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I bought the kit back in April and just got around to assembling it now.It is a tube preamp based on the old Dynaco PAS 3 with built-in phono stage and a headphone amp.the kit is very straightforward and I was able to assemble it without the instructions, which I lost,in about 8 hours.I was going to mod a Dynaco PAS3 that I bought cheap off ebay using one of Van Alstine's update mod kits,but when I saw the the negligible price difference between the mod kits and the newly designed, updated unit I could'nt pass.I paid $599.00 for the kit and I am using all stock parts.The kit includes very high quality parts and I can't really see any benefits(based on experience using the supplied parts)of upgrading them.It has a nice,roomy board and everything is nicely etched and labeled.I even used the stock wire to keep things on the honest side when performing my listening evaluation.

I have not had a chance to allow the typical 100 hours burn-in suggested for new tube audio gear but my initial impressions are very postive.I'm currently using this pre with a heavily modded Dynaco ST-70.Other componets in this system are a Musichall MMF-7 turntable and Harmon-Kardon CDR-2 CDP-CDR.I'm using the DIY Cables "Fat Ones" interconnects and Home Depot sourced Beldon speaker cable with WBT bannanas.I'm using PSB Alpha A/V speakers in this sytem as well.I did not use an outboard DAC at this time because I have not had positive results using my MSB Link III with any of my tube preamps or receivers.A Monster MTS 3500 power conditioner and Quail 14 gage power cords were used as well as Leviton hospital grade outlets.No other tweaks are being used in this system at this time.

If burn-in improves the sound of this preamp I would be even more amazed than I already am.This little pre really turns it on.It has a nice wide and deep sounstage that seems to never end,it particularly likes live jazz recordings.it brings out the best in these recordings without being too critical of the shortcomings of the original recording.I'm comparing this sound to known quantities (Bottlehead Foreplay,ASL passive preamp)and have to say this amp is more forgiving of standard digital recordings.It does not seem to obviously alter the music,it just seems to warm it with more of the "tubey" sound than typical,be that good or bad,depending on your tastes.On heavy bass-laden tracks such as modern fusion jazz,I think this amp bends to the Dynaco amp's will.In it's present incarnation the Dynaco has huge thumping bass that just beats every other component in the system to a pulp.the fact that the preamp does not conflict with this in any way should be considered a positive.I will see if this changes with burn-in.Vinyl is given the silver platter treatment by this preamp,I initially bought this amp to compare to the phono stage mods I had done on a Fisher 400 receiver but it's gone now so I have to compare it to the ASL MG Phono DT that I use occasionally and the Dynaco Pas 3.The Pas 3i is superior to the MG in every way.I would only give the nod to the Mg in the area of available gain.The dynaco pre is just overly warm, almost to the point of muddiness.The Van Alastine has a nice open, airy sound on most well recorded vinyl and just seems to pick poor recordings up off the floor.This is my new favorite phono stage.I used the headphone jack with my Grado Sr325 and SR 80 and my Senn HD 600.I use a LOT of different headphone amps as well as the excellent built-in full tube unit on the stock Fisher 400 that I still have.I find myself using the Fisher most because it is my office rig.I gotta say the Fisher is warmer and sweeter sounding than the Van Alstine's headpnone amp but the Van pre has a much more accurate,focused sound.It does not seem "tubey"at all,again this could be good or bad depending on your tastes.I personally like a change of pace every once in a while.The Van pre seems to prefer the Senns and makes the already bright Grados seem even more so.It also fares well against some of the dedicated headamps I use(MG Head,Grado RA1,Creek,World Audio Design HD83 kit).It does not provide the sometimes brutal,unforgiving detail of the Grado,or the "warm it until it burns" sound of the MG,but it does a nice job for a built-in.I would put it somewhere closest to the Creek which has nice,deep bass and a decent,but slightly sharp(not hostile at all)treble ramp.The HD83 is simply the best tube headphone amp(besides the Orpheus)that I have ever heard.I hesitate to compare it to to anything else.When I get the Wheatfield HA2 I will attempt to verify this opinion.

you don't have to guess that I really like the Van Alstine Pas 3i SL preamp.this is a worthwhile kit to assemble and offers substantial savings($140.00)over the factory assembled version.Van Alstine also provides free electrical debugging and circuit check if you ship it back to them before you plug it in.This is one of the few high quality component kits that I would recommend to a novice and includesEVERYTHING needed including solder.


http://www.avahifi.com/pas3isl.htm