loosing sleep so I can just listen to one more track before turning in.

Associated gear
Merrill Hierloom turntable
ET-2 Tonearm
Klyne LX-5.0 phono
TRL modified Marantz SA-14 SACD/Player
Wavelength cosecant DAC
Transparent Ref 25' run
Audio Matiere stereo Tube amp
Auditorium 23 speaker cable
Isoclean Powerline condition
Martin Logan CLS IIz
Quad ESL 63 USA monitors
Wilson Watt cubs
Nestorovic Subs with eagle amp

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Shindo Vosne-Romanee
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128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xcarey1110
Fuuny thing, I found a web site(while googling) where the author talks about these very same linestages.
WAJ on, small world sometimes.
Charles1dad - just swing by and I'll let you borrow my Dude for a comparison. I'm in Canton.
Thanks, I`ll send you an e mail later today to see what day/time works for both of us.