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Post by nikki » Sat Jul 06, 2013 5:04 am

Had a lot of fun visiting with Esoxhntr (George - Entracte Audio) and Gilbert in Markham and had a chance to see some of the latest creations.

I saw the impressive setup with the NSL/NSP combo driving a pair of ATC speakers - the sound was wonderful and certainly worthy of all the compliments that it has received. I have been skeptical of only 28w/ch, but I never had a sense of the amps straining or lacking in dynamic capabilities during my listening. Can't wait to hear the NSL in my room if Gilbert ever gets a chance to come this way. It will be interesting to see how well they can drive my CLX's and hearing these amps in a familiar environment and how they compare to the 208s.

Talking about the 208s, mine are going back to Innerkip to have the NST input stage installed ... no more tubes.

Also had the chance to hear Gilbert's latest preamp, the BC307. What a novel idea to be able to dial in the amount of 6922, 6SN7 and solid state goodness depending on your mood and recording. The BC307 in pure solid state mode certainly had a family resemblance to the BC109 that I am used to. It may not have quite the authority and sense of ease that I am used to, but keep in mind that my custom BC109AL has a beefed up power supply (aka Pinkie spec) and costs significantly more. Would be interesting to hear the BC307 with a turbo charged power supply.

Nils Lofgren Acoustic Live recording impresses some audiophiles, but I have always found the recording bright. This disc is a good acid test for systems that lack a bit of soul and organic flow. Gilbert's electronics do a good job with this recording, but with the BC307, when we dialed in more 6SN7 flavour, it rounded out the edges and injected some warmth into the recording that made it an overall more satisfying experience. With premium recordings, you back off the tubes and allow more of the SS clarity and purity to shine through. I can also see someone using this to tune the sound depending on their own room acoustics, associated equipment and personal taste.

IMO, the true benefit of the BC307 is that you can shut down the tube section when you are not listening critically, which for myself is probably 95% of the time. This would significantly increase the lifespan of those precious little tubes. Cool product indeed.

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Post by esoxhntr » Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:08 pm

Hey Nikki, glad you enjoyed yourself - it was good to finally put a name to a face.

I have to admit to being a little skeptical about the BC307, but it's a cool idea to be able to mix preamp "flavours", and I think you and I both agree that it can really help many of those recordings that can be a little hard to listen to because of glare, edge, over-compression, or a litany of other flaws. No - they will never be audiophile recordings, but they can still contain good music and can be made to be enjoyable to listen to.

It will be interesting in the next few weeks to see if there is a room specific setting that will work most of the time, or whether I will want to tweak for specific recordings. If I find an answer I'll certainly post here, though I think that it's sensible to assume that that will be a room to room, system to system, and/or listener to listener type of decision.

I suspect that the BC307 will be a great companion for the NSP and BC1022 power amps.

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