Supratek Owners Thread

Greetings All - 
It appears that the 26-million-plus view, multi-decade "Preamp Deal of the Century" Supratek thread has been removed. I'm not sure why, but suppose there must be a reasonable explanation.
In any case, on that thread I recently asked whether there might be interest in a "Supratek owners thread" and received some interest. 
The purpose of this thread is for Supratek owners to share the details of their system, ask questions, share information about any tube-rolling they have done, and so forth.
I'll kick us off here with a few details about my system -
ancient Linn LP12 with Ittok arm, Dynavector 17D3 cartridge into Cortese LCR phono stage
Power amp is a fully serviced Innersound Electrostatic amplifier
Quad ESL63 speakers (not USA monitors) or JBL 4430 studio monitors
Digital sources are immature and evolving - ancient Fostex CR300 cd player/burner
DacMagic 100 DAC
Nordost Blue Heaven 75ohm interconnect
Due to the fairly long lengths of speaker wire required in the new listening room, speaker wire is Belden 12 gauge wire designed for low-voltage outdoor lighting systems. 
Next steps - dedicated circuit, new power cords, new interconnects, new wires.
Yes, I am not a fan of the biblical cord between power supply and pre, seams unnecessary stiff and unwieldy, a softer cord would be preferable, will check both connections if, or probably when the hum comes back, as I suspect it will.
Now I hear only a slight hiss from the speakers, but I have not tried it with the 6SN7 output since the hum disappeared, unfortunately I am swamped with work all week and probably weekend too, so no testing until sometime next week.
There is a big difference in sound between a standard 300B and say a TJ Full Music meshplate.Almost like a different preamp.With the meshplate you get beautiful airy treble,much better timbre and a much more holographic soundstage.If you have heard the difference between say the really good Dynaudio speaker models and the next tier down it is that sort of difference.The difference between good and great.
On the Cab Dual Mick recommended to stay away from the mesh plate tubes, was it the current draw?
I have used meshplates in  my 300B single Cabernet for years with no problems.
Sure you can use these, I was just talking about Micks recommendations, specifically not using a tube using more than 1.5A of heater current
I have the Cabernet for a about two months. I posted earlier that my preamp get a hum when you come closer to the power supply but Mick said it is due to power supply being over engineered. Now the hum has seeped into the speakers and Mick says he received bad transformers and will send a new power supply when he can. He has not sent me the Psvane treasure tubes he promised me as he sent me some Russian tubes with the preamp. He is a one man show so I guess give him some time to correct all these issues but I am wondering for how long. At least he answers every email I sent him.
@gryphongryph  the umbilical is made with solid core wire and thus the stiffness. There is a stateside cable company that makes aftermarket umbilical's for the suprateks,... can't exactly remember the name. Audio Revelation maybe..   In this case the hum is going to be related to either the PS transformer  or the umbilical connection...  I'm pretty sure same for @couger4u     def try adjusting the position if the umbilical a little if the hum reappears,..  I'm of the opinion there is some intermittent / light connection issue in the interface.   I helped another owner with exact same issues and a new umbilical cleaned it right up.   @couger4u   read my earlier post to Gryph about how to temp. adjust/tighten the connectors..   very well may help your issue a bit.   @jtgofish and @luisma31   the TJ mesh should only be around 1.3amp.   Few 300b's  will be above 1.5a. (generally only the 'super' 300b's that are rated for much higher plate V/ dissipation)    The pre runs the 300b very lightly...
Long time Supratek user here. I owned a Cabernet Single since 2010. When I got it it was used and already had several issues. I told myself it was just common with tube equipment and I would fix it one day.

After 10 years owning and comparing it to a high voltage output DAC without preamp, I finally put myself to face the fact: The supratek just doesn't sound as good as without a preamp. And I also looked into the issues the unit has for so many years.

Frankly I was disappointed when I opened the unit. The two silver cans are empty and just for show. The unit actually uses PCB power transformers as output transformers.

I investigated the many issues with an oscilloscope. The right channel always had noise that felt like ground loop. Turns out it was a loose ground wire of the XLR connector to the center tap of the output transformer, probably due to poor soldering.

The right channel always felt louder to me, regardless how I swap the tubes between channel. Surely this was verified with a voltmeter and oscilloscope. It turns out the DHT filament wires were soldered in the other way round!

I also found the input tube clips when volume knob is pass 10 o'clock, which is just one third of the maximum volume! Still after so much tuning the phase of the two channels are still a little off.

The summary: if you plan to own a supertek, be prepared for a very involved experience. Either communicating with Mick or do it yourself as a project.. 

I find it interesting that you have one post here on Audiogon, and it's a negative one. Not trying to pick a fight. Just find it interesting.

Also, I note that you bought your Supratek used. How can you be sure that the issues you found were due to the way the equipment was built originally? Might the previous owner modified it or had it worked on by a someone who didn't know what they were doing? Isn't that possible? 

The purpose of *this* post is simply to reinforce my satisfaction with my Supratek Cortese, which I have now owned for about two years. It sounds superb and I doubt that I will ever replace it. I'm *not* saying there aren't better alternatives out there. I simply don't think I could afford them. 

Best regards,
Hi Markus,

As this thread is titled the owner thread and I thought my experience would be interesting to someone who owns a Supratek or planning to get one.

Don't get me wrong, I still like the preamp and it is good looking. And frankly my hearing could only tell a small difference between having the preamp versus not. That's why I kept it and continued to use for more than 10 years.

My intention was to present facts about my experience, which is the workmanship left a lot to be desired. And that caused actual issues in the sound. Namely loose wire and switched polarity of the electrolytic capacitor. It would be quite unthinkable that the original owner decided to solder the wires in opposite polarity. I am trained as an electronic engineer and tell the unit was not modded.

Anyway take it anyway you want, I still plan to work on the unit to further improve it. I'm looking forward to connect with fellow owners and trade ideas about tube rolling and modifications.

Last night I fixed the incorrect polarity and it corrected the volume imbalance issue on the Cabernet preamp. I plan to replace the electrolytic capacitor for the DHT filament and adds a film capacitor in parallel. Also planning to replace the TJ 101D with a set of Linlai.
Update on my Supratek Cabernet pre, it is packed down, ready to being shipped back to Mick for warranty repair. Hopefully I will have it back soon in full working order.
Will keep you updated.
@alpha_lam  gotta disagree with you on the  'if you plan to own a supertek, be prepared for a very involved experience',..   you bought a used unit and have issues, you are in the minority of owners out there.  If owning a Supra was 'involved' Mick wouldn't have a business. Especially a biz with tons of units out in the field an such a loyal following.   Yes, stock units will present issues from time to time and yes when I have repaired,  I have found a bad solder joint here and there,  it is not the norm though and honestly they have been much older units that have had some very obvious use and been banged around a good bit.  His soldering is excellent and rarely do I ever find bad joints though on occasion I will.   Regardless,  it happens anywhere in this business and more importantly Mick covers any issue on stock units for their LIFETIME.  That's pretty amazing considering the size of his operation.    I'm not aware of him using electrolytics in the cathode of the DHT, much less anywhere in the circuit save for on PS regualtors or B+ filtering in early models.  I have worked on these units with models going all the way back to 2005,..  always film caps and always one on each side of the DHT filament above the center tap.  It sounds as if this unit was modded and someone didn't know what they are doing based on your description.  When I repair a unit,  you would be hard pressed to tell that the circuit (solder joints)  are not original and had been repaired.   It is entirely possible the unit was modded (which it sounds like from your description).   Not to mention that when that unit left Mick's shop,  I can almost guarantee that it did not have the issues you experience.  That type of imbalance would have been easily caught while Mick QC'd the unit.    Anything is possible so I'll stop short of saying it isn't possible,  but I do want to correct you on your idea that Supra's in general require effort to own.  That is just not true as they are created and made correctly 99% of the time.  
Yes the alpha lam experience would seem to be far from typical.As soon as as read his post I thought to myself that sounds like a unit which had been messed with by some incompetent person.About ten years ago some people on the long Supratek thread were promoting swapping the standard caps for all sorts of more exotic and crazy alternatives.I suspect that is what happened to this unit except whoever replaced the stock caps also wired one in the wrong way round.Also the 101D Cabernets were my least favourite Suprateks and I have heard them all A bit too "characterful" for me although they might be great in the right system.Might be time to send that unit back to Supratek to be corrected and perhaps upgraded to the latest circuit/different DHT.
Also yes not all Suprateks have transformers in the chrome domes.It depends on the era/model.Both mine do. The domes were retained to  maintain a consistent aesthetic.
I own one of the 6SN7/DHT 300B/45 pre amps and it has to be one of the best sounding pre amps that i have owned without spending 25k and more.
I was referring to the b+ filtering cap for the DHT filament, which was soldered in reverse. This obviously would fail to work for its intended purpose of smoothing out ripple. I believe what my eyes see and you are just speculating that it was modded. These are the same electrolytic caps used for all filaments and the same as in the pictures of the supratek online. I bought this from a reputable dealer years ago.

Anyway it seems like negative comment is the minority here. 
No, it's the fact what you posted is not the norm.

And what about your summary? What are you implying? Your experience with a used piece that was purchased ten years ago is what future new owners should expect to experience? The fact that what you bought was used and is not what most have experienced should make you think.
@alpha_lam  The filament is run from a regulated DC circuit not B+,.  regardless,  there is a small electrolytic at the regulator output (5V assuming a 300b DHT) in PS box,..  if you are referring to a cap seen in the pre (not PS box) directly soldered to the socket pins this would not be an electrolytic cap and would not be for filament power filtering but would be a bypass cap.  As mentioned earlier there would be one on each filament pin.   Just trying to help you out here as what you are describing is not making a lot of sense from a circuit standpoint.  At least not how Mick builds his circuits..
Sorry I admit I'm not familiar with terminologies in tube circuitry. The problem I found was with the DC filament on the right channel. The DC wires from power supply are reversed. Here is a closer look https:/
On the left channel is correct. Here is closer look for comparison.
The electrolytic cap on the right channel swelled and fell off. I replaced them with Nichicon KG with the same ratings.

I am also disappointed to see power transformers used as output transformers. It is using the Talema 22VAC @ 0.8VA. It's hard to know the effect without some measurements. I might attempt to replace it as well.

I appreciate very much @jslateiv's constructive comment.
Ah, I see,.. I’m pretty sure (without seeing a schematic) that cap is feeding a regulator used to increase the cathode voltage of the DHT. It has nothing to do with the filament V if this is the case. The circuit is direct/DC coupled between the 2 stages (sn7/DHT) and the DHT cathode has to be raised beyond what is naturally generated through the cathode resistor/current alone. That cap is not in the audio path at all and should have no noticeable effect on the sound (provided it is installed correctly and working as intended). Obviously in your case, with it being blown, it was effecting the reg that was helping raise the cathode V so yes, it would have thrown the circuit out of spec.
In regards to the transformers, Mick has been using them a long time and found they sounded more ’real’ than most anything else he has tried and lived with. I had the same misgivings as you at first when I realized what they were, very much wanting to see some ’boutique’ brand like lundhal, etc... I have listened to both and others at this point in my Cortese lcr as I couldn’t resist ’knowing’ for myself and being a constant tinkerer the swaps were pretty easy for me. If it makes you feel any better I ended up with the Blue Talema’s back in there at the end of it all. I felt they really provided a more natural presentation of the music. Everyone hears different though. You very well may like a slightly different sound/presentation that swapping them will provide. I do think that if you make the change you will realize with a little time that the Talema’s are really spot on and excellent when used with Mick’s specific circuits. Best,
Thanks @jslateiv for your feedback. Indeed the electrolytic caps are not on the sound path as they are coming from the 5V DC regulator. These are the Panasonic 10000uf. My guess is they are used for smoothing the DC from regulator. Nonetheless I replaced them with similar equivalent.

Very interesting that you tried different set of transformers. What did you try and was it a drop in replacementm? I might try a set of Hashimoto with similar ratio.
DC after the reg is already smooth. (that's what the reg does, ;-)) those 10Kuf help knock the ripple down before the reg so it doesn't work as hard and produce as much heat.   Again,.  I suspect it is tied into the supplemental V circuit used to boost the cathode V,.   Anywho,  sounds like you got it sorted and working.

I try all kinds of different configs, including messing with and adjusting the feedback..  can't help myself.   Lundhal,  Jensen, some hammond are what I've tried,  some with air gaps, and some without (purpose built for parafeed).   4:1 and 8:1 ratios are what you need to look for. I  prefer the 8:1 as the circuit already has alot of gain.   Keep in mind that these are configured as parafeed (no DC current) so you don't have to worry about any dc current spec on the tranx.   Unfortunately don't have any of the really nice trans like hashimoto, tango, etc..  laying around to try.  Honestly though i doubt I would like them enough more to justify the cost but ya never really know till ya try,.  plus most of those are all big units with air gaps which are not needed..   Anywho,.  feel free to PM if you have any specific questions about the circuit,  I'll try to help the best I can.  Don't want to continue to junk up this thread with repair related posts..  Best,
Thanks @jslateiv. This indeed matches my guess. Let's talk separately with mod ideas. :)
Well Mick sent me a new power supply and it still hums. I tried without umbilical cord and a new tube and it still hums. I am so disappointed because I love the sound of the preamp but the hum is driving me crazy. I can hear it in the speakers and I hear it if real close to the power supply. Any suggestions what I should do?
Try disconnecting one component at a time from the pre amp. First the TT then turn everything on. If it still hums reconnect the TT and this time disconnect the DAC then turn everything back on. If it still hums your now down to the amp and pre as the suspects. You could have a ground loop hum. For about a $100 on amazon you can buy the iFi GND Defender, first try it on your amp then next the pre. If that does not get rid of the hum i'm not sure what the issue could be. Good luck.
If you have two different power supplies that hum exactly alike then your issue is either power or grounding related.  Try lifting one at a time the ground on the preamp and the amp. What amp are you using the Supratek with?
@couger4u ,   start with no inputs (no sources plugged  in) and only the output connected to your amp.   If you have a couple shorting plugs you can use on the  'selected' input use them. With the vol. dwn if the amp is quiet and there is no more hum from the speakers (there will always be a tiny bit due to the tubes) then your issues lies a source component and the connection between the pre and that/those components.  If you still have the same hum with the vol down and no inputs connected there is an internal issue somewhere in the circuit.   If it is quiet,  try raising the vol (with no inputs connected).  With a non-terminated (no shorting plug) input you will get some increasing noise with an increase in volume knob,  this is normal (with shorting plugs this would be gone).  You should not hear any loud or disturbing hum though.   Once you have confirmed that it is quiet as described above,  start adding components to the inputs,  1 at a time.  .  Your issue is most likely a grounding issue between the 2.     Any 'mechanical' hum you are hearing from the PS is a completely separate issue.   This can be caused (as mentioned earlier) by wall power or its grounding  or also by the grounding from other components that are connected to the same circuit (breaker).   The PS will always have a little hum.  Nothing you should hear from a seat 8-10 feet away though,  however if you get your ear next to the unit you will hear a little or faint buzzing or hum.  Alot of times this is the rectifier (buzz)  or transformer (hum). Some rectifiers are quieter than others but their perceived noise is also very dependant on the wall power in general as well.   Use the supplied regulators and use a good 5AR4 for the rectifier when testing and listening.   While other tube compliments can work,  it is easy to get some interesting results and subsequent mechanical noise (not from speakers) with other tubes.   Hope this helps a little.  Best,
I have resolved my hum issue by re-routing the umbilical between the power supply and preamp, along with power cords to other equipment and other signal wires. I didn't take a scientific approach to figure out what was causing what. I just fiddled with it until the hum stopped, then "secured" the position of various bits to keep things positioned so the hum was gone.

Hope your efforts are successful.
I just got a set of Linlai 101D hifi series to replace my older set of TJ 101D Mesh plate. These TJ 101Ds have been on the Supratek Cabernet for more than 10 years which I used very sparingly over the years.

For the price ($100 a pair from aliexpress) they perform very well to my years. They have a very sweet and full sound for vocals and less muddy than the old set (which really should have been replaced long time ago). I like them particularly with voice and the Eva Cassidy album Live at Blues Alley had a very euphoric quality to it. The amplifier I used was Cary Audio 120s by the way. I replaced all the 6SN7 tubes with some RCA and Sylvania NOS on both units. 

Getting the tubes to run at the full potential do take some effort however. TLDR is the tubes archived -70dB THD after tuning the voltages on both channels. If I play at low volume it could even archive -80dB THD wihch mostly 2nd harmonic. This is quite good for a tube design.

I attached an analyzer to the balanced output with 1k input to RCA. I first tuned the 6SN7 bias voltage then adjusted the plate voltage of the 101D and then finally the grid voltage of 101D. There seems to be a feedback in the design and the voltage takes a little while to stabilize after each adjustment. I was watching the FFT of analyzer and voltmeter during the tuning.

After some experiments I found the highest gain setting have the lowest distortion. Lowering the gain will gradually increase distortion for the same output level. I hope this information is useful for those who wonder the effect of the gain on the sound.

Comparing the FFTs of the Linlai and the TJ mesh plate I had the appreciation of the TJ very much. The TJ had very low 60Hz noise and mostly only 2nd harmonic distortion. The Linlai however is quite a bit noiser with 120hz and higher order harmonics of the power noise. The 3rd harmonic distortion is also quite high. I should probably get a set of TJ while it is still available.

Sorry for late response, been busy at work. I think there is something wrong with the umbilical cord for the preamp. I started by turning on the power supply and could not hear any hum coming from it. Then I attached the preamp with umbilical cord with no RCA in or out and I could hear the hum from the power supply. I have asked for a new umbilical cord from Mick and will test it again when I receive it. I also googled the cord and found Revelation Audio Labs makes one. Will also ask them in future to make one for me if it works in resolving the issue. Has anyone tried them?
Brad is supposed to make great cables but from what I have heard on other forums pay no attention to his promised delivery times as they are mostly make believe.
Well Mick says its not the power/umbilical cord so I am left with the hum. I am looking at hum busters. Any suggestions?
Pack it up and take it to a friends house to eliminate your house and neighborhood interference.
In order to eliminate the hum, I bought the iFi SilentPower - GND Defender - Intelligent Ground Control, IEC Connector Ground from Amazon. I tried it on the preamp and Amp but it did not work. I am thinking again that it is the umbilical cord but Mick does not think so. I am scratching my head here. 
@couger4u   so did you ever clear up the hum that came from the speakers?    Is the only hum your concerned with now from the unit itself (mechanical)?   These 2 different types of noise/hum would point (seemingly) to 2 different issues.   Have you tried to move and plug the unit in at another location in your house or over at a friends house as previously mentioned?    The umbilical itself I would not suspect as causing the hum as Mick mentioned.  I have seen a case where the connection point of the umbilical (to the case)  caused hum in the speakers and if the umbilical was shifted around that hum would cease,..  This (umbilical) is not related to mechanical hum from the PS itself though.    I think you need to completely rule out the power in your house as a cause for the PS mechanical hum you seem to be referring to above though. 
Thanks jslateiv but I think I solved the issue. Well the issue with the hum is solved and another popped up in its place. I took the equipment apart and put is together again but hum was there. Then on a whim I disabled the gain on the preamp and voila hum is gone. I turn it back on and hum is there. Could have Mick missed a trick here? It should not hum if the gain is on. I will have to ask Mick about it. I like the gain on. Thanks guys it was a journey to solve this problem.
I just bought a used Chardonnay and got it running after a few hiccups like a stuck input selector and then getting a bit confused on using the correct input. But, all is well and this is one terrific preamp!!
A few things that were noticeable right away: 
1) detail retrieval is excellent 
2) this is the best representation, by far, of individual voices in a chorus 
3) voices and instruments are much more natural 
4) less glare/harshness and I’ll admit to having an asymmetrical room that needs lots of treatments  

The tubes I currently have are 
5U4C rectifier - Russian (green and white box)
6NS7                Tung-Sol 
6N3C                no brand visible

I’m quite open to tube rolling and an upgraded umbilical cord, maybe even a fuse upgrade. A couple of Agon members have been very helpful already and I much appreciate that. 
couger4u: if you turn down the gain and turn up volume, and reduces the hum and noise. That's probably because the hum is power supply related. My Cabernet has the same characteristic. I used to run the Cabernet 101D with lower gain with higher volume to minimize the noise and hum. The downside is higher level of distortion. You might like the result though. 

@couger4u    In regards to the gain control.  This is essentially a volume control placed at the end of the signal chain.  The main (front panel) volume knob is placed on the input, before the 1st tube stage.   If the 'gain' is engaged and the knob is fully counter-clockwise,. it is the same as not being in the signal.   As Alpha is saying,  if the noise is inherent in the circuit (and there's always some though typically very low),  the relationship between the noise and vol. controls (including gain control) will be the same.  ie,  lowering the gain will seemingly lower the noise but you would need to raise the main vol. back up (thus essentially increasing the noise) to make up for the lost gain.   One thing to keep in mind here,..   the pre's are very high gain to begin with.   It takes very little input to get a big/healthy output,  so the hotter the input signal from your source,  ie, 2+ Volts,   the less range you will get out of your vol. knob (regardless of using the gain control). This is also compounded by the amp sensitivity.  The gain control is useful in situations where the amp has a very high sensitivity and if the source has a hot output in the >+2v range..   You must be careful though to not reduce the gain so much that for a hot input/source you end up allowing too much signal (Vol. knob turned way up) into the 1st stage of the circuit.   This is when/where you will start to get some induced distortion as Alpha mentions.   If your curious as to test the inherent noise of the pre in relation to your amps sensitivity,..   turn the gain off,  if your pre has a gain switch in addition to the gain control knob, use the switch to completely remove the control knob from the circuit;  Once done,  select a input/source but do not 'play' anything.   Turn the volume control up until you start to hear the noise in the circuit.  Mark this spot on the volume knob.   Now,  turn the volume back down,  play something from the source that is selected and raise the volume knob back to the marked spot.  If the pre is functioning correctly and the noise is in the normal range (ie, no problems with the circuit) then the music should be extremely loud at this point and WAY over the noise you heard in the previous test.  As mentioned earlier this is VERY dependent upon the sensitivity of your amp.   If you have a solid state amp that has a very high sensitivity, ie, ~500mv   then   you will start to hear the pre's noise quicker within the volume range,  but the vol. control will also have less range unless the gain control is engaged a little.   A little gain reduction here could be useful but I would caution against using to much,  especially if the source has a very hot/high output.   For what its worth,  I have found that operating the Volume control in the 8-11am range is optimal,.  generally speaking of course).   Hope this helps a little.
My particular 101D Cabernet unit has not a small noise from the power supply. The HT lines had about 20mV p-p ripple and the DHT filament DC supplies had the same amount. It was a scary to work on the power supply so I decided to work on the main unit. Fortunately after removing the remote control PCB which I never use, it has space for me to put in a 5H choke and a 80uF film cap on each of the HT lines. I made use of the empty cans and put in a 18mH choke and 10000uF for the DC filament supplies. The circuit seems to be a constant current supply for filament with a LM317 which had about 20mVp-p ripple. After the mod which does not touch the signal circuit, I cannot measure the ripples with my equipment. The 2nd, 3rd, etc harmonics of the power supply noise are all gone. The SNR improved by 16dB and I cannot barely hear the annoying humming noise from the speakers. There's still a stubborn 60Hz noise from the FFT which I suspect is coming from the cathode which is from another DC regulator. But now I'm quite happy with the results.

Like @jslateiv said the sweet spot is around 8-10 o'clock of the volume knob to get minimal distortion, mostly consisting of 2nd harmonics. The gain I got was about -6dB to 0dB. 
Ok Guys, I spoke too soon about the hum being caused by the tubes. I bought a new set to tubes Tung Sol 6SN7GTB and hum is back. The previous tubes where all this started were Psvane 6SN7 Treasure MKII. Now the strange part is the 6SN7 tubes that Mick sent me do not hum. I have asked Mick if the preamp, he sent me, takes only one make and model of tubes. @jslateiv as you can see from my post I do not think its the gain issue. I could be wrong but lets see where this goes. 
Did you clean the pins on the new tubes? Also new tubes can be noisy at the beginning.
Well Mick gave up on my Cabernet hum issue. He does not know why the other new tubes hum and not the ones he sent me. I do not know if he tests his preamps with other tubes and only uses Russian tubes to calibrate his preamps. He is going to ask his technician in USA to take a look at the preamp but Mick says he is moving states so I have to wait till Mick tells me. In the meantime I have bought KAB subsonic filter and do not have the woofer pumping when playing vinyl. Also lifted the ground switch on my Parasound A21 amp and that has reduced the hum somewhat. The journey continues.
Just received my New Chardonnay (4 Months) First I will say it looks much nicer than the pictures. I have just several hours on it and it is sounding great. It's paired with a Coda S5.5 amp which is 50 watts total class A. 26db gain which I was expecting to be a problem but it really isn't
I'm using it with a Lumin D2 which has a High/Low output setting which helps and an Oppo 105 D which is much "hotter" but with the adjustable gain on the Chardonnay it works out pretty good. My speakers are ZU Def IV's. The only hiss you hear is if you put your ear to the speaker. One small issue is you can't mute from the remote anymore. Verified that with Mick.It would be convenient but not that big a deal for me. I am not much of a reviewer or writer for that matter so that's about it.
Post removed 
I acquired a 2nd hand Cabernet DHT middle of last year, I am extremely happy with the unit, it replaced my Ayon Auris which is also a nice pre-amp.  It came with Emmission Lab 45M in the output which are good but i have been tube rolling and now run mainly vintage 2A3 valves.  There wasn't a remote with mine and the seller said can get a 3rd party remote that will work.  Does anyone know what remote/s work with the Supratek ?
All of Mick's remotes are 3rd party so just get a simple one you like and get the setup code from him.  $10 or so on Amazon.