TRL DUDE preamp

I've had the DUDE for about 5 years.  I've kept it on much of the time 24/7 except for when it storms and I unplug everything from the wall.  I bought the DUDE used from a second owner.  I'm going to guess that the DUDE had never had it's tubes replaced with NOS tubes or anything else either.  

I ordered 5 tubes from Andy's Vintage Tubes in Michigan.  It took awhile for him to test and get a pair of matched 6SN7 tubes so I didn't have any music for about 6 weeks between ordering and finally getting them in my system.

The NOS tubes, all RCA, were fantastic and made the DUDE so much more dynamic, clear, and detailed, while still offering a good helping of tone and texture.  I think I'm now hearing what all the fuss about the DUDE's sound was about.  The bass is even more real.  I've nearly finished my listening room that was somewhat built back in 2007.  The room is very quiet, yet the detail and dynamics are still there--very live sound.  Enjoyable system anchored by the DUDE, VMPS RM40 BCSE speakers, and the Nuforce Ref 9 V3 SE mono amps w/ TDSS level 3 upgrades.  The Modwright Sony 5400 Signature Truth takes care of my digital sound and I love it.  I will be getting my super Lenco 78 rebuild with most of the JTNantais mods and upgrades done.  It also has upgrades that maybe no one has that will take it to the top.  I decently added an Origin Live Illustrious II arm and a Walker Precision Motor Controller.  Am adding a Furutech IEC outlet to the rear in the next couple days so I can try different PCs.  I have a couple demo products from Artisan Fidelity that will make the sound very nice and easier to use.

Will report back soon on the total package when done.

Bob-Consider yourself fortunate indeed! The Dude is a piece that I sought out for nearly two years until, with the help of Grannyring and a lot of internal pics, I worked with Aric at Aric Audio to have him build as close to The Dude as possible. We named it, The Motherlode, and it far outperformed all of my previous preamps. That was over three years ago and it still sits in my rack...kicking audio ass! However, I still continue to hunt one down in hopes of building a second system around it one day.

I too work with Andy for all my tube needs. 

Happy listening!

Bob congrats on a great preamp and a fantastic sounding system. And glad the NOS tubes made things even better. One suggestion though I would at the very least turn your preamp off at night before bed to preserve tube life especially with pricey NOS tubes,
Hey Brian,

I traveled down to Bill’s (grannyring) house in Tennessee with a good friend to hear a pair of speakers he’d modded and to let him see the internals of my DUDE and see if there was anything he could do to improve on it as he did to the ones he owned. We had a great time and my friend bought Bill’s Tekton improved Double Impact speakers. Bill liked my DUDE and said it wasn’t worth doing an upgrade as most of what he would do was already done. My friend Bob still has that pair of DI’s and they are still awesome. We both have Nuforce Ref 9 V3 SE mono amps with the TDSS upgrades--very good sounding amps in a 7 lbs. each package.

Good luck on your search for a used DUDE.  They are now really rare as I haven't seen one online in about  4 years.
@laaudionut And apparently outperformed Aric’s preamps as well, as the Motherload 2 is the company’s top of the line pre!
Bob-Bill( Grannyring) knows The Dude inside and out, and is quite adept at tweaks to everything he gets his hands on. You already have something rare and special, and if he is satisfied that you can take The Dude no further, well then...YES, I will happily buy it from you! 

Cal3713-When I talked with Aric before he decided to release the Motherlode II without the MM phono section I have in mine, I asked if he thought it would be worth shipping mine back for upgrades. He stated that it would not be worth the hassle, as the difference would likely not be discernible to the ear. He is such a great guy to work with!

If only everyone in the industry acted like this. I had Radu Tarta from Shiney Eyes build me a dht pre and the experience was much the same. Coincident? Not so much.
Sorry Brian,

I absolutely love the DUDE even its huge butt. Since the tube switch, it is just another notch or two above the performance I got to receive several years ago. The combo with the TDSS upgraded Nuforce Ref 9 monos is just perfect to my ears. My good friend in audio got the same upgrade as mine after he could not longer stand me gushing about it--actually he heard my amps in his system and 2 other systems and it was always the best sounding amp. You can’t beat the 2 little fellows with the BIG DOG; I am blessed to have the BIG DOG in the DUDE. It’s a very interesting look together.

If I had 2 of these, I’d definitely cut you a deal on one of them. I hope you get to own one someday. Thanks Bill--GRing and others for the great insight into the sound of the DUDE several years ago.


Still have the DUDE. It sounds better than ever. I now have about 5-6 of Krissy’s boxes wired to the DUDE at every open RCA input and output. With each addition, the realistic SQ is noticeably better. The system is now quite the wonder and keeps me listening for long periods of time. Ironically, after I got all parts of the analog and digital system wiring at their best, I discovered the volume control on the DUDE wasn’t working properly and would not increase the volume past 11:00 or the right channel would shut down. It was like this until I would turn the control to the left until it passed 11:00 and the right channel would continue playing again. Now, I can shoot past 11:00 to 12:00 or more and the volume just increases like it should have all along. Needless to say, listening is now much more intense with large dynamic swings when listening at higher volumes. I love it.



Audio and the enjoyment of music should not be a hassle. I will do you a selfless favor and take The Dude off of your hands.


Hey Brian,

The volume control thing did last a long time, but that was the only issue during the 8 years I've owned it.  The sound was always glorious, but now that the volume can go up where the control knob is sometimes at halfway, it sounds even better and really potent beyond what it did prior.  I agree with your earlier post that I was extremely lucky to land one of these when I did.  Maybe you will be also someday.