I thought I would share with other users a really good cheap upgrade you can add to any system. It improves stereo separation, soundstage, bass amongst other things.
It is called a Tube buffer. It improves the signal and sound level. Possibly detail in some systems.
Some of them have a volume control and can be used as a preamp but they can be inserted into any system. The best thing is they only cost around £20. That’s not a typo, yes a tube preamp for £20!
There are many different vendors. I can reccomend the FX Audio Tube 01 which probably is the best built with the nicest best case. You can buy it as a diy kit for about half the price. It runs on 12v so pretty safe.
People then get in to upgrading the power supply and tubes to go even further.
They are based on the X10 tube buffer from Musical Fideliry that was popular years ago.
A great way to get into the valve sound for a small investment, you may also find the tubes smooth out a harsh system.
They are available on ebay and many other places, search for ‘tube buffer’ or ‘6j1’ which is the name of the valve most use.
Dont be put off by the very low price, it can improve even expensive high-end systems.
My system is Volumio, RPi2, ES9038Q2M DAC hat (again from ebay, highly recommended), FX Audio Tube 01 (the buffer) and Harbeth DPM1 active speakers. I am biased of course but It sounds just incredible.
I’m curious if anyone else has one and what they think. Or if you do buy one and try it let me know.