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Deco Bespoke Passive pre


Under our ‘Bespoke Modifications’ service we also make special products to order. Recently we have had increasing demand for simple passive pre amplifiers and so have decided to feature them here. The beauty with this is there’s no standard product - you choose the exact specification, from the housing used, through to the components used.

The average entry level build costs in the region of £200, but we don’t scrimp on the quality - parts often include an aluminium extruded case, silver plated socketry, our level one silver wiring and quality potentiometer. A cheaper ABS boxed version with a more basic potentiometer could also be made for an even lower cost if required. More deluxe versions with higher grade potentiometers or switched attenuators and our level two cotton covered silver wiring can cost in the region of £400-£600 depending upon exact specification.

For more information on costings please contact us with details including the number of inputs required, details of the system it will be used with and we will design a unique passive to your requirements.  

Audion Select 1.0

The Select 1.0 is a new passive pre amplifier from Audion that offers a very attractive and affordable way to control multiple sources. It is housed in a cut down version of the Premier chassis and naturally features the same aluminium and stainless construction materials. The classic Alps Blue Velvet is the volume pot is used and it’s combined with input switching for 5 line level inputs via the front mounted toggle switches. As shown in the picture below there are two pre amp outputs as well as a ‘Tape’ output which can be used to feed a recorder or headphone amplifier, so it also offers great flexibility when required (a little care with the impedances of connected items may be required if all the outputs are wired simultaneously, as a passive design means the source has to drive them all, but we can advise on this on an individual basis).

As you’d expect with a good passive pre amplifier the sound is open and natural, in fact it’s remarkably transparent for a product at this price level with no added grain to get in the way of the music. What’s more the absence of noise generating active devices means that it’s silent even when combined with very sensitive power amps and speakers.   

Audion Select 1.0 passive pre amplifier: £879.00

Audion Premier pre amplifier


The Audion Premier is valve pre amplifier that is available in two versions, a line level only model and a MM phono equipped version (as pictured here). Both versions features 6 inputs, have two outputs and a ground lift switch to ensure hum free operation in many different systems. The valves used are the Sovtek 6H23 (a 6922 equivalent) and the amplifier has a wonderfully open and transparent sound.

Audion Premier Line: £1,849

Audion Premier MM Phono and line:  £2,459

Audion Premier Plus MM Phono and line, with remote control volume:  £3,959

Audio Note M1 Line and M1 Phono

Housed in the near 2/3rds width Audio Note chassis, there are two versions of the M1 available. The M1 Line is a line level only pre amplifier featuring an ECC82 dual triode valve. It has switchable feedback on the output stage which reduces gain and lowers output impedance.

The M1 Phono (as pictured here) is the same as the M1 Line but with the addition of a high quality MM phono stage built in, which uses ECC83 and 6DJ8 valves.

Available with silver or black acrylic fascia.

Audio Note M1 Line level pre amplifier: £POA at manufacturers request

Audio Note M1 Phono & Line level pre amplifier : £POA at manufacturers request

Design by Mr K PPA-01 and PPA-02B

Regular customers will know of our love for a well designed TVC pre amplifier, and the Design by MR K is just that.

Made in Hong Kong by Advanced Avionics, this is a purist pre amplifier that is simple in its execution. C core Transformer Volume Controls allow 59 fine steps of adjustment via a really high quality rotary control.

There are two versions available, both have a total of three inputs, the PPA-01 has RCA sockets and the PPA-02B (Balanced) has both RCA and XLR inputs and outputs.

There is a choice of four gain settings, for most setups we recommend the standard x1 setting, but if you require additional gain then it is available via a rotary control on the fascia.

Design by Mr K PPA-01 line level pre amplifier: £2,125.00

Design by Mr K PPA-02B line level pre amplifier with balanced and single ended connections: £2,850.00


Audio Note M2

The M2 pre amplifier is available in two versions, the line level only version and the M2 Phono which adds an internal phono stage.

The line level stage employs a 6SN7 valve and is fed from a valve rectified and regulated supply comprising a 6X5 and ECL82.

The Phono stage equipped version includes an ECC83 and 6DJ8 for its MM phono stage.

Available with silver or black acrylic fascia.

Audio Note M2 Line level pre amplifier: £POA at manufacturers request

Audio Note M2 Phono & Line level pre amplifier : £POA at manufacturers request

Audion Select TVC

The Audion Select TVC is a very high quality Transformer Volume Control pre amplifier with 5 line level inputs and 23 steps of attenuation via the rotary control on the front. It also features an additional overall +6dB and -10dB gain switch on the rear, meaning that it can be used with all sorts of different system gain levels. Wound in house with copper wire at the Audion factory, the transformers are housed in screening cans and connected with silver hook up wire.

As you’d expect with a good TVC the sound is colourful, vibrant and dynamic - not in an additive way, just that it’s not greying or shrinking the sound as you would find with most alternative means of adjusting the volume.

Audion Select TVC line level pre amplifier: £4,399.00

Audio Note M3

The M3 uses a choke smoother valve rectified power supply and 5687 valves driving HiB double C-core copper output transformers. It produces an effortless sound with a wonderfully deep and spacious sound stage. Available with silver or black acrylic fascia.

Audio Note M3 Line level pre amplifier: £POA at manufacturers request

Audio Note M3 Phono & Line level pre amplifier : £POA at manufacturers request

The Bespoke Audio Company TVC Preamplifier

The Bespoke Audio Company may be a new name on the hifi scene, but the founders of the company, Harry and Lucy, have had many years of experience developing and building transformer volume control pre amplifiers.

Their ethos is refreshingly different, not only is their attention to detail, fit and finish bordering on the obsessive, but they aim to offer a unique buying experience that lifts this from just being another piece of (exquisite) hifi to something that is as personal to you as a tailored suit.

Almost every part can be customised to your needs, from the connections and features through to the cosmetics - there is no such thing as ‘off the shelf’ at the Bespoke Audio Company. There are too many options to detail here, but if you can imagine it, then chances are The Bespoke Audio Co will be able to make it a reality.

Arriving in a serious flight case, packed with a personalised manual, it’s somewhat larger (and much heavier) than the images might suggest, almost completely filling a standard sized hi-fi shelf. Internally there are two large multi tapped transformers that are the heart of the pre amplifier, these provide 46 steps of volume control, almost twice the number featured on the majority of other TVC pre amplifiers. The transformers are wound on custom made bobbins, featuring oversized cores enabling colossal overload margins (30 volts - well above the level any pre amplifier will ever experience, meaning there is no chance of dynamics killing saturation ever occurring). All internal wiring is cotton covered copper or silver (depending upon the version) which is carefully hand laced together into beautiful looms - I can’t remember the last time I saw that being done!

The example pictured here has 3 unbalanced inputs (via gold WBT Nextgen sockets), 3 balanced inputs and both balanced and unbalanced outputs - but naturally any combination of connectors can be supplied. Please click on pictures for larger versions.

The volume control is motorised and remote controlled, yet it does so quietly and smoothly, and without spoiling the excellent feel of the control when used manually. Hidden underneath is switching for lifting the ground if required (they are also hidden on the internal views, look for the two semi circular pieces towards the rear of the chassis).

We have compared the Bespoke pre amplifiers to many much more expensive pre amplifiers, but to date, this is the only one that stands out as being truly reference grade. As ever with a very good TVC it’s almost impossible to describe the sound - which appears to have so little intrusion on the music that it’s close to being ‘inaudible’.

Except of course it isn’t, and nothing ever can be, but rather than defining the presentation or tonality, it’s what it reveals that others miss out on that defines the sound of this pre amplifier. Great transparency is a given, but there’s also a delicate touch, and a layering to the presentation which keeps individual sounds well placed and separate, both in terms of their tonal identity as well as their physical space in the sound stage. There’s a naturalness and effortlessness too, no doubt in part due to the cotton covered wiring, with no fear of the sound ever becoming hard or aggressive.

Speed and dynamics are incredibly impressive, making almost every other pre amplifier sound thick and muted. As for the differences between the cotton and silver versions - well I’d simply say that the usual improvements are noted with the silver, there’s a delicacy, speed, and tonal correctness that it has that makes it worth every penny over the copper version if you can afford it - it really is one of those products that you shouldn’t audition if it’s over budget, for you will forever know what you’re missing out. In isolation, you would never criticise the copper version for these failings, as it already excels here anyway, but it just goes to show what it possible when taken to extremes.

In summary this is an incredibly well evolved product for a new company, and one that should set the benchmark both for sonic's as well as the whole buying experience - I can't remember the last time I saw such a complete product from a new firm, with everything from packaging, paperwork and product being presented so beautifully. To see what happens when you commission a Bespoke pre amplifier please click here.

Dimensions: Height 110mm, Width 305mm,Depth 345mm

Weight: 14kg

Finish: completely customisable, seemingly limited only by your imagination

Price: from circa £15,000 with copper wiring and £21,665 with Silver wiring

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