Let me first start out by saying I am not a professional writer in any way. This review of my SpiritX is just to inform people in the market of what an incredible preamp this is and I just needed to let you know about it.
I received the unit about 3 weeks ago and straight out of the box it sounded incredible. The sound stage was wider, deeper and taller than my current preamp. I was also noticing a better sense of the music. Sorry not a pro, hard to explain the feeling I get when listening now. I can hear more into the music, the inner details that eluded me before are more abundantly apparent now. ;I know this is cliche but I am hearing things I have never heard before and I am loving it. Bill has created a preamp that for me transports me into the performance. The highs have air galore, the bass is full and authoritative, no bloating ever. The best is the lush midrange that captivates you and draws you in. I listen now for multiple hours instead of an hour or so. I am also finding out that recordings I thought were not that good to be great because I am hearing more clearly what is being presented as apposed to a more congested and less lively sound that I was used to hearing. Do not get me wrong my other preamp is a very good preamp but not on the same level as this one. The truly great thing about this is that the preamp is still not fully broken in yet and I am still using the stock JJ tubes. When the unit is fully broken in I will start tube rolling. The JJ's are fine sounding tubes, but I what to see what this unit is fully capable of when I put in true audiophile tubes. As an added bonus I also have a pair of his entry interconnects the Clarity Emberglow II's. These are magnificent sounding cables at an incredible price. Once again, my sound stage just opened up and more sound is coming into my listening area. These cables do not accentuate any frequency area, they are extremely neutral and just let the music flow.
If you are in the market for a great piece of equipment or cables do yourself a favor and call or email Bill to discuss your needs and for your sake, try his stuff. You will be in audio Nirvana. The only drawback I have found (per my Wife) is that I am spending a lot more time in my audio room and less in the living room watching TV with her.
Thank you Bill for this incredible preamp. Please continue what you are doing with your equipment. I can only hope that people see this and contact you for a piece of your equipment. I want them too enjoy their music as much as I am enjoying mine.
Lusso 6922 Version
I finally got my new musica bella lusso preamp a little over a week ago. Right out of the box it has a very nice sound to it. Compaired to my old ps audio solid state preamp the lusso has more weight to the music. It is very dynamic and has that emotional connection to the music. It really pulls the inner details from the recording and I know that people always say this, but I am hearing things in my recordings I didn't hear before. All the extra detail and it is still very smooth and never harsh. I have always read that tubes can run hot but this pre can be on for hours and still stays cool. I would like to do some tube rolling and when I asked the manufacture about tubes to try he said that he thought I should let it run for another 100 hours or so before changing anything. Do you think that I can do better with some nos tubes (JJ electronics are in the pre now).
"this preamp keeps getting better and better. I still have the stock jj tubes and am about ready to try some mullard tubes. This pre is slightly on the warm side and laid back sounding, which is good for my system. I can listen for hours without any fatigue. I don't understand why musica bella products don't get talked about more on the forum. I payed a little more for this pre than my previous ps audio pre and it is much more refined and natural sounding than the ps audio(which is also still a nice pre)"
"My Musica BellaMax uses 12AU7 tubes. This model is definitely more on the neutral side than warm. Perhaps, that’s because of the V-Caps. I found the Mullards to be sumptuous in the mids but lacking in the HF or LF. Not my cup of tea. If your preamp signature is already warm, I recommend trying Le Radio Technique 6922’s - if you can find them. Less warm, great dynamics. I agree about the quality of Musica Bellaproducts. Bill Baker knows what he’s doing. He also upgraded the x-overs on my speakers. Huge improvement!"
BellaMax - precursor to LeAnna
I have a 12AU7 version called the Bellamax - a cross between the Musica Bella series and the Purity Audio series - a precursor to the Leanna. I’m very happy with mine. Great dynamics and tone. Definitely, not warm and diffuse like an old style tube preamp. It’s very responsive to tube-rolling, IC’s, PC’s and fuses. Mine is feeding a Class A SS amp. I have no idea how it would match up with a digital amp.
Bill Baker is a veteran circuit designer and very nice guy. He also modded the cross-overs on my speakers. Huge improvement.
Musica Bella LeAnna and Purity Ultra GT
I have just ordered another Pre-amp from Bill Baker from Purity audio.
Running my Bobs with the Bill Bakers Leanna line of preamp. I like the sound of his pre-amps compared to many others iv tried including VAC.
At the moment am using the purity with Clayton M300. Once the Atma is delivered, I will use the Clayton with the Danley SH50 for HT Duties and acquire the M200 for Centre Channel.
The Bobs are moving into a smaller room now, and will start modifying the amps with better caps and volume pot. Just disappointed on how Bob and the new buyers are acting these days with pricing and support. Total disappointment.
Just ordered a Pair of Legacy audio Whisper XD too, that should arrive in 2 weeks.
VAC Signature mk2 vs Purity Audio Ultra
"I own the Purity GT Ultra, and I love it. I have heard the VAC in a different system, but never did an A/B comparison to the Purity. The design of the Purity does allow the full-function remote control capability that made me take a hard look at it. And when I heard the sonics, my search was over. If you have specific questions about the Purity, I will attempt to answer them."
"I ended up getting the Purity Audio GT Series too. Pre-amp is over now for power amps."
"The purity is very resolving pre-amp it just throws all the details on the soundstage correctly placed. The VAC is very good too as I had a used unit to play around with.
The VAC sold pretty fast which is a good thing if you are swapping gears allot. However for me purity is a keeper.
When I compared both I just felt the Purity was a step above in the sense on how it controlled the amplifier better which in turn controls the speaker. Both are very good pre-amp to be honest. The purity sounded more resolving then the VAC. The VAC was sweeter on the treble but that was a minor for me I was looking at the full spectrum. Which is I wanted something very clean and clear and emotional.
The purity amp is on the warm side of Neutral. a good balance if you ask me. The Vac felt slightly more warmer.
I used the MSB diamond DAC directly into the claytons with the MSB Volume Control the sound was pretty good. When connected through the purity Pre-amp I found the clayton Bass was more controlled. The midrange was better presented it sounded fuller and thicker. With the MSB volume the sound was thinner and less emotional.
When using the VAC pre-amp I found the MSB diamond DAC volume directly connected sounded better then having the VAC pre-amp in the chain.
Yes Bill is a top guy. Easy to work with. No issues at all. I had to wait for mine for 2 months."
"I believe the Auto-former in the Pre-amp controls which ever amp you feed it, if I am right. This would mean the purity preamp can provide one with greater flexibility with SS and Tube Amplifiers and maintain a good system synergy at the same time. It is very important that the pre-amp is controlling the power amp correctly. When done correctly the Power amp then controls the speaker correctly as If its got an iron grip on the woofers.
I also wanted to mention. The Purity Preamp is so resolving it Is very sensitive to cables and amplifiers. You can hear the difference in the chain soon as you change something small. So the purity amp is harder to setup. Overall the purity is a step above VAC this I have found through my own investigation by changing around amplifiers, speakers and DAC/Cables. I think the price different is approx. 6000 dollars or so not sure when comparing both amps. So that's something to consider."
"Im curious on how the VAC Statement Stacks up against the purity audio GT Series."
"One thing I regret doing is I never opened up The VAC Pre-amp whilst it was in my possession. I am a sucker for Exotic components and wanted to see under the VAC hood. If you look at the purity audio specs you will realise no other company has done what bill has done in his designed. Basically its like leaving no stone unturned he has used the best of everything and created a master piece."