My First Sound Presence Deluxe III-Si 4.0 preamp with Paramount Special Edition upgrade

Puma Cat

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Feb 21, 2011
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Thought I'd share with you guys the preamp I've been using for the last year and half. It's the First Sound Presence Deluxe MkIII-SI, a 3-chassis unit w/ the Paramount Special Edition upgrade using Audio Cap copper capacitors.

The First Sound preamps are essentially "bespoke" preamps, each one crafted and tuned specifically for the owner's system and system components. The design is a true dual-mono design, essentially two preamps in one main control chassis "box" and not one, but two external power supplies, Shunyata Research umbilicals, and the "special edition" upgrade.

The power supply has 145,200 uF of capacitance/channel for a total of 290,400 uF of power supply capacitance to maximize performance while minimizing the impact of noise and vibration on the main circuit. Additionally, there are two chassis in in the main control unit, with an inner chassis comprised of copper-plated steel to function as a Faraday cage to further reduce the impact of external noise.

Special care is also provided to provide vibration-damping and even the fasteners were selected based on comprehensive, long-term, listening tests.

Notable are hand-assembled volume controls, utilizing individual exceptionally high-quality metal film resistors at each gain position and a massive power supply, exceeding the power supply capacitance and "stiffness" of many high-end power amplifiers.

 
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Puma Cat

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Feb 21, 2011
100
153
430
Top view without the covers; there are only two tubes, a 6DJ8 and OA tube per channel. The preamp is a true dual-mono design; two mono preamps mounted in a single chassis.



Just some, but not all of the power supply capacitance...the blue and brown wire is Shunyata Research OFE wire connecting everything. Emmanuel Go and Caelin Gabriel of Shunyata Research collaborated on incorporating several Shunyata technologies into First Sound preamps. The 6DJ8 triodes can also be seen in this photo. These tubes are super-durable, with mean life over 100,000 hours.



The back panel shows input jacks, wiring and huge copper bus bars for making and grounding connections. Note that there is no ground wire for each RCA jack, only a single + connection. There is also no insulation on the wires so as to not have any dielectric effect from various insulation materials; the dielectric in this case is air. The entire copper bus bar serves a ground for all inputs. There is also a switch (little red box) for each channel that lets me float the ground in the advent of any ground hum (there isn't; this preamp is DEAD QUIET).


A close-up of the volume attenuator with individual metal film resistors.


There are also large, heavy, copper bus bars for chassis-grounding.


AudioCap copper capacitors.



A view of the front panel and part of the chassis interior...
 
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Puma Cat

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Feb 21, 2011
100
153
430
A pic inside one of the external power supplies for each channel. Each power supply chassis incorporate two Shunyata Research CCI-X noise reduction filters, so noise-reducing power cords are not required. Connections are made using Amphenol connectors and the power supply umbilicals are also Shunyata wire.

 
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Addicted to hifi

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Thought I'd share with you guys the preamp I've been using for the last year and half. It's the First Sound Presence Deluxe MkIII-SI, a 2 chassis unit w/ the Paramount Special Edition upgrade using Audio Cap copper capacitors.

The First Sound preamps are essentially "bespoke" preamps, each one crafted and tuned specifically for the owner's system and system components. The design is a true dual-mono design, essentially two preamps in one main control chassis "box" and not one, but two external power supplies, Shunyata Research umbilicals, and the "special edition" upgrade.

The power supply has 145,200 uF of capacitance/channel for a total of 290,400 uF of power supply capacitance to maximize performance while minimizing the impact of noise and vibration on the main circuit. Additionally, there are two chassis in in the main control unit, with an inner chassis comprised of copper-plated steel to function as a Faraday cage to further reduce the impact of external noise.

Special care is also provided to provide vibration-damping and even the fasteners were selected based on comprehensive, long-term, listening tests.

Notable are hand-assembled volume controls, utilizing individual exceptionally high-quality metal film resistors at each gain position and a massive power supply, exceeding the power supply capacitance and "stiffness" of many high-end power amplifiers.

Very very nice.
 

Puma Cat

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Feb 21, 2011
100
153
430
Very very nice.
Thank you, its a truly remarkable preamp. I'm about to send the external power supplies back to Emmanuel as there is an update to the Shunyata CCI-X filters. I'll be using a buddy's Consellation Inspiration integrated amp in the interim (which is pretty amazing in it's own right).
 
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Puma Cat

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Feb 21, 2011
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The two external power supply chassis. Each is powered with a Shunyata Research Alpha XC (current specification) power cord. A noise reduction power cord is not required because each power supply "box" has two internal Shunyata CCI-X noise reduction filters. These are plugged into a Shunyata Everest power distributor and the preamp benefits from the Everest's massive internal QR-BB device to provide an abundant supply of charge to the preamp's power supply as required during dynamic passages. To say this preamp can kick some serious ass would be an understatement.
 

Puma Cat

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Feb 21, 2011
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Some detail shots....

The volume pots are comprised of two individual volume knobs, each with very high precision Holco metal film resistors soldered with silver solder. All internal wiring is point-to-point.


The First Sound uses a very sophisticated grounding methodology and all ground connections run to massive, ultra-pure oxygen-free copper bus bars.

You can also see the amount of ultra-pure oxygen-free copper on the back panel to make grounding connections for the input and output jacks.


None of the signal wires utilize any dielectric materials, instead, air-insulation is utilized.
 

Gjo

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Aug 22, 2021
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I owned a First Sound Presence Deluxe II; it was phenomenal. Massive soundstage and image. It made wonderful music.

Yours must sound exceptional. Enjoy!
 
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Bobvin

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An end-game pre-amp for sure. The “only” drawback I could ever muster is having two adjust to volume controls without a remote. The sound speaks for itself, remarkable!
 

Puma Cat

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Feb 21, 2011
100
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An end-game pre-amp for sure. The “only” drawback I could ever muster is having two adjust to volume controls without a remote. The sound speaks for itself, remarkable!
Hey, Bob, nice to see you here. Cheers, mate!
 
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No Regrets

Well-Known Member
Jan 24, 2012
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Midwest USA
Thought I'd share with you guys the preamp I've been using for the last year and half. It's the First Sound Presence Deluxe MkIII-SI, a 3-chassis unit w/ the Paramount Special Edition upgrade using Audio Cap copper capacitors.

The First Sound preamps are essentially "bespoke" preamps, each one crafted and tuned specifically for the owner's system and system components. The design is a true dual-mono design, essentially two preamps in one main control chassis "box" and not one, but two external power supplies, Shunyata Research umbilicals, and the "special edition" upgrade.

The power supply has 145,200 uF of capacitance/channel for a total of 290,400 uF of power supply capacitance to maximize performance while minimizing the impact of noise and vibration on the main circuit. Additionally, there are two chassis in in the main control unit, with an inner chassis comprised of copper-plated steel to function as a Faraday cage to further reduce the impact of external noise.

Special care is also provided to provide vibration-damping and even the fasteners were selected based on comprehensive, long-term, listening tests.

Notable are hand-assembled volume controls, utilizing individual exceptionally high-quality metal film resistors at each gain position and a massive power supply, exceeding the power supply capacitance and "stiffness" of many high-end power amplifiers.

Not only is this a top-flight pre, but Emmanual Go is a true gentleman and an absolute asset to the audiophile community! I have been enjoying my Presence Audio for many years and can't ever imagine replacing it.

fullsizeoutput_5f8e.jpeg

Best wishes to all for a healthy and happy holiday season!
Don
 

longinc

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Nov 27, 2020
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@Puma Cat very very nice preamp! thank you for sharing. I am considering buying a preamp from Emmanuel. I really like his approach but I have yet to hear one. And the press info/reviews on his preamps are limited (and mostly dated) though all very positive. I was curious which other preamps did you consider before landing on the First Sound? (if you prefer, you can private message me too). Thank you!

@No Regrets If you are open to sharing your experience of the First Sound (and comparisons to other preamps you have heard), I would be most grateful. (similarly, happy to chat over private message too if that works better).

@tvad what made you move from the FS pre and what did you move to? (feel free to PM me if you prefer)
 
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Puma Cat

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Feb 21, 2011
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Not only is this a top-flight pre, but Emmanual Go is a true gentleman and an absolute asset to the audiophile community! I have been enjoying my Presence Audio for many years and can't ever imagine replacing it.

View attachment 86655

Best wishes to all for a healthy and happy holiday season!
Don
Hi Don,
I agree....Emmanuel is a class act, a true gentleman, and one of the most gracious folks you could hope to meet. HIs First Sound preamps are a true labor of love. BTW, yours looks just like mine.
 
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Kingrex

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Feb 4, 2019
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I love my Mark III SI with duel power supply. Had it for years. I use a Telefunken E88CC tubes. I prefer them over the IFI tube Puma has in now. The IFI is very clean but lacks a little something. IMO. I tried the Seimens too. And a few others Upscale Audio carries. I prefer the Telefunken. So far I have 3000 or so hours on my preamp tubes and they are still dead quiet. I don't hear any change swapping them out with fresh tubes. They are worth the $300 each. I have 5 sets of preamp tubes. That is my dedication to the preamp. I don't see ever changing it out.

I actually use the 2 volume knobs. At times I may listen with my wife in the room. If she is on the sofa, I turn one side down by 2 clicks so she does not get blasted out being right in front of one speaker. Or maybe I am just laying on the sofa. I do the same and it brings a better balance as I am so out of center with the speakers.

I have also abused my jacks as I swap stuff in and out quite often. They all stay rock solid in place.

I also like the tape bypass switch. You can put a source into it and go out to say a headphone amp that has its own volume and totally bypass the First Sound. The First Sound does not even have to be turned on for it to function.

The remote power supplies care less about what they are sitting on. Nothing seems to impact the sound. The main chassis with the volume do care. Still Points help in my situation. The preamp power supply do react to the power cord. But they are not hyper sensitive to it. I feed them with a #12 awg minimum.
 

No Regrets

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Jan 24, 2012
157
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Midwest USA
I've been using NOS Mullard CV2493 in mine. Absolutely no noise, no tube rush with my ears right up against the 91dB sensitive speakers.... nothing but glorious sound! Very expensive but well worth the cost, and as mentioned... they last forever in this circuit :)

Best wishes,
Don
 
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Puma Cat

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Feb 21, 2011
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Hey Don and Kingrex,
Thanks for your input on the tubes, guys. I'll have to see what I can find to roll into the First Sound. Don, I have used the NOS Mullard CV2493s myself in another component, so I should see if I can find a NOS pair to try. Getting a set of Telefunken E88CC tubes might be more challenging. Kingrex, agreed on the platform the power supplies are resting on. Mine sit on an a veneered particle board platform resting on four Diversitech antivibration pads. As for the main control unit, I have some Stillpoints Ultra Minis I could try as well as some of the Shunyata SSF-38 and SSF-50 footers I can also try. Emmanuel said he liked the Shunyata SSF footers, of the ones he had tried. More fun stuff...
 
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Puma Cat

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Feb 21, 2011
100
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The preamp power supply do react to the power cord. But they are not hyper sensitive to it. I feed them with a #12 awg minimum.
Yep, I'm using Shunyata Alpha XC power cords to power the external power supplies, connected to my Shunyata Everest power distributor. I tried the Sigma XCs in this position but they were simply more horsepower than I needed in my small space. Like driving a Porsche GT2 RS in the canyons on the back side of the Napa Valley; more grunt than you can use or need; a Porsche GT3 is better in that use-case.
 

Kingrex

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Feb 4, 2019
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Yep, I'm using Shunyata Alpha XC power cords to power the external power supplies, connected to my Shunyata Everest power distributor.
I never tried it in a power conditioner. How does it change the presentation?

I'm trading in my Cayman S for an all electric Macan when it comes out in 2 years.
 

No Regrets

Well-Known Member
Jan 24, 2012
157
119
350
Midwest USA
Hey Don and Kingrex,
Thanks for your input on the tubes, guys. I'll have to see what I can find to roll into the First Sound. Don, I have used the NOS Mullard CV2493s myself in another component, so I should see if I can find a NOS pair to try. Getting a set of Telefunken E88CC tubes might be more challenging. Kingrex, agreed on the platform the power supplies are resting on. Mine sit on an a veneered particle board platform resting on four Diversitech antivibration pads. As for the main control unit, I have some Stillpoints Ultra Minis I could try as well as some of the Shunyata SSF-38 and SSF-50 footers I can also try. Emmanuel said he liked the Shunyata SSF footers, of the ones he had tried. More fun stuff...
Any time! I liked the NOS Mullard CV2493's so much that I ended up buying over 20 pairs... I wanted to make sure that I had a life time supply of them :)

I am also using them in my Wavestream Kinetics Deluxe Reference Level 5.1 phono amp to excellent effect! This is a high gain, 62dB all tube design, that does not use any FET's or SUT's in it at all. I'm not sure if these tubes will last as long in this application as they do in my First Sound, but the sound is glorious, to say the least. I may end up buying more of them myself as I don't ever want to run out of these tubes.

Best wishes,
Don
 
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