The Softly-Softly Preamp Shuffle Part 3

October 27, 2010
1 min read

I’m still trying to find preamp harmony in my system. Despite the Usher P-307 coming back from Steel’s finishing school as a substantially smoother and better balanced unit (amazing what a good run-in period will do), it’s still a little bit too lean in my system. Close but no cigar, because I still like what I get from the Yamaha A-S2000’s preamp section.

Great looking gear - Danish style

So fighting my bargain basement leanings, and boy do I ever have to fight, I’ve moved upmarket in my quest and have purloined a Densen B-200 preamp. I’ll be reviewing it for the site but of course, it’s very much being auditioned as a replacement for the Yammy.

First up – does anyone make audio gear that looks better than Densen’s kit? I think not. If you like the restrained look of a rack full of current spec Naim gear, then Densen is probably right up your street. On the other hand, if ranks of shiny valves or an anvil’s worth of USA power amp in the Krell style are more your scene, then you’ll be underwhelmed but this is as classy as it gets for me.

The later series Densen preamps look even better than the B-200 as they’ve done away with the volume KNOB and believe me, it’s a KNOB, not a knob, this gigantic protrusion is complete insanity when viewed against the rest of the amp, yet somehow it still more or less works as a cohesive whole and at least it’s not gold plated. Still, you have to wonder if the design team had some “herbs” in their cookies on the day they decided on the volume control.

All hail the great volume KNOB!

Second – build quality is superb. No more need be said.

Third – what’s with the $500 optional Gizmo system remote?

How does it sound? No idea. I’m resisting the urge to listen cold and letting it run in for a few days at least. Progress report and review to follow.

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