Thursday, August 4, 2011

Silbatone C-100 Preamplifier

Tubes used in C-100 - from left to right
4 - Bendix 6900
2 - CEI 7062
2 - Siemens D3a


The C-100 is our latest statement in MC phono and line preamplification. Since we are still great analog enthusiasts, we tried to achieve something very special in MC phono design in the C-100 project because it is hard to find really great phono preamplifiers and we took it as a duty to expand the art.

Our phono stage uses a German telecom-grade D3a tube in a radical new transconductance amplifier circuit that achieves a remarkable 10000x gain after the first tube, with very low distortion and super low noise. Equalization is implemented using passive LCR filters with nickel core inductors and precision matched capacitors.
Our MC step up trans are silver litz wound on huge amorphous cores and we are confident that they are among the top few units available at any price anywhere, because we compared everything out there, vintage and new, and we know the real story on transformer quality. We think this is the best you can get at any price.

The C-100 line stage offers balanced or unbalanced inputs and outputs, featuring silver wired stepped-impedance volume controls with an integral input transformer, a pair of rare NOS Bendix 6900 triode tubes in a self-balancing Blumlein arrangement, and a silver wired line output transformer on an amorphous core.  This topology was inspired by classic studio program amplifiers but realized with a discriminating modern ear for components and materials.

All in all, the C-100 design is as close as we could get to using only tubes and wire. Low audio parts count and simple signal path although we took a technically sophisticated and expensive path to get there. No capacitors are used in the line stage and only one coupling cap at the output of the phono stage. Silver litz cabling is used throughout the unit.

All of this adds up to a rather substantial and sturdy package worthy of the King of Preamps, housed in a machined aluminum enclosure finished to Silbatone’s customary high standard of visual appeal and mechanical solidity.