VALVET soulshine Tube Pre Amplifier
The Sum of Experience and Emotion
The valve pre-amp soulshine is VALVET's mid-line preamp. Also in this case, tubes weren't invented, but were used especially cleverly. Two coupled step circuits in one intelligent circuit - more isn't needed to convey great feeling.
Pure Music, Pure Goose Bumps
The soulshine provides connections for 5 line inputs. These can be selected by means of a high-quality, mechanical ELMA dial near the sockets. All signal connections inside the housing are isolated with pure silver PTFE. In the middle of the front are two 24-pole step-switches for volume and balance adjustment. With these gain controls you have the possibility to adjust the input level of your source components for the optimal position of the actual volume control knob (24-step switch or remote control).
The signal runs through two double triodes (ECC802S + ECC99 resp. four 6SN7 for the soulshine8) only one high-quality MUNDORF (silver/gold/oil) foil condenser per channel. The volume setting can be made either using a 24-step switch or by means of a remote control with the best conductive-plastic potentiometer on the market (TKD- here with motor) and now new optional a 48-step restistor-ladder switch that is absolutely state-of-the-art. There is a choice of two outputs plus recording output or three outputs.
The external power supply uses a powerful torodial core transformer and, for the first time, a solid-state rectifier, since this design has proven to be advantageous for the sound of the soulshine. No component-overkill, but perfect working conditions for the soulshine. All housing components are made of aluminum, between 2 und 12mm thick. Pre-amp and power supply rest on turned hardwood cones.
The soulshine shows exceptional detail, plasticity and sound stage. Everything is played on a black/still background. The listener hears no tube noise, but many tube virtues. Voices really have body, strings have the right fluidity, and an electric guitar sounds just like it should. Especially the harmony between silence and dynamics captivates the listener right away.
- inputs: 5 high level inputs, input impedance 100 KOhm, 1x XLR possible
- amplification: 8x, 18dB, max. output > 50 Volts, output impedance 400 Ohm, 3 outputs OUT1/OUT2/RECOUT, 1x XLR possible
- power supply: external solid state power supply, 100VA
- dimensions: 444 x 50 x 306 mm (17.5 x 2 x 12 inches) WxHxD - Pre-amp;
170 x 50 x 306 mm (6.7 x 2 x 12 inches) WxHxD - power supply
- volume control: either remote control with a motor-TKD potentiometer or a 24 step-switch (sonically superior) or the new 48-step resistor-ladder switch (absolutely state of the art)
- case: Aluminum, black anodized and powder coated
- front: silver anodized or black anodized
- sound: The soulshine® shows exceptional detail, plasticity and sound stage. Everything is played on a black/still backgound. The listener hears no tube noise, but many tube virtues. Voices really have body, strings have the right fluidity, and an electric guitar sounds just like it should. Especially the harmony between silence and dynamics captivates the listener right away
- optional: WBT NexGen $75.00/pair, Chrome front $225.00, metal remote control $250.00
Key Kim reviewed the A3.5 and soulshine for The Stereo Times December 2009
"...the new Valvet Block A3.5s are incredible sounding amps. It was hard to believe these were only 50 watts per channel. They drove my reference Conspiracy loudspeakers with great authority and power. The Valvets possess purity and remarkable transparency that allows them to provide an amazing musical experience. At $5.590.00, it’s a bargain! ...this preamp (soulshine) had a natural purity and open airy sound which brought me closer to music. Stay tuned for a full review"
Review of A3.5/soulshine in the German magazine "Image HiFi" 02/2010 by Roland Kraft:
"...once they’ve warmed up to operating temperature, these seemingly insignificant audiophile amps fascinate the listener with stupendous transparence. In addition, a spacious sound stage with an impressive breadth immediately captivates the listener... the Valvet amps are agile, never strained, and always light-footed. They constantly create a fresh, clear - but never cold - breath of air, and at the same time easily concentrates on the essence that can hardly be described. The tubes and transistors complement each other perfectly, making an lasting impression that can hardly be equaled in this price class..."
- read the entire review (in German)
Review of A3.5/soulshine on "Positive Feedback Online" Issue 48 03/2010 by Robert Learner:
"...smooth, dynamic, lively, and organic. Tonal purity suggests straight-wire gain with a dash of inner glow. Soundstaging is precise in localization... Transients have snap and life, and decays are full-blooded, something I've come to associate with Class A electronics versus some other designs. There is none of the sterility I've heard with some other solid-state amps... haven't heard better for the money and certainly worse for more. These components have some magic, something past competence or even excellence and into the illusion of 'real'. You can find components that do this or that better in the price range, but none I've spent time with are as addictive. They get the essence of the music... The sound quality is not only that good, it's that true—park them on your rack for the next ten years and find other things to worry about."
- read the entire review
The review "Giant Killers" for A3.5/soulshine on "The StereoTimes" 06/2010 by Key Kim:
"...from the very first notes on the very first album, it was obvious that the Valvet combo was something special. In our age of hyper-priced imported components, it’s not just good sounding (even at just over $11k) The Valvet components are the real deal regardless of price.... They are giant-killers in that they provide the ultimate musical bliss without breaking one’s bank account. If you're looking for that really great sounding system that isn't stratospherically priced, then look no further than Valvet..."
- read the entire review
"...I was very impressed (awesome). Compared to some way more expensive gear, the Valvets (soulshine & A3.5) held their own in an excellent way. And for what they cost, I have to scratch my head and wonder..."