Been trying to upload pics several times, seems to be too large. Oh well, here goes:
The CT5 is a beast! It's as large as the power amps, some real heft to it, and inside clearly spells out for itself, with an array of high grade caps, including Teflon's, Vishay resistors and dual transformers, plus the added copper ground plate, all the goodies makes this preamp extremely quiet, in fact much quieter than the pv15.
I connected it on Friday around 2:30am and listened till 4:30am. Then on Sat morning after my midnight shift, again from 2am to this morning around 5am...
Still having a hangover.
I did miss my ACT2 and the sheer musicality from the ART pre, although I tried out the newer ET series 5&7, I was very pleased with the musicality of the pv15, especially the value from it. I was looking and hoping for that major improvement in sound, at least for me my bench mark is around 30-40% or above, otherwise I can't justify the purchase.
The CT5 not only exceeds this bench mark but shatters all boundaries of what I was expecting. The performance upgrade is closer to 80%, and it has that superb control and grip on the monoblocks like no other preamp I've ever used to date!
Apart from the added heft, depth in soundstage and weight/impact of tonality, the most significant attribute was the ability to play much louder with startling slam and suddenly whisper like the wings of a butterfly in a micro second! This type of power and speed is supremely realistic on the CLX's and now the monoblocks are in full control.
It also shows off the very high quality and SOTA in monoblock design, all I can say is this thing is clearly in a class of its own.
So with that my fellow Maties, my audio journey has truly come to an end, I am ending with this and will now sit back and enjoy the music!
Cheers to all and many thanks for your support and great advice, trust you all enjoy your music and keep immersed in it.
Big woof! RJ
I will list the comparisons as clearly as follows and the issues I had with the ACT2;
I have mentioned this few years ago on another post but I'll reiterate just for you.
1. Huge amounts of hiss, especially from the left channel no matter what I did. Changed tubes, serviced several times, replaced with very high grade tubes, nothing but that annoying hiss, and sometimes both channels, can even hear it from the listening position. But when music plays, it obscures the hiss but on very quiet passages it's very apparent.
2. After about two years of usage, the ACT2 used to suddenly stop, sort of freeze / paralyse itself and on one side of the front plate, all the LED's would light up like a runway... No one was able to fix this, and thus was sent over to QLD on several occasions. On the last run, Jeff Fischel was contacted and gave tech assistance over the phone over several days. Finally several things were fixed, power supplies, internal power cords, connections etc, including grounding circuits but that problem wasn't fully fixed.
3. I was then later advised by Jeff himself that this was a fairly old unit, purchased second hand and may have had some trouble in the past... Hence advise to upgrade to the series 2, or go for the ET5, which just came out that year.
4. I opted for the series two upgrade and when I got the unit back and whiles it was working perfectly, I sold the dam thing off, not wanting to ever deal with repairs again!
5. Considering what I paid for at the time, which was nearly double of what I paid for the CT5, and given the superb high quality of the CT5, plus the upgrades conducted on the CT5 and absolutely ZERO hiss, the CT5 beats the ACT2 hands down, no chance whatsoever!
So with that said, I'm now listening to George Benson and Earl Klugh- Collaboration on LP, I've never had this level of refinement in performance and a true lifelike soundstage, superb, superb, superb!
Cheers to George Benson and his mesmerizing guitar playing, fantastic stuff, I want to get up and shake his hand! Might as well.
On a positive note, the chap who actually bought my ACT2, luckily has had no further issues other than a few caps & resistors that required changing... Good for him! Because I'm very happy after upgrading to a series two, that he has had trouble free operation over the years, somewhat...
To me with this level of refinement and internal upgrades, the CT5 offers near quality of the ART pre, which I know extremely well because I owned one, and it also offers all the wonderful virtues of the ACT2, nothing short of SOTA performance on any level.
Sometimes after careful planning and dedicated listening, the top of the line may be equalled in a particular system already having top tear components. It's just a matter of finding the right fit...