Shindo lab pre amps

Has anyone heard or compared the Shindo Voshne Romanee or Masseto to better pre amps like the Art2 or 3, Lamm L2, Ref3,Vtl 7.5 or any of the better pre amps that may come to mind. I heard the Voshne at CSA audio and was very impressed but had nothing with which to compare it, but it was very musical sounding and the one of the salesmen even said tha he sold his Lamm and bought the Masseto after comparing them.
I have heard the Shindo and the Lamm L2 at CSA and also preferred the Shindo. Both are excellent, but the Shindo has a little more of the tube virtues (space, natural bloom, etc.) that I value highly than the Lamm did. That would make some sense, as the Lamm really is a solid state unit in the signal path, though it doesn't sound it in comparison to most gear. And FWIW, I preferred the Lamm to the Conrad Johnson and VTL preamps that they used to have at CSA in the past, just seemed a little more natural sounding. Just keep in mind that in my experience the Shindo sounds best with shorter interconnect runs to its partnering amplifier(s)--when I tried it in my system while my Jadis was in for repairs, my 40 foot interconnect runs made it lose a lot of its magic, nice sounding but not great like I have heard it sound at CSA.
For what its worth, a dealer once related that they had a shootout and the lowly Aurieges blew away several highly regarded and more expensive pre's such as the Ref 3 and a Spectral. In his words, the Ref 3 sounded "broken" compared to the Aurieges. I can only imagine that the the higher end Shindos sound even better.
I've owned and heard many high-end preamps over the years. Most were very good but not until I owned and worked my way up the Shindo line of preamps did I realize how important an absolute top-notch preamp is to the overall sound of your system. Check-out my system. You will see the most expensive piece of gear I own is the Shindo Vosne-Romanee preamp.
I currently have the Vosne Romanee. I previously had the Hovland HP100, traded that for the Lamm LL2 and then that for the Lamm L2 which is a very good detailed preamp. After a few years with the L2 I changed to the Wyetech Opal which I found as detailed but with more bloom. I finally traded the Wyetech for the Massetto which I found to be every bit as good as the Wyetech but had better texture and nuance. I recently traded in my Massetto for the Vosne Romanee not expecting the difference to be that great. I was mistaken as there was a hugh improvement from the Massetto which took the virtues of the Massetto and provided much more of everything. The VR sounds very much like music. I can only imagine what the Giscours or Petrus must sound like. I found for best results to set on a wooden base and use the Shindo cabling. The tonality is right on with a you are there quality that is hard to describe. Sbayne is right. A top notch preamp can transform a system and IMHO none that I have heard does this better than the VR.
Excellent,informative postings.I feel like calling my local Shindo dealer right now.
I hope these posts answer all those who have asked "Do I really need a pre amp"
Bnrlaw, the rest of my system consists of a Redpoint/Galibier Turntable, Schroeder Reference and ZYX Univers cartridge. CD player is a Cary 306-200. The VR is going into a pair of Lamm ML2 18 watt monoblocks. I am using Reimer Teton speakers.
I'm surprised to see that you don't use a Shindo amp.
Have you compared one in your system vs. the Lamm's?
No I have not had a chance to compare a Shindo amp with the Lamm's. That is something I would like to do. I just have not had the opportunity.
The look of Shindo is very appealing imo, I'm sure it sounds fantastic with what's been said. Maybe something in my future.
Has anybody had the opportunity to compare the top end Shindo to Wavac or Kondo line--KSL M77/M1000? Are any of these top valve units remote controllable, and have balanced input/outputs? What are their retail prices? Thanks..
I have not heard the Kondo or Wavac. The Vosne Romanee has RCA inputs and balanced output.
Bvdiman: I think top units and remote controllable is an oxymoron. Can't have one with the other :)

Scar972 I'm with you, I think Shindo gear is gorgeous, but most of my friends beg to differ, I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Most people don't "get" the retro look I suppose.
Bvdiman: I think top units and remote controllable is an oxymoron. Can't have one with the other :)

< You can for SS gears, well I guess you are quite right as to valve units. Have owned ARC REF3 and VTL REF7.5 and can see what you mean. But still, no harm searching one? =))
Agreed, most people are just not into the retro look, I've always like the McIntosh look, but many don't care for it.
My new preamp is kinda retro, but not a Shindo, maybe a poors man Shindo.
Have a listen to the TRON Syren tube preamp from the UK. This is a top drawer tube preamp (no remote though) with great sound quality and fantastic build quality. With the current USD:GBP exchange rate, it becomes even better value. Jeff at Highwater Sound in NYC is the US distributor. Here's a review from 6moons.

I use a Shindo Monbrison with a Shindo Montrachet amplifier hooked up to Avalon Indras and a Clearaudio turntable. My dealer (Coup de Foudre Audio) also said that other preamps including Spectrals sounded broken compared to Shindo.
Not having spent an enormous amount of time with the competition, all I can say is that you can listen all day to music. I can go through, literally, 20-30 records in a day (when/if I have time) and have literally zero listening fatigue, while being engaged in the music.
The Vosne-Romanee is the best preamp I have ever heard and not by a small margin. I even prefer it to the Giscours which is considerably more expensive. If you partner it with a Shindo amp (my preference is the Montrachet), and if you have 95-100+ dB efficient speakers which present a simple and relatively non-reactive load, you may well reach Nirvana.
Hi John,

that is interesting...i have spent several concerted hours in my home with the massetto, so have some familiarity with Shindo sound in my system.

Why do you prefer the vosne-romanee to the more expensive Giscours? my speakers are big but are relatively efficient 95db with roughly avg 5ohm load. thanks for your advice!
Reading this thread makes me regret selling my Auregies-L recently. It was a wonderful preamplifier, but I was having room issues which were taking the fun out of listening.

I can only imagine how the more expensive Shindo pres sound...
Agree that the Vosne-Romanee is a special piece of equipment. IMO, Art Dudley's review late last year nailed it. I moved from the Masetto to the VR and the level of detail increased tremendously while the tonal quality became slightly darker, more autumnal in quality. If my place was burning down and I could only salvage one piece of gear, it would be the VR.