Body & Soul

Aurieges Cortese 301A preamplifier.  What exactly does it do? Some members of the audio industry consigliere regard a preamp as a ‘straight wire with gain’. They consider it no more than a switch box for your sources and provides you with a volume control to adjust the gain.  It should not add, nor subtract anything from the delicate audio signal.  To think otherwise would be an abomination.   Most of the audio press goes crazy over the latest passive preamp devices.  These devices leave me cold due to their lack of soul.

Well, then there are those, like me, who believe a preamp adds character to the sound. I require a preamplifier to contribute to the overall sound.  Perhaps add or contribute are fightin’ words, for some folk.  Some would feel more comfortable if I said that a good preamp extracts more music from the source material, whether it be vinyl or digital bits.  Ok, that’s cool.  I can live with either definition.  But, the bottom line is, an active preamplifier, is the heart and soul of a good music system.   Skimp on the preamp, and the entire system suffers.  You can have the finest sources and the finest speakers, but the signal has to pass from the source on through the preamp, then on to the loudspeakers.  Musical body, soul, density, texture, weight, resolution, drive, attack, decay, timbre, tone, color… character!… the preamp is king.

I urge you to experience a quality preamplifier in your system.  It may be all you need to infuse your hi-fi with what it is craving.  Some candidates would be a Shindo Aurieges-L ($3,295),  Leben RS-100 ($4,495) or the renowned Shindo Monbrison ($8,995).

Aurieges closeup

2 thoughts on “Body & Soul

  1. Hi Matt,

    I am looking for a new preamp. I am looking for a preamp with a phono section, I believe both Shindo & Leben preamps fit into that category. Currently I have a CJ CT6 which I like but the 100+ albums I have in the basement need to be enjoyed. I currently do not have a TT but will start with a cheap one. I am assuming also that both the Shindo and Leben don’t need a Step Up Device with a modest TT set up? One last question a friend of my who I respect with his audio knowledge states Shindo preamps don’t perform that well unless they are pair with Shindo amps!

    1. Hello Bob,

      With a good MM cartridge you would certainly be capable of enjoying vinyl once again, with any Shindo preamp, starting at the popular Aurieges preamp. A step up transformer would be required for MC cartridge types, yes. Your friend is incorrect in assuming that Shindo preamps do not perform well unless paired with Shindo amps. Stating it another way, I would say that you would achieve, like most things in life, the *best* synergy with something that was designed to work with like product. But it is not mandatory. I do have a few customers with various other makes of amplifiers enjoying Shindo preamps, and they love their system – and rightly so – since the preamp is the most important aspect of a good music system. Invariably, I must say, most add a Shindo amp to complete the circle. The addition of Shindo cables, a Mr. T, etc, bring you closed to the ideal. Wire in a Shindo amplifier and you will have built up your system the way Shindo Labs designed. Of course, speaker matching is of utmost importance, and that is where I can help guide you in making a correct choice in which amp would be ideal for you, if at some point you choose to do so.


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