DACT – CT101 Line Stage Preamplifier with CT102
Audio Power Supply
Again, I am very fortune having the chance to review another DACT Product; that is the DACT CT101 Line Stage + CT102 Audio Power Supply.
Both the line stage and power supply arrived in a PCB form (see attached pictures) and looks to me these two components more for DIY guys. To hook up the two little pieces together may require some technical knowledge but that is not difficult at all. Except the mentioned two pieces you will also need a CT2 (that is the volume switch) to install in the CT101 as volume control.
After spending an hour to hook all these up, the two devices now up and running, so as show my respect to all devices I am going to test, I switch it on, jam it with an audio signal and leave it running in my store room for a few days before I actually listen to it.
Four days gone, I took this little lovely pre-amplifier out from my store room and swop it with my pre-amplifier that I used to listen everyday..
My first impression is the pre-amplifier (CT101) itself is very very quiet, you switch it on, turn the volume to max, you will immediately notice it is totally dead silent from your speaker, there is no “Hiss sound” no “Hum” at all. That is something I love it very much, I have come across so many amplifiers disregarding it is a modern one, vintage one, Solid State or Vacuum Tube; lots of them got very very little “Hiss” “Hum” sound as background which is very bad indeed.
After listening for a few days, below is my FINDINGS…
- Very Good Channel separation.
I guess when the DACT guys design this pre-amplifier, they have made everything completely separate except sharing the same little printed circuit board itself.
- Very Very Detail, I am sure you will hate it if you are listening to a source with bad recording. The dead silent background makes all the very little details came out
sharply and clearly.
- It is a very dynamic amplifier, it can easily accommodate any kind of music whether it is Rock, Jazz, Blue, Vocal, Classical music… whatever it is. It simply plays
everything correctly and in detail.
- You can easily control the “Gain” to fit different power amplifier (0db, 6db or 12db) via jumper settings. I was told “ZERO” gain is the best setting that enables widest frequency responses, but my ears just not able to tell the different. All the gain setting sounds fantasy to me.
- Absolutely Sounds Neutral – I can’t find any sound colorizing from this amplifier. Also the whole frequency range between 20Hz – 20kHz absolutely flat and linear.
This may be MY only Negative Comment….
Everything works great with this solid state pre-amplifier, I have no complain at all except it lack of the sexy tube sounding. In other words, if you are more a Solid State Amplifier guy, in terms of price and performance, the CT101 is perfect. But if you are more as a Vacuum Tube guy, this may not be a right pre-amplifier for you. The “problem” is….it simply sounds too clean and detail without those so call sexy tube sounding.... BUT it is also the good thing by itself because it sounds “Neutral” at all time.
Another thing I have to Mention..
From all the good words I have mentioned in this review seems goes to the CT101 line
The CT101 pre-amplifier did impress me by its performance within the price range.
But what really impressed me is the CT102 that is the small power supply that drives
CT101. Without all the good work of CT102, I don’t think CT101 can performance so
well as what I have above mentioned.
Out of curious, I connect the CT102 with my HP digital oscilloscope trying to find out
the noise level it may generate. With no surprise the result is very good and the noise
level can be totally ignored.
This may be the reason why this power supply was highly regarded together with the
DACT CT100 Phono amplifier due to its ZERO noise level. Unfortunately, I do not have
the luxury for a try out but I trust it should be excellent cause DACT product seldom
My final word..
It you are more as a DIY guys, DO NOT have a big pocket to afford a very expensive
pre-amplifier with big name and price tag; And at the same time you are looking for
decent performance – The CT101 is best for you..