The latest version of Knut Cornils' soulshine is the new Valvet soulshine II.
Hand crafted near Hamburg in Germany, the soulshine II is a line-stage using ECC82 and ECC99 tubes and a new external solid state dual mono power supply.
The soulshine II shows exceptional detail, plasticity and sound stage. Everything is played on a black/still background. The listener hears no tube noise, but many tube virtues. Voices really have body, strings have the right fluidity, and an electric guitar sounds just like it should. Especially the harmony between silence and dynamics captivates the listener right away. The price is US $8,450.-
Similar to the original soulshine with 4 line inputs and now 3 outputs (WBT silver connectors) using ECC82 and ECC99 tubes with only one Mundorf Silver/Gold/Oil capacitor per channel. The signal path is even shorter now and a brand new state-of-the-art volume control is incorporated. A 48-step ladder switch with remote control as a standard.
The external dual mono power supply uses two powerful torodial core transformer and a solid-state rectifier, since this design has proven to be advantageous for the sound of the soulshine. No component-overkill, but perfect working conditions for the soulshine. All housing components are made of aluminum, between 2 und 12mm thick.
Golden Ear Award 2017 from Stereoplay Germany. Roland Kraft concluded:
"...Valvets Soulshine 2 confirms an old audio tube adage in the most beautiful way: With a simple, but carefully designed tube circuit and good components one can hardly do anything wrong. To the contrary, with its exceptionally quiet background, the Valvet Soulshine 2 sculpts the individual elements of sound into a wonderfully large, constantly coherent soundscape, while at the same time, doesn’t conceal any of the well-known, well-loved tube characteristics. It doesn’t make the old mistake of many tube amps - playing too mushy and imprecise, but always maintains the stability, even at high volumes and charms its listeners with its reference-level dynamic abilities. When called for, it can play with the biggest and best, but can also capture even the most subtle nuances of delicate, transparent soundscapes. The Soulshine 2 manifests its velvety smoothness, as well as beautiful tone colors and life-like emotions from the very first minute on..."
We think the soulshine II is VALVET's best sounding pre-amp yet! Factory lead time is currently 3-4 weeks. Merry the soulshine II with a pair of the new Valvet A4e and - as Robert Learner of PFO once said - "...park them on your rack for the next ten years and find other things to worry about." ... this is now more true than ever.
- inputs: 4 high level inputs, input impedance 100 KOhm, (4x RCA, 1x XLR)
- amplification: 8x, 18dB, max. output > 50 Volts, output impedance 400 Ohm, 3 outputs OUT1/OUT2/OUT3 (2x RCA, 1x XLR)
- power supply: external dual mono solid state power supply, 200VA
- dimensions: 444 x 50 x 306 mm (17.5 x 2 x 12 inches) WxHxD - Pre-amp;
444 x 50 x 306 mm (17.5 x 2 x 12 inches) WxHxD - power supply
- volume control: 48-step resistor-ladder switch w/remote control
- case: Aluminum black anodized and powder coated
- front: silver brushed or black anodized
- optional: Chrome front $250.00
- sound: The soulshine II shows exceptional detail, plasticity and sound stage. Everything is played on a black/still backgound. The listener hears no tube noise, but many tube virtues. Voices really have body, strings have the right fluidity, and an electric guitar sounds just like it should. Especially the harmony between silence and dynamics captivates the listener right away
Reviews for the original soulshine:
Key Kim reviewed the A3.5 and soulshine for TheStereoTimes Dec. 2009
"...the new Valvet Block A3.5s are incredible sounding amps. It was hard to believe these were only 50 watts per channel. They drove my reference Conspiracy loudspeakers with great authority and power. The Valvets possess purity and remarkable transparency that allows them to provide an amazing musical experience. At $5.590.00, it’s a bargain! ...this preamp (soulshine) had a natural purity and open airy sound which brought me closer to music. Stay tuned for a full review"
A3.5/soulshine in the German magazine "Image HiFi" 02/10 by Roland Kraft:
"...once they’ve warmed up to operating temperature, these seemingly insignificant audiophile amps fascinate the listener with stupendous transparence. In addition, a spacious sound stage with an impressive breadth immediately captivates the listener... the Valvet amps are agile, never strained, and always light-footed. They constantly create a fresh, clear - but never cold - breath of air, and at the same time easily concentrates on the essence that can hardly be described. The tubes and transistors complement each other perfectly, making an lasting impression that can hardly be equaled in this price class..."
- read the entire review (in German)
A3.5/soulshine on "Positive Feedback Online" Issue 48 03/10 by Robert Learner:
"...smooth, dynamic, lively, and organic. Tonal purity suggests straight-wire gain with a dash of inner glow. Soundstaging is precise in localization... Transients have snap and life, and decays are full-blooded, something I've come to associate with Class A electronics versus some other designs. There is none of the sterility I've heard with some other solid-state amps... haven't heard better for the money and certainly worse for more. These components have some magic, something past competence or even excellence and into the illusion of 'real'. You can find components that do this or that better in the price range, but none I've spent time with are as addictive. They get the essence of the music... The sound quality is not only that good, it's that true—park them on your rack for the next ten years and find other things to worry about."
- read the entire review
The review "Giant Killers" for A3.5/soulshine on "The StereoTimes" 06/10 by Key Kim:
"...from the very first notes on the very first album, it was obvious that the Valvet combo was something special. In our age of hyper-priced imported components, it’s not just good sounding (even at just over $11k) The Valvet components are the real deal regardless of price.... They are giant-killers in that they provide the ultimate musical bliss without breaking one’s bank account. If you're looking for that really great sounding system that isn't stratospherically priced, then look no further than Valvet..."
- read the entire review
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