Reviewer: Edgar Kramer 
Financial Interests: Click here 
Source: AMR CD-77.1 CD player, MacBook with BitPerfect player and AIFF files 
Preamplifier: Supratek Reference DHT with Bendix rectifier tube; NuForce P9, NuForce P20, DEQX PreMate 
Amplifier: NuForce Reference 18 monoblocks; Parasound Halo JC1 monoblocks; Odyssey Audio Kismet Reference monoblocks 
Speakers: Wilson Audio Specialties Alexia 
Cables digital: Cerious Technologies; Harmonic Technology Magic; NuForce digital cables; ZenSati Seraphim; analog interconnects - Bocchino Audio Morning Glory; Cable Research Laboratory (CRL) Gold with Bocchino XLR and RCA; Cerious Technologies; DanA Digital Reference Silver; Eichmann eXpress 6 Series 2; ETI Quiessence Reference; Exakte IC; Harmonic Technology Magic and Truthlink Silver; MIT Giant Killer MPC; NuForce IC-700; PSC Audio Monolith AG; PSC Audio Pristine R30 Ribbon; ZenSati Seraphim RCA & XLR; speaker cables - Cerious Technologies; ETI Quiessence Reference; Exakte speaker cable; MIT Giant Killer GK-1 loudspeaker cables; NuForce SC-700; ZenSati Seraphim; power cords - Cerious Technologies AC; Eichmann eXpress AC power cables; Exakte AC; Harmonic Technology Fantasy; PSC Gold Power MKII; Shunyata Research Diamondback 
Stands: SGR Signature racks 
Sundry accessories: Burson Audio Buffer, Bright Star Audio IsoRock Reference 3 and BSA IsoNode feet; Bocchino Audio Mecado isolation diodes; Black Diamond Racing cones; Stillpoints ERS paper in strategic positions, Shakti On Lines; Densen & IsoTek CD demagnetizer; Auric Illuminator CD Treatment 
Room size: 6.4m wide by 7.1m long with high ceiling and narrow cavity behind speakers. Room has been professionally measured and found to be extraordinarily flat and neutral 
Review component retail: US $4'000 line-stage only, US $6'000 with phono stage

A reviewer’s system is most commonly an ever-evolving seemingly organic entity. In this writer’s case, the phenomenon is like a slow-moving tide. It is neither motivated nor driven by change for change’s sake. Nor is it a stimulus in response to the latest trending flavour of the month. This somewhat conservative approach is, in part, derived from a belief that more expensive or newer does not always equate to better. Any equipment adjustments on my part have been the result of the occasional unmissable opportunity followed by the acquisition of a suitable component at moderate ‘pain’, be it financial, material or nostalgic. Further motivation has come from a self-dictated commitment to possess a reference system of appropriate quality to pay justice to the high-end gear I review – be it for 6moons or the other publications I’m associated with such as Audio Esoterica (as editor) and Australian Hi-Fi (as reviews editor). So as a result of a journalistic career now spanning over a decade, (boy time flies when you’re having such fun!) and with well over 100 professional published reviews, the opportunity presented itself time and again to own and review a cornucopia of the audio industry’s best. Lots of gear has come and gone but one item has remained a constant throughout the last 10 years: Mick Maloney’s distinctive Supratek preamplifier.

I first came across this Western Australian company via a recommendation from a US-based fellow reviewer. At the time, Supratek preamplifiers were selling very successfully in America. The then budding enthusiast audio forums were in hysterics over the unique design and excellent sonic performance, with special gushing over the built-in phono stage. It was wildfire enthusiasm. I just had to get my hands on a review unit. That first encounter with the Chardonnay so impressed back in 2004 that I promptly commissioned Maloney to build me an upsized unit in the Sauvignon. Over time, Maloney subsequently updated a number of Sauvignon versions which always refined the designs’ circuitry, periodically wringing performance and operational gains. One of these Sauvignon versions I was delighted to review the following year in 2005

In the ensuing years, the global audio industry changed dramatically. China and Taiwan increased their respective viabilities as competent bases for cost-effective manufacturing. Even so many companies refused to outsource their fabrication and as a result struggled. Some disappeared altogether. And so it was with the uncompromising Mick Maloney who was unyielding in relinquishing production of his creations—something he had refined for over 30 years—to sources outside Australia. Hence with resultant difficulties in competing in such a global market, Supratek the commercial entity fell dormant. Maloney however was anything but. His creative energies saw him continue experimentation and circuit refinement. Finally in 2013, he announced a controlled relaunch of the brand. This was primarily instigated by a revision of a direct-heated triode aka DHT circuit Mick had been experimenting with for quite some time. After months of trials he arrived at a preamplifier subsequently to be known as the Reference DHT, which he felt significantly outperformed all previous circuits derived from 30 years worth of preamplifier design. In particular he was over-enthused with gains made in the phono stage design. No one can explain it better that Mick Maloney himself and the following makes for an absorbing read: