The Masterpiece Preamp is an absolute bargain. At the price of a mid-grade tube headphone amplifier, this impeccably designed preamp betters equipment selling for over 5 figures. The designer, Bruce Rozenblit, is a modern day audio genius who believes that audio magic does not come from boutique components and over-designed casework. A true iconoclast, Bruce creates equipment with revolutionary designs, performs rigorous testing to reduce circuits to the least possible components, and then creates kits for assembly by his faithful legion of enthusiasts. Transcendent Sound equipment is way beyond Dynaco and Hafler. (Although they were the original "bang for the buck" kits, and they are still respected today.) Bruce's designs are meant to be the pinnacle of audio performance. The Masterpiece is one of just a handful of Direct Heated Triode preamps available, and uses the venerable 300B. It super transparent and endlessly resolving. The breakthrough design and the 300B's provide a smoothness that leaves high-res digital audio sounding like vinyl. You will immediately notice two things that differentiate The Masterpiece from other tube equipment even before playing music: There is NO microphony. I have no idea how Bruce accomplished this but you can literally knock on the the glass and will hear NOTHING. It is also amazingly dead quiet. No hum, no hiss, just velvet black. Once the music starts you find it has a very forward (front row) presentation. But most impressively it throws a HUGE soundstage, BIGGER than anything else that I've ever heard. Finally, it is also an outstanding headphone amplifier that can drive the most difficult to drive headphones. See the specs below. This particular unit has been upgraded with a Danish Audio ConnecT (DACT) stepped attenuator and source selector switch. If there is a better volume control and source select out there, I haven’t found it. Coupled with the large and heavy DACT stainless steel knobs the operation is extraordinarily precise and the feel is silky. Also included with the purchase is a matched pair of Genelex Gold Lion 300B tubes and 2 Cifte 12AU7 tubes. Transcendent Sound only produces equipment as kits and I have built several of their units including this one. As a result, you will be buying a hand-built, direct-wired, impeccably engineered audio device at a bargain price.
I am selling at less than my cost to build: Masterpiece kit: $699 Gold Lion Tubes: $320 Cifte Tubes: $ 80 DACT Attenuator: $318 DACT Selector Switch: $191 DACT Knobs: $ 96 TOTAL build cost $1704 Specs
(From the designer’s website):
Footprint: 15 inches wide by 10 inches deep.
Outputs: 2 Line Level and one Headphone
Gain: 12 dB or 4 times
Output Impedance: 15 ohms (headphone output),
Input Impedance: 100K
Signal to noise ratio: 100 dBA
Max available output current: 70 mA, RMS
Headphone output power:
150 mW into 30 ohms
360 mW into 100 ohms
100 mW into 600 ohms
Frequency Response: flat, -0 dB, from below 10 Hz to over 100 kHz.
THD: Less than 0.1%
Power: 120V or 230V to 240V, 50 to 60 Hz, 72 watts.