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Reviewer: Steve Marsh
Financial Interests: click here
Downstairs System (my upstairs Bastanis system was not used for this review):
Digital Source: Vecteur D-2 CD Transport, Audio Note DAC Kit 1.2 with upgrades (psu choke, tantalum resistors, Black Gate caps, copper grounding bars on digital chips wired to central ground, Vacuum Tube Valley silver foil/oil output coupling caps)
Analog Source: Nottingham Analogue Mentor turntable with 10” Ace Anna tone arm, Benz LP-S moving coil cartridge
Preamp: Doshi Alaap Purist Mk. II full-function MC tube preamp
Power Amp: Tron 211 SET amp with upgraded exotic-core interstage transformers (General Electric 211 power tubes, Western Electric 417A/5842 input tubes, RCA black plate 5U4GB rectifiers)
Speakers: WLM LaScala floorstanders
Interconnect cables: Music Metre Fidelis digital, Harmony Audio, Acoustic Systems Liveline, Bastanis Epilog I
Power Cords: Bastanis Epilog II on Tron amp, industrial-sourced power cord on Doshi preamp, Shunyata Taipan Helix Alpha on Vecteur transport, stock power cords on remaining components
Speaker Cables: Bastanis Epilog Mk. II, Acoustic Systems Liveline
Equipment Rack: Adona 6-shelf, low profile isolation rack
Power Line Conditioning: PS Audio P300
Sundry accessories: Audio Prism Ground Control on speakers, amp, and preamp; full set of four Stein Harmonizers with Stein Magic Stones, Isoclean Fuses, VPI 16.5 record cleaning machine
Room Size: 29’ long X 16’ wide X 10’ high (sunken living room with open floor plan, listening across width of room)
Review Component Retail Price: magnetic shielding foil (mu metal) 15" wide, 0.010" thick (Cat. # A276-10) at $31.95/linear foot.

The excitement of a new component is like the honeymoon phase of a new relationship. You love all the newfound joys but worry in the back of your mind that some compatibility issues may arise. Such was the case with my purchase of the Doshi Alaap purist full-function tube preamp a year ago. Let me state clearly and right up front that I adore the preamp, particularly its phono stage. From what I gather, the first review of a Doshi standalone phono stage is presently in the works with another publication.

Right from the get I had a hum problem with the Doshi on phono not present with my former Hovland HP-100 MC preamp. My immediate suspicion was that something was wrong with the new preamp due to shipping damage. Nick Doshi was visiting relatives near me and offered to stop by to check things over. After determining that the preamp was operating fine, we experimented with grounding configurations. Nothing helped. What eventually did the trick was Nick lifting the preamp off the shelf, thus increasing the distance between it and my Tron 211 SET amp on the shelf below. The hum decreased with distance from the amp. Apparently the electromagnetic field from the amp caused the hum. For expedience we placed an unused Accuphase DP-70 CD player under the preamp as spacer and the hum was reduced to a much lower though still only barely acceptable level.

I had always placed my preamp on the shelf directly above the amp to minimize the length of interconnects and speaker cables. With both the Tron 211 and former Red Rose 2A Silver Signature I had no phono hum with the Hovland preamp one shelf above. Nick reports that he can place his preamp directly on top of his own amp without hum during vinyl playback. Apparently the hum in my system was an unhappy interaction between Tron and Doshi.