Vacuum State Electronics FVP5A tube preamp

This was one of those reviews where time and circumstances conspired to allow a dual-test. I made the first contacts with Vacuum State, and Allen was eager to oblige. Combine this with a planned trip to Brittany and it was obvious that Geoff too would have a listen to the FVP. Eventually I got tied up rebuilding part of the house we just bought, a
Vacuum State Electronics FVP5A tube preamp - schematic

nd so the FVP first was sent off to France. These are Geoff`s findings. Note that Geoff used the FVP5A in high-gain mode (I did so in low gain mode), comparing to his own low-gain Audion preamp plus the Dynavector current-mode step-up device. So in case of the VSE pre, Geoff`s resident Dynavector DRT-1 cartridge saw a high 47k impedance, while driving the Dyna/Audion combo it saw the zero Ohms of the current input. Quite a difference. - Werner After having read Allen`s two books, the first on pre-amps, the second on cables, I was intrigued to see what happened when all this was put into practice. And so a month down the line I was presented with a large cardboard box by the deliveryman. Opening it all up revealed a much loved, modified and abused ( ) pre-amp, indeed the one that Allen uses himself to try out new ideas. In effect it was up to full FVP5 spec but the disconnected balance controls and jury rigged phono switch showed how it was a "mule". Cosmetically it looked like a 20 year-old integrated, not a state-of-the-art valve pre-amp, and I even had to remove the top cover as the extra valves would generate too much heat for the `old` slots. BUT I was expecting all this, Allen assured me that under the bonnet it was cutting edge and directly comparable with the production FVP5A. What did surprise me though was the weight. Generally hi-end amps are sold by the pound and here I had something that felt like a budget CD...

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