This preamp was in the workshop for some upgrades and repairs. The main upgrades were to upgrade the coupling capacitors to Mundorf ZNs, and repair the volume motor pot. Finding a replacement motor pot that fits in the space available and is a 500k log pot proved impossible, so I spent a long time stripping the original pot down and rebuilding it. It now works perfectly and the pre sounds very dynamic, detailed and spacious and much improved over the original grainy sound. Ming Da use poor quality coupling capacitors then bypass them with equally poor quality caps. In my view that can introduce phase shift effects and sound is much improved using single quality film /foil capacitors. Those bottle-shaped tubes may look cool but they are horribly microphonic. The 6SN7s are worse offenders-because higher gain-than the 2A3s so those were replaced with some very high spec Russian military valves which again contribute to the overall improved sound.
These venerable mono blocks came along for some upgrades. I went down and tried and tested approach of upgrading key coupling capacitors, and making switchable feedback. These amps really come alive with these mods, providing some of the best valve sound around. With no feedback gain can become too much, so I also tried bypassing the first valve and making a few mods to the second valve stage. This worked really well but with feedback switched on, the gain was rather low at around 4v for max output. So to maintain flexibility I reduced global feedback slightly in the feedback on position to enable the amp to work with a wide range of speakers and left the feedback off option in play. With feedback off and 88db speakers the noise level is acceptable and the sound stunning. With the feedback switched on there is a small reduction in overall sound quality but the amp still sounds among the best!
As one of the 805 output valves was running slightly pink I checked the bias to find the output valves were running at 135ma dissipation, way higher than the recommended level of around 100ma. So the bias circuit was modified to bring dissipation down to 100ma. Now the amps were really singing and making a great combination along with their accompanying Ming Da MC 2A3 preamp which was also in for some upgrades.
These Unison Research pre and power amps are currently in the workshop for servicing. The power amp is the hybrid valve /solid state model. Repairs included the input selector and a choke for correct earthing and hum.
This preamp dates from the early 90s when it had a reputation for great sound quality. It stands the passage of time well and still sounds very decent. It had had various mods and servicing over the years, including main electrolytic capacitors, valve sockets etc.Someone had also replaced the ribbon connector with some Cat cabling.It is a hybrid valve /solid state design, with transistors used for the phono stage and valves for the line stage.
My work was to upgrade the coupling capacitors, and add a choke power supply by adding a choke and additional smoothing capacitor. Once this work was complete it transpired the original main smoothing capacitor was pretty spent, so that was replaced too.That took a while to find as it broke down after around 2 hours use, but was fine up until then.
The result was very worthwhile, performance has been lifted to a very pleasing level. The pre operates with a much quieter background, displays subtleties better and is more dynamic to boot.
I’m selling these on behalf of a client who’s upgraded to my KT150 amps and preamp. These have been converted to cathode follower design as an improvement over the original hummy WAD design. These have been converted to cathode follower design as an improvement over the original hummy WAD design. The build contains every possible upgrade including: Tocos carbon pot in shunt mode with Vishay naked foil resistors, Vishay naked foil grid resistors, Jupiter beeswax signal caps. The power supply has an upgraded 30 Henry choke, Schottky heater diodes, and Hexfred HT diodes.*The valve is an ECC88 gold pin Mullard. Excellent sounding line pre in daily use. Front panels in good condition, some scratches on sides of black chassis.