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  1. #1
    Forum Regular O'Shag's Avatar
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    Picked up a Bent Audio TAP Silver Preamp

    This is without question the most transparent preamp I've heard. For this particular unit the transformers are pure silver as is all wiring. I finally have a preamp with remote control, thank you God.

    The Bent Audio TAP is a passive TVC, but past unity gain has 6DB of gain if needed. In almost all cases, a preamp has to attenuate the source signal significantly rather than amplify it so a lot of energy is cast off as heat.

    Anyone else had experience with Passive preamps? I'm interested to know your impressions
    'Lets See what the day brings forth'.... Reginald Iolanthe Perrin

  2. #2
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    I've looked into passive pres a little (hardly scratched the surface) and it seems they take on two forms - one using transformers and the other using resistors. Is this generally correct? If so, what are the strengths/weaknesses of each?

    BTW, I read some good things about your Bent piece. Congrats!

  3. #3
    Forum Regular O'Shag's Avatar
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    Dean thanks

    Yes there seems to be two schools of thought re which is best; the resistor approach or the transformer approach the latter being Bents best unit (they do offer a resistor type also)

    To be honest I've not heard a reistor type passive, so can't really comment on the sound. The Bent Audio TAP is a departure for me because I'm used to using reference quality tube preamps, and I do have two very good ones; an MFA MC Reference (which is a prototype and the best one they built) and a very rare Messenger all-tube preamp with a serious tube power supply. The Bent unit is definitely more transparent than either one, in the sense that it really adds virtually nothing to the source signal. If the source has the cajones then the TAP delivers and the results are terrific. It does not sound 'cold' or analytical at all, not does it sound threadbare. Also there is no apparent energy loss in terms of musical drama. IContrary to what I've read, there is absolutely no roll off of bass energy. This preamp is capable of thunderous bass - if the source sends that signal (I have the Musical Fidelity Trivista DAC21). Having said this, It does not make music come alive in quite the same way as my MFA MC Reference or Messenger but these units are exceptional. Compared to most preamps I've heard, the TAP does a better job overall. All the detail and musical power is relayed without loss. Soundstage is in no way flattened, but neither does it attempt to enhance staging as some preamps do (to ill effect). Another marvellous thing about the TAP is it is remote control and one can reverse phase from the remote.. Additionally it can drive three seperate amps for triamping from one input. I currently run biamped as my KEF Reference 109 the Maidstone really enjoy the power. All in all the Bent TAP is awesome.

    Are you thinking of a new preamp Dean? What do you run currently and what does your system consist of?
    Cheers
    'Lets See what the day brings forth'.... Reginald Iolanthe Perrin

  4. #4
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    I'm moving my system to a larger room, but my 2-ch system was put together for a small space. I'm running a 40wpc Jolida tube integrated with Soliloquy 5.0 speakers on stands. I have an Acurus power amp that I'd like to build a system around that will fill my new space (16x24). I have an entry-level Parasound preamp but it's dull and lifeless. I don't want to use it. At first, I was thinking of a tube linestage and floorstanders to go with the Acurus A-100 (100wpc), but I've recently been researching passive preamps.

  5. #5
    Forum Regular O'Shag's Avatar
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    The preamp I think is, along with speakers the component that will make or break a system. Is the Acurus power amp a tube unit or solid-state? The thing about many passive preamps is that the quality of their performance can depend somewhat on the output impedence of the source and input impedence of the amp. With high impedence output at the source, it can be advisable to use cables that are 3 meters or under for best performance, and the same goes for the the amps, although up 4 meters for best performance. What cables are you using and how long are they? My Bent TAP does not have such limitations as it is transformer-based, But resistor type passives will be more sensitive to this I think. Also the Bent has 6DB of gain available if required - which for me it definitely isn't - rather the opposite. Despite any possible impedence limitations, the upside of passives is the performance is excellent. Most preamps you've heard will sound muddly, cloudy and lack the clear precision. Good passive have lots of detail, which is a good thing I think. The Bent TAP preamp has not sounded dull or lifeless in the least during my listening so far. If you can find a way to audition one at another audio enthusiast's house, then you can see if the sound appeals to you; It does to me for sure. Others of interest are Music First Passive Magnetic, Promethious, Placette RVC and a few others.
    'Lets See what the day brings forth'.... Reginald Iolanthe Perrin

  6. #6
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Hey Shaggy,

    Do you still own the Bent TAP? If so, what do you think of it?

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