Silbatone C-100 Reference Preamplifier
The C-100 is our highest achievement in a full featured MC phono and line preamplifier. 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 capable feat of engineering 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.
"This is one of the very few preamps about which you no longer need to debate whether it is really good. The
Holger Barske, Editor in Chief, LP Magazin für analoges Hi-Fi und Vinyl-Kultur, 4/2011
L101 Line Amplifier with WE262B Triode
Back in the 1980s, the ideal audio component was considered to be equivalent to a “straight wire with gain.” At Silbatone, we know this is not enough. In the case of our L-101 Line amplifier, comparing it with a direct connection from a digital source shows that it is the direct connection that is missing something crucial to musical understanding and appreciation that our preamplifier provides. Our goal is to produce preamplifiers that make musical experience better in every way—both more vivid and more realistic, making an important contribution to listening pleasure rather than adding noise and electronic colorations to the signal as so many current designs.
The L-101 is a marvel in circuit simplicity. Asilver wire input transformer allows for balanced or unbalanced inputs. A 64 step relay-switched silver wire nickel core autoformer provides adjustable gain trim to establish proper system sensitivity. A Western Electric 262B small signal triode is the primary active device in the signal path, configured in a novel “zero volt in, zero volt out” structure which is directly coupled, requiring no signal capacitors at input or output. The 262B is directly coupled to a buffer using select 8416 triodes driving silver wire output transformers, providing balanced and unbalanced connections. Bandwidth is 10hz-200khz with a remarkable musical presentation.
The L-101 power supply is double-regulated, with a remarkably low noise floor and featuring an extremely fast buffer optimized for audio performance sidestepping the sonic footprint that lesser regulator designs impose on musical sound. Noiseless, smooth, and natural music is our goal and sophisticated power supply approaches are essential resources for getting there.
As dedicated preamplifier specialists, Silbatone has been leading the way in low level amplification for some years but we feel that a new level of performance has been discovered with our L-101 Line Preamplifier. Those seeking the best possible line amplification need look no further!