Dee*** from UK (2023.6.26.)
Richard from Boston, USA (2023.9.5.)
This is the best sound quality I’ve ever heard when using the Brunoco Terra 6L6PP power amplifier. I build my own amps (tube and solid state) and also sell other manufacturers products. and have the expeirence gained by using many different components that others have built as well as my own OEM craetions. I’ve tried and have spent a huge amount of my time and money doing this for a very long time;. However, I sense that I’ve finally come to the end of my journey and thought I’d share my findings with you.
The problem with audio is that the more expensive the components, the more detail emerges and along with it, more treble and a harsher tone emerges. It becomes really difficult to match components and the cost becomes almost prohibitive. You need to consider that your room probably amounts to over 60% of your sound quality and that your components do the rest. However, very few of us have a couple hundred grand to spend on something this mundane. Spending excessive money on this hobby isn’t necessary even though iinitilaly it appears to be the answer. It isn’t.
This doesn’t lead you to what live music really sounds like and is what audiophile snobs tend to recommend - keep spending more money. Instead of continually chase components, and lose big money in the porcess, get a really good system assembled and listen to the music instead. I know its hard when you are addicted to acquring gear (buying and selling like crazy) but this is the only way to both enjoy the music and prevent a huge loss of money in the process. Also that good system still is expensive and it doesn’t come together easily unless you’ve tried everything known to man. I have.
I’ve also been a professional jazz piano player and know what real instruments sound like in vearious rooms. I’ve tried for decades to come up with a sound quality that I like knowing that there are so many things that affect audiophile compoonents (room, preferences, component selection, cost, etc). I’ve tried to limit my expenditure to $10,000 per component even though my current DAC (Bricasti M12) sells for $16,000. I’m now considering going back to my previous favorite, the Bricasti M3 with network card, to see if it will come close enough to the sound quality of the M12. If so, I can pocket the difference in cost (which is substantial) A similarly loaded M3 costs $6,500 rather than $16,000 and that’s alot.
I’m now trying to aqssemble the least costly system (but a really good one and still expensive) that has the most musical presentation. Do this for yourself and you will benefit. However, you don’t have the experience, the money, nor the time in this hobby that I do and haven’t lost as much moeny as I have. If you, like me, chase gear, you’lll waste the price of a small house and lose way more than the cfost of a really nice car. Do you really want to do that?
I finally built my own 45 tube amp maybe two years ago (parts cost without tubes was over $6,000). Because it put out less than 2 w/ch, I had to use high efficiency speakers. Both the amp and the speakers were expensive but this system brought me closer to what I was looking for. This was the best I could assemble until I discoverd the Burnoco amplifier. I’ll continue to share what I went through to get to that starting from the build of my 45 tube amp. Prior to then, I spent decades trying all of the greatest componetns anyone could own. You name it and I probably owned it. I’ve owned in excess of 40 different DACs in the last 5-8 years alone and can share what each one has that I liked or didn’t like.
Fortunately, I used a Voxativ A2.6 with Charney horns (101 db efficient) with the Charney enclosures and found that combination to bean excellent match for the 45 tube amp. However, it still couldn’t play all kinds of music genres and I sold it. I then moved to a six channel Linkwitz LXSirius based system. I built my own Pass designed ASP crossover and had control of each of the six channels of amplification volume while using 6 channels of power amplification. Having enough power is important and 2 w/ch, even though these watts sounded superb with the right music, were not what I was looking for. However, the 45 tube was the only tube that I’d use up until that point in time (it was that good). I really disliked 300B amps and 2A3 amps and favored the 45 tube considerably more but none of these did it for me.
The Linkwitz system sounded excellent but I sold it and Linkwitz in Germany wouldn’t sell another pair of LXSirius for me to go back to this system a 2nd time so I moved on. I even built a second pair of subwoofers (identical to my first LXSirius system) and this time built two costom seperate amplifiers using NCore amps. Cabling and other items required a huge amount of design time but eventually I was able to do this. But I quit and moved on and will ot go back to any Linkwitz system. That experience was just too negative for me. Thie system was superb for its size and pleased me more than the 45/Charney combination but it still wasn’t right and was extremely difficult to put together.
I then used 2 different electronic crossovers provided by SPL and JLAudio to power the 2nd pair of subwoofers I built but the system sounded better without the crossovers. I discovered that my speaker cables need upgrding first. I was using a 4 way system similar in design to the Linkwitz system that I previouls liked but this system just didn’t sound right.
I purchased a pair of expensive DHLabs silver speaker cables instead (retail around $7,000+ for the pair) and sure enough, this was a way better decision. For those of you cable fans who don’t believe in spending money on cables, this purchase was better for me than an equivalent expenditure on electronic components. It was like getting a huge improvement in sound quality by spending $10,000 to $20,000 on just a power amp uprade. However, because of the expense of those cables (still an excellent decision but it cost some), I let go of going back and trying the CR-1 crossover that I like from JLAudio better than the SPL unit. Currently, I have no plans to revisit that idea.
I then purchased a pair of Mon Acoustic Platimon bookshelf speakers but when I received them, I found the included stands too short for my use by at least 2” and up to 5”. I then pruchased a pair of electric heigh adjustable stands and now could model these speakers at different heights. The lowest I could use was 24” and that height so far if my favoirte. But, I do listen to the monitors as high as maybe 26” or 27” at times.
I’m a near field listener and flank my computer heigh adjustable desk with my speakers and listen whiile I work. I hear everything because of close plximity of these speakers (with minimal reaction from my room) and hence balancing the sound quality is extremely improtant. If speakers are too forward, I hear it and can’t listen. Everything needs to be exquisitely balanced.
I still use room treatments but my cost to do so is reasonable due to my near feild requirements. Further back in a room, treble wouldn’t be as prominent and I could get away with a fairly transparent system. But, then, room interaction and reoom treatment would step in and I’m not willing to go that route. My listening room isn’t perfect enough and I don’t want to spend additional money treating my room. I place my monitors about 2 feet from the wall behind them and that’s how I listen. It allows my other things (desk, computer, etc) to work well and not have to focus on my audiophile listening needs only. If I focused on just a listening only envirnomnet then I could eliminate these other costly items but I can’t. I like to listen to music while I work and don’t like the low quality desktop systems. Instead, I want something that is breathtaking and that I really enjoy.
Finally, after decades of trying and a huge amount of money spent I finally found the first sytem that I now absolutely love - this one.
The Bricasit DAC is key to this system. It provides tremendous detail but in a way that isn’t harsh. It also adds an element of body that I typically only achieved with tube amps and not solid state even though this DAC is solid state. Priod to the Bricasti DAC I used the Holo May Kitsune DAC and the Terminator DAC and the Lampizator Baltic 4 with volume control and Innous USB cleaner and like the Bricasti immensely more.
The network card connection using RJ45 cables rather than USB make the huge positive different through selecting this DAC. Prior to this DAC I was using a Lampizator Baltic 4 with volume control and an Innous Phoenix USB “cleaner” between my Mac Studio and my DAC. Now, I stream Tidal and Qobuz directly from my modem to my RJ45 cables and unroll the stream inside the Bricasti DAC and go right to i2S. I sold my new Lampizator DAC along with the Innuos Phenix USB unit and cables after connecting a Bricast M3 that Brian at Bricasti loaned to me. One quick listen and I chantged. That was all that it took. I saved a huge amount of money in the process and that didn’t hurt.
Honestly, I should have kept my M3 DAC for this system instead of upgrading to the M12 DAC. However, both are excellent and it all depends upon how much money you want to spend. The M12 is not a bad decision but it is expensive. The M3 is almost as good for significatnly lessl money. I’d love to have either and if money was no object, I’d chose the M12 DAC. However, it is and the M3 DAC probably is good enough for my use and I’m really picky.
So now I have excellent transparent speakers (on the slight side of warm from dead neutral) and a DAC wish excellent detail and body. The power amplifier decision was next. I used the AGD Tempo di Gan Stereo amp with this system and found that this solid state amp was the best solid state amp I’ve heard. However, it still didn’t have the body of tubes and this bugged me. It sounded better than a 100lb Pass amp that was my previous solid state favorite and this small AGD amp was less than 10 pounds. Amazing. However, still it was not good enough and I sold it.
I have been watching the reviews done by Jay Iyagi on uTube and contacted Brunoco to check out their amp. I gave up on 300B, 2A3, and 45 tube amps. None of these had enough headroom to paly alll kinds of music. I also tried most name brand solid state amps and those didn’t interest me either. I found that speakers need to be betwween 90 to 95 effiicient to use good amps and none of the tube amps I built or purchased were powerful enough. I have never used a 6L6 tube and stayed away from push pull amps and instead was exploring solid state again but once again, I found that neither sounded right for me. I was a typical audiophile snob but “held my nose” and decided to purchase a Brunoco 6L6 push pull amplifier from Korea and check it out. Total cost was low enough that I figured it might sound good and if not, I could afford to sell it.
When I received it and connected it to my system, I finally found the sound quality that I have been looking for all of my life. I was in shock at how easy this was and the cost of that amp was extremely low and much lower than I would normally have spent.
This combination with the MonAcoustic Platimon, the Bricasti M12, the DHLabs Diety speaker cables, The DHLabs Revelation RCA cables between the DAC and power amp, and the Brunoco power amplifier (The Terra 6L6PP) was just absolutely amazing.
Now that I had the system I was looking for, having tubes in a power amp allowed me to use all of my NOS tubes and listen to differences. However, NOS tubes weren’t as good and had the peak and valleys I didn’t like when using tubes plus they were really expensive and finding a matched quad was really difficult The original JJ new production tube set that came with this amp stillll sounded the best so I then begain experimenting using all new production tubes. In the end, I found the Tungsol 6L6 STR tubes to be the best power tubes for this amp. Even though the JJ12AU7 sounded good, the best sound quality came from a qud of Psvane 12AU7S tubes. That is the tube combination that I’m going to use and I’ll explain how I arrived at that decision.
I have been following Timothy on uTube and his journey using the Brunoco tube amp. He changed his coupling caps to 8 Dueland caps and removed the original caps. I now undertand why he did this but advise against doing so for anyone else. His final tube selection was a Tungsol 7581A. He did try the Tungsol 6L6GC STR that I found amazing but after he made the capacitor change and not before. So the Tungsol 6L6GC STR probably was too bright for him due to the added transperency of his Dueland capaictors.
I found that the Tungsol 6L6GC Str were just right using the original capacitors that came with the Brunoco amp. I did solder in Dueland bypass caps (both silver and copper) and didn’t like the presentation so didn’t make the move that Timothy did. I watied until he was done figuring out what sounded best in his system. He had to add the Dueland to get back more high frequency and midrange magic that he lost when he changed the caps. The Psvane 12AU7S are the same tubes that he’s using and I’m using but the caps and power tubes vary. I sense that he isn’t really gaining as much as you would think for the trouble involved in removing the orignal capacitors and soldering in the Duenlands.
In all honesty, I cannot imagine trying to solder in those larger Dueland caps and then having to use the Tungsol 7581a tubes when all that you need to do is to leave the caps alone (use the originals) and use the Tungsol 6L6 STR tubes instead. That is what I’ve figured out thanks to watching his adventure and I really appreciate his going through the motions (and not me) and my understanding of what he accomplished due to my extenive experience from building gear.
I highly recommend that you keep the Brunoco amplifier”stock" as you would receive it but that you change the 4 power tubes to Tunsol 6L6GC STR and that you change the 4 12au7 tubes to a quad of Psvane 12AU7S tubes and then quit.
This combination of tubes works well with any system and you can flavor your tubes differently if you like but I know you’ll come back to this combination in the end. It is the best I’ve ever heard or used and I should know from all of the OEM building and retail selling of many systems that have gone through my hands. I also use parametric EQ in my Roon player with this sytem and have been able to further “tweak” the sound quality exactly for my preferences and my room acoustics. The network components you need to connect to your modem, however, is another challenge and one that I’ve figured out but am not going to share within this review. If any of you purchase comoonents from me (I’m an audio reseller) I’ll provide that info for free. But for others, its just not avialble.
My Mac Studio plays Roon and accesses Tidal but the Tidal file comes through my modem and goes through the network components that I use and each sound file gets “unrolled” inside the Bricasti DAC and then enters the DAC i2S. There is no connection with my computer and my DAC and I’ve eliminated using USB altogether. The sound file does not get unrooled inside my computer or an external server. The network card inside the Bricasti does this and does it for only $1,000. This is the best kept secret in audio today and most audiophiles believe that a $1,000 solution isn’t good enough. However, it probably is equal to the Innous statement top of the line streamer in sound quality and it only costs $1,000 and not close to $20,000. That’s a gift but only if you try it. Once you do, you won’t go back to using any streamer and can use virtually any low cost computer to access your streaming source or network NAS server that also can be hung on your network.
Here is the system that I would highly recomend that you purchase:
Bricasti M3 with network card and remote (with my proprietary RJ45 connection components that cost less than $1,000) - I’m a dealer.
Brunoco 6L6PP Terra tube power amplifier - I’m not a dealer and this is factory direct
DHLabs Diety speaker cables (for between your Brunoco and your speakers) - I am a dealer
DHLabs Revlation RCA interconect (for between DAC and power amp) - I am a dealer
MonAcoustics Platimon bookwhelf speakers - I am a dealer
(optional stands to get different heights)
Tungsol 6L6GC STR quad power tubes - I’m not a dealer
Psvane 12AU7S quad driver tubes - I’m not a dealer
This is a system that will compete with anything many times its cost factor and be relaitvely easy to place in any space (large, medium or small). It will allow for excellent near feild listening or back in the room listening along with the use of a remote.
Set your Brunoco integrated at 1/2 volume and then use your Bricasti DAC to adjust volueme from there with its remote.
The M12 is a more expensive but excellent choice if you want to use it as a world class analog premap and conect a turntable along with your digital music. The M12 has a world class preamplifier conection that the M3 doesn’t. But . . . I’m not a tunrtable guy so I really don’t need it. I only have it because I can and probably shouldn’t. I have chased components long enough to share that my digital setup equals or exceeds the sound quality of just a $20,000 turntable system (turntable, cartridge, toneamr, and phono preamp) source that doesn’t count the money required to purchase the gear above. If you have $40,000 or more to spend, then why not? However, digital is so good and streaming from Tidal alone is so convenient that I no longer bother with vinyl. Its just not worth the trouble. And, my sound quality is probably better.
And, I’ve been waiting to say this for a very long time.
Rob from New Zealand (2023.9.13.)
TT VPI Classic 3 with Hana SL cartridge and sometimes Lyra Delos
Phono ASR Basis Exclusive
CD Player Gamut CD3
DAC Triode Corp TRV-DAC 1.0 SE
Streamer intel NUC running Daphile software and battery powered M2TECH hiFace Two USB output.
Speakers Omega Super Alnico XRS (also recently tried the Falcon Gold Badge LS3/5a speakers.
Cables: Silver Circle (interconnects, speaker & power) - I'm currently running a cheap pair of WBC Mogami 3082 speaker cables from Amazon and quite liking them.
Just a quick (and long overdue) update.