June 23, 2020 Update – We have made great progress since announcing our new preamp earlier this year and wanted to update our readers on what is happening.
Originally planned for a March release we have held up the new preamp pending the release of our new ePot.V3 Stepped Attenuators & Preamp Controllers. The ePot.V3 is now essentially complete and moving into production with release planned for later in August, 2020. All new and existing Tortuga Audio preamps going forward will be built around the V3 attenuator/controller. With release of the ePot later in August our focus will quickly shift towards releasing the 300x soon thereafter…hopefully as early as September. You can read more about the ePot.V3 here.
The development of the ePot.V3 has led us down a new parallel path where we continue to evolve our existing LDR based attenuation technology while also introducing a new compact discrete resistor attenuation module that uses low-distortion thin-film resistors and analog switches instead of LDRs. These attenuation module types are interchangeable plug-in modules that allow the end-user to evaluate and decide which ePot.V3 attenuation technology sounds better in their system.
Last, but not least and in light of the option to offer both LDR and discrete resistor type stepped attenuators, we have decided to change the name of our new preamp from the LDR300x to the TA300x.
What follows below is a lightly edited version of the original post.
We are pleased to announce the upcoming release of our newest LDR based preamp , the
LDR300xTA300x. This single-ended (RCA) model and its variants will replace both our long running LDR3.V25 Passive Preamp and also reintroduces an updated version of our short-lived LDR300.V25 Buffered Preamp that was discontinued in early 2019.
While we’ve not yet set a specific release date, we are aiming at releasing the LDR300x
before the end of March in September soon after the release of our new ePot.V3 stepped attenuators & preamp controllers.
A lower cost approach
LDR300x TA300x reflects over a year and a half of design optimization efforts aimed at both updating the core technology while simplifying the overall design of the prior models with the goal of significantly reducing their cost without compromising performance. One result is a single flexible model that can now be equipped and configured as either a passive or active preamp. Another result is a lighter more compact preamp occupying 30% less total volume. We further reduced costs by replacing an expensive aluminum front panel that required complex machining with a simple yet attractive dark acrylic lens. Last but not least we employed lower cost RCA jacks that do not require time consuming point-to-point hand wiring.
The result is an attractive, flexible, high performance preamp that delivers high-end sound quality at an aggressive price point that won’t bust your budget. If your system is suitable for a passive preamp (most are!) you’ll find the passive version of the
LDR300x TA300x be a fantastic value with sound quality rivaling preamps at 10x the price. The active version of LDR300x TA300x a gloriously musical sound quality that will absolutely delight the most critical audiophile listener.
3 model variations
The “x” in the
LDR300x TA300x signifies the flexibility of this model which is being offered in 3 variations including as an LDR passive preamp with no display for $599, the same passive variation with full OLED display for $789, and a fully active JFET buffered version with adjustable gain and display for $989.
The $789 price tag for the passive with OLED display is 25% less than the original LDR3.V25 and the $989 price for the active version is over 50% less than the original list price of the original LDR300.V25.
The differences in these model variants are summarized in the following table.
|Passive Preamp||Active Preamp|
|Display||Status LED||OLED Display||OLED Display|
|Remote Control||Yes (limited functionality)||Yes||Yes|
|Buffered Output||No||No||Yes | JFET|
|Gain||None (unity)||None (unity)||Yes - via plug-in gain modules|
|Base Price||$ 599||$789||$ 995|
Modular future-proof design
The “x” in the
LDR300x TA300x also represents the modular nature of the design in which the preamp controller board, buffer board, input/output interface board and the OLED display board are all plug-n-play removable and replaceable. If and when improved or alternative versions become available in the future, the user can open up the LDR300x by removing only 4 screws to access the internals and exchange any of the major components without sending the unit back to our facility for upgrading or servicing.