Line-stage preamplifiers, often given less consideration than other components when assembling a home audio system, besides being merely a hub for connection of sources to power amplifiers, have a huge impact on a system’s sound. On the one hand, some will argue that the best preamp is as close to none as possible, so a passive one is best. On the other hand is a position with which we agree, that an active preamp is essential to giving an audio system the drive, the energy, needed to produce truly “life-like” sound.
Allnic Audio designs and manufactures a range of preamps all of which can help a home audio system create sound that possesses a significant amount of the magic of live music, no matter the listeners’ individual preferences for the overall “character” of their system’s presentation.
Low noise and low distortion combined with powerful drive enable Allnic’s vacuum tube line-stage preamplifiers to pass the audio signal from source to amplifier in such a way that the preamp comes as close to “disappearing” as possible without the loss of the vacuum tube’s inherent gift of reproducing the “tangibility”, natural timbres and feeling of the actual presence of human voices and musical instruments. And Allnic’s line-stage preamps manage this with both tube and solid-state source devices and power amplifiers.
If you read on below, or go to our Allnic preamplifier page (https://www.kevalinaudio.com/linestages), you can learn how KS Park, Allnic’s founder and principal designer, has found ways to accomplish all this using tubes and output transformers and, also, using tubes only; i.e., the tubes are direct-coupled to the power amplifier without intermediary output transformers or capacitors (something perhaps more comfortable for those more inclined to the “less is more” perspective where preamps are concerned)!
One should be thankful to have a great preamp, and we can be thankful that Allnic’s brilliant KS Park has designed some of the best line-stage preamps on the market, at multiple price points, to make true, world-class sound and flexibility available for great systems of all kinds. Here, we focus initially on the first line-stage preamp in Allnic’s range, the award-winning L-6500.
Happy Thanksgiving 2023!
LINE-STAGE PREAMPLIFIER WINS A
PRODUCT OF THE YEAR AWARD!
We’ve been getting great feedback from purchasers of Allnic’s new and smallest line-stage preamp, the L-6500, and had a terrific first professional review. To say we’ve been pleased would be an understatement; it’s always nice to have one’s perceptions, and our customers’, validated. Alan Sircom’s May 2022 hi-fi+ issue 207 review of the L-6500 is thoughtful, thorough, and enthusiastic – the review’s closing paragraph sums it up nicely:
However, it’s also easy for a company to become so focused on the big hitter projects in the line-up that the all-important first rung on the ladder gets overlooked or underdeveloped. That is patently not the case here; Allnic’s KS Park puts as much energy in getting products like the L-6500 line preamplifier ‘right’ as he does with the leaders of the pack. It’s hard not to be impressed by the Allnic L-6500; it’s well built, sounds great and has an excellent balance of making music sound good no matter the quality of the recording. While the Allnic L-6500 is far too much of a sophisticate to shout for itself, that’s something to shout about!
hi-fi+ L-6500 Review May 2022
And now, Allnic knocks a header right between the goal posts!!
The L-6500 has been awarded a Product of the Year designation by hi-fi+, a further testament to what we think is one fantastic piece of over-achieving audio gear.
L-6500 Line-stage Preamplifier
Mr. Sircom’s point in his original review is one we’ve made here before, too: all Allnic products are designed and built to KS Park’s high standards to provide, above all, enjoyment of the music. It doesn’t matter which unit in the line-up meets your fancy and budget, you will be getting exceptionally well-designed circuitry, rock-solid build, superior ergonomics, gorgeous industrial design and – always – the music.
Consider the L-6500’s stablemates… even just the looks of the L-6500 relative to one of Allnic’s two flagship preamps, the L-8000 DHT (Direct-Heated Triode), a vacuum tube purist’s dream… Audiophilia “Product of the Year” 2020 winner, 2021 Part-Time Audiophile Reviewer’s Choice Award recipient – as just one example…
And now, new L-8000 DHT preamps come equipped with Allnic’s own, in-house designed and manufactured 3A/109 tubes! First reports are hands-down super enthusiastic – much more resistant to microphonically induced noise, more stable, and better sounding than the original NOS STC valves, due to improvements on the original design! "The new 3A109 tubes are exquisite. They are becoming extremely transparent and honest to musical queue’s - depth, space, hang time." "Now more inner-detail/clarity throughout the frequency range and more relaxed without any top-end recession (in fact better!)." Units with the NOS 3A/109 tubes can be retrofitted with Allnic’s new tubes – available directly from Allnic (both type A and B bases are available). Contact me at email@example.com for more information.
The L-6500’s pedigree is awesome…
Customers who previously owned the “hot-rod” version of Allnic’s first preamp, the L-1500, and have purchased the L-6500 report that it’s a true upgrade in every way -which is amazing given that the L-1500 was such a successful unit that it had a production run of almost a decade!
The new L-6500 has a fantastic feature set – and these are about to get better! All L-6500 preamps produced from January 2023 forward can, for an additional fee, be optioned with Allnic’s exclusive and world’s-first 61 step constant impedance attenuator – just as all its larger siblings!
World’s-first constant impedance attenuator providing preservation of dynamics, detail and imaging regardless of volume
In addition, the L-6500 has:
⦁ single gain stage
⦁ transformer coupling with permalloy signal transformers
⦁ RCA and XLR inputs and outputs
⦁ analog current meters for tube monitoring
⦁ beefy tube regulated voltage supply
⦁ aluminum remote control
⦁ outstanding build quality
⦁ great looks to match other Allnic components,
such as the H-6500 and H-5500 phono stages, for example.
⦁ a small complement (4) of readily available NOS tubes, including 2 of the lovely-sounding 5842 triode signal tube (available from many manufacturers and equivalent to WE417A, CV3789, F7004) – tube roller’s paradise :-)
L-6500 featured with the silver chassis
On that last point, we’ve had the opportunity to try several 5842 signal tubes of various makes and vintages and can advise that the L-6500 really responds to tube rolling. One of our favourites at the moment is the GEC because of its enormous and “alive” soundstage and image density. Playing with Allnic’s A-5000 DHT monoblock amps, the sound is positively magical – unexpectedly, the “baby” preamp and the top-end, purist DHT amps made a great match. Please note that the A-5000 DHT monoblocks are now also available with Allnic’s own in-house manufactured HL2 and RS242 tubes!
A-5000 DHT Monoblocks
So, “mix ‘n match”, go ahead and try tailoring your sound a little! Even stock, though, Alan Sircom was impressed, particularly by the L-6500’s “musicality”, as we call it:
…the preamplifier digs deep into the layers of music and presents them to the listener. While this reads a lot like it is describing the imaging of the preamplifier (and, in fairness, the L-6500’s soundstage is extremely good, with its excellent stage depth being particularly noteworthy), this is something deeper. It’s more like getting closer to the intent of the musicians playing. There’s an eloquence and expressiveness to the L-6500’s sound that is more than just ‘feel’ or ‘articulation’ or even ‘coherence’. [Italics added]
As we said above, with every Allnic product, music is first. The ultimate goal might be to get your listening room to replicate exactly the sound and feel of a live performance… well… with the L-6500, and every Allnic device, you know you will always have sound that truly expresses the life in – the soul of – the music, as audio gear should – it’s in their DNA.
At the USD $7500 introductory price (and it is an introductory price – it won’t last, unfortunately), the L-6500 is a fantastic value; and from any perspective, we believe it has the makings of a classic. You will not be disappointed.
Nor would you be disappointed with the Allnic A-2000 25th Anniversary SE (Special Edition) 100 watts/channel stereo power amp.
A-2000 25th Anniversary SE Product Page Link
Hot-rodded, available in a limited number, with just a few left, on sale for USD $7500, it would be a super match for the L-6500! As of May, 2023. Three black A-2000 'se' with KT170 tubes! and one silver unit with KT150 tubes remains in stock and ready to ship. These are the last four units.
The L-6500 scores another great – and well-deserved – win for Allnic! We’re sure you’ll find that the L-6500 deserves all the praise.
A-2000 + L-6500 package deal: $12,000 plus shipping while supplies last. Call or Email to inquire!
Awards were plentiful in 2022, as they have been in years past!
As always, to discuss purchasing the Allnic L-6500 preamp, or any Allnic product, for the first time or to move up the Allnic product line, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me, John Ketcham, at Kevalin Audio.
If you’re in Canada, please get in touch with Don Corby at Corby’s Audio. Our priority is the right solution so contact us without hesitation.
And please, remember: quality trades are always welcome.
See our Demo and Trade for excellent acquisition opportunities.
Website link: Kevalin Audio
Email or call John Ketcham:
Tel: +1 503–292–5592
Website link: Corby’s Audio
Email or call Don Corby:
Tel: +1 905.689.1976
Toll free: 1.877.689.1976