Nagra HD Preamp audition - noob notes

pk_LA

VIP/Donor
Oct 22, 2021
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Today I auditioned the Nagra HD Preamp. Given that there are very few reviews on this product I thought it might be useful to post my thoughts.

First, the system I listened to:
DAC: Nagra Classic
Preamp: Nagra HD Preamp (latest iteration)
Amp: Nagra HD monos
Speakers: YG Sonja 2.2i
Cables: Sorry but I don't have the specifics here other than they were mid-tier audioquest

Reactions: I listened to a variety of tracks from Stimela to Dire Straits to Dido to Rolling Stones to Tom Waits. I was incredibly impressed. While the Nagra lacked a slight amount of detail vs the CH L10 I heard a week ago it had better overall balance imo. It was very neutral - not more than the CH-P though. Very low noise floor - maybe less so than the CH-P. Very musical - more so than the CH-P. That said, I do wonder what effect the tube DAC had on the overall system. I have heard YGs in the past and found them to be unforgiving - accurate to the source even if that meant sharpness or otherwise less than pleasant sounds. But, with the Nagra setup they were never anything but pleasant. Everything sounded effortless independent of the volume - I noticed that as I turned the system lower <-> higher the only thing that changed was the db but not the sonics. Now, to be fair, I did wish for a tick more in the bass dept. The bass was very well defined and controlled but maybe a bit less than I am used to through my d'Agostino s250.

Disclaimer: I am commenting on a preamp that was part of an entire system. This isn't fair - I get that. And, I am making comparisons to my experience a week ago with the CH Precision M10/L10 which was in a very different system and a very large room. That too, isn't maybe fair. All I am really trying to convey here are my impressions without a judgement. I am enjoying more an more as I experience more and I wanted to share that.
 
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Addicted to hifi

VIP/Donor
Sep 8, 2020
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Australia
Today I auditioned the Nagra HD Preamp. Given that there are very few reviews on this product I thought it might be useful to post my thoughts.

First, the system I listened to:
DAC: Nagra Classic
Preamp: Nagra HD Preamp (latest iteration)
Amp: Nagra HD monos
Speakers: YG Sonja 2.2i
Cables: Sorry but I don't have the specifics here other than they were mid-tier audioquest

Reactions: I listened to a variety of tracks from Stimela to Dire Straits to Dido to Rolling Stones to Tom Waits. I was incredibly impressed. While the Nagra lacked a slight amount of detail vs the CH L10 I heard a week ago it had better overall balance imo. It was very neutral - not more than the CH-P though. Very low noise floor - maybe less so than the CH-P. Very musical - more so than the CH-P. That said, I do wonder what effect the tube DAC had on the overall system. I have heard YGs in the past and found them to be unforgiving - accurate to the source even if that meant sharpness or otherwise less than pleasant sounds. But, with the Nagra setup they were never anything but pleasant. Everything sounded effortless independent of the volume - I noticed that as I turned the system lower <-> higher the only thing that changed was the db but not the sonics. Now, to be fair, I did wish for a tick more in the bass dept. The bass was very well defined and controlled but maybe a bit less than I am used to through my d'Agostino s250.

Disclaimer: I am commenting on a preamp that was part of an entire system. This isn't fair - I get that. And, I am making comparisons to my experience a week ago with the CH Precision M10/L10 which was in a very different system and a very large room. That too, isn't maybe fair. All I am really trying to convey here are my impressions without a judgement. I am enjoying more an more as I experience more and I wanted to share that.
Great stuff
 

Zeotrope

Well-Known Member
Feb 12, 2021
468
438
70
47
Today I auditioned the Nagra HD Preamp. Given that there are very few reviews on this product I thought it might be useful to post my thoughts.

First, the system I listened to:
DAC: Nagra Classic
Preamp: Nagra HD Preamp (latest iteration)
Amp: Nagra HD monos
Speakers: YG Sonja 2.2i
Cables: Sorry but I don't have the specifics here other than they were mid-tier audioquest

Reactions: I listened to a variety of tracks from Stimela to Dire Straits to Dido to Rolling Stones to Tom Waits. I was incredibly impressed. While the Nagra lacked a slight amount of detail vs the CH L10 I heard a week ago it had better overall balance imo. It was very neutral - not more than the CH-P though. Very low noise floor - maybe less so than the CH-P. Very musical - more so than the CH-P. That said, I do wonder what effect the tube DAC had on the overall system. I have heard YGs in the past and found them to be unforgiving - accurate to the source even if that meant sharpness or otherwise less than pleasant sounds. But, with the Nagra setup they were never anything but pleasant. Everything sounded effortless independent of the volume - I noticed that as I turned the system lower <-> higher the only thing that changed was the db but not the sonics. Now, to be fair, I did wish for a tick more in the bass dept. The bass was very well defined and controlled but maybe a bit less than I am used to through my d'Agostino s250.

Disclaimer: I am commenting on a preamp that was part of an entire system. This isn't fair - I get that. And, I am making comparisons to my experience a week ago with the CH Precision M10/L10 which was in a very different system and a very large room. That too, isn't maybe fair. All I am really trying to convey here are my impressions without a judgement. I am enjoying more an more as I experience more and I wanted to share that.
Was the DAC the Classic or the Tube DAC? There’s a big difference.
 

jfrech

VIP/Donor
Sep 3, 2012
1,930
414
405
Austin
Great impressions. I've owned my HD Preamp for a few years now. I do think the source was holding you back a little, the HD Preamp is one of the best and will absolutely let you know what is before it. In that system, would have been good to hear the HD DAC.

Seems like you grasp the best things about this preamp. The very low noise floor, the volume control, effortless sound and just a trueness. It's hard to beat, can find different, not necessarily better...
 

SuperDave

Well-Known Member
May 12, 2017
261
53
133
Texas
I remember hearing the HD pre for the first time, started with the Classic pre and heard some tunes, switched to the HD pre and heard the same tunes, that's when I knew it was significant!! No regrets

Dave
 

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