Little Bear Preamp- Worth buying, or, junk?

the thin end of the wedge
PioneerFan
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Little Bear Preamp- Worth buying, or, junk?

Post by PioneerFan » 15 Jan 2019 17:16

So I have been looking at their "new" version for $59, with the external high/low switch, and supposedly improved noise characteristics. My hesitations in getting something like this is the perception, maybe misimpression, that it will add noise. Maybe I am old school, but I think each time you process sound, you introduce noise.

Is this thing worth getting? Or, is it yet another piece of junk made in China?

patient_ot
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Re: Little Bear Preamp- Worth buying, or, junk?

Post by patient_ot » 15 Jan 2019 17:32

How much is $59 to you? What are you looking to achieve by buying one of these? What phono preamp are you using now?

Have you looked at the long Little Bear threads on here and AK?

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Re: Little Bear Preamp- Worth buying, or, junk?

Post by PioneerFan » 15 Jan 2019 17:37

I guess I am trying to see if it is worth the $59.

Of course I have. If I had resurrected an older thread, I would have been called out as well. Sometimes, you can't win on these forums. I am looking for some fresh perspective.

My preamp is an Onkyo Integra TX-870. My amp is a Carver m500t.

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Re: Little Bear Preamp- Worth buying, or, junk?

Post by Audiodude » 15 Jan 2019 19:01

There are a number of threads concerning modifying the little bear. $59 is about as cheap as it gets for a phono pre. I have never owed a little bear, but I can tell you, the phono pre is about as important to sound as it gets.

Alec124c41
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Re: Little Bear Preamp- Worth buying, or, junk?

Post by Alec124c41 » 15 Jan 2019 19:03

Note that there are several models produced by Little Bear.
I have 2 models, and have no problems with them.

Cheers,
Alec

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Re: Little Bear Preamp- Worth buying, or, junk?

Post by PioneerFan » 15 Jan 2019 19:08

I was looking for comments from people who have owned one. Looking at the basic 2 tube model, which supposedly has been upgraded with gain switches on the outside, and less noise.

I'd like to spend my 59 dollars wisely, not throw it away. these are, after all, made in China.

patient_ot
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Re: Little Bear Preamp- Worth buying, or, junk?

Post by patient_ot » 15 Jan 2019 21:44

My take is that these things are geared towards hobbyists as modding platforms. Not someone that wants a great sounding plug and play phono preamp. It may sound different from what you're already using but I'd very very skeptical that it would sound better. Another thing to consider is that once you start modding the thing, you'll be in for far more than the pricetag unless you have a box of parts lying around. Personally I would not bother with it, and just spend the $59 on records or put it toward the gear fund for a piece of gear you really want.

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Re: Little Bear Preamp- Worth buying, or, junk?

Post by PioneerFan » 15 Jan 2019 21:58

Yes, I ended up buying an extra N97xE stylus for my Shure 97xE cartridge. $59 well spent!

T68
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Re: Little Bear Preamp- Worth buying, or, junk?

Post by T68 » 16 Jan 2019 06:55

Well, I m kind of interested in the little bear phono preamps too.
Looking at the t7, t10, t11 models and any input is much appreciated.
Right now I run a cheap 40 bucks noname preamp which name I can't even find on Google.
Hoping a LB would improve sound quality without breaking the bank.
...and yeah, tubes look a little cool and I'm up for some modding and tinkering if that's required.
Thanks for any input!

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Re: Little Bear Preamp- Worth buying, or, junk?

Post by Remos112 » 16 Jan 2019 23:39

T68 wrote:
16 Jan 2019 06:55
Well, I m kind of interested in the little bear phono preamps too.
Looking at the t7, t10, t11 models and any input is much appreciated.
Right now I run a cheap 40 bucks noname preamp which name I can't even find on Google.
Hoping a LB would improve sound quality without breaking the bank.
...and yeah, tubes look a little cool and I'm up for some modding and tinkering if that's required.
Thanks for any input!
I have ordered the T11 a while back and I am loving it. Blows my 149 euro Rega Fono Mini out of the water.
I upgraded it with some high end Russian tubes and it got even better! Very recommendable!

T68
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Re: Little Bear Preamp- Worth buying, or, junk?

Post by T68 » 17 Jan 2019 21:44

Thanks for your reply, Remos!
Sounds like the T11 can be a candidate.

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Re: Little Bear Preamp- Worth buying, or, junk?

Post by T68 » 21 Jan 2019 12:06

Hi!
I see a LB T10 v2.5 on sale for half the price compared to the t11 on the big auction site.
I know this is an earlier version and lacks some of the features of the t10. And that it has the EI transformer and not the torodial.
But can it still be an interesting alternative if one is prepared to tinker a bit?

Alec124c41
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Re: Little Bear Preamp- Worth buying, or, junk?

Post by Alec124c41 » 21 Jan 2019 15:04

The LB T10 2.5 is what I am using, and it sounds good. The only mod in mine is a DIY shield for that first tube, made from stiff aluminum foil (seal from coffee can, but foil pie plate would be good), wired to the ground post.
I gather that the transformer choice makes very little difference.

Cheers,
Alec

T68
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Re: Little Bear Preamp- Worth buying, or, junk?

Post by T68 » 21 Jan 2019 16:09

Thanks for that input, Alec!
Man, it´s really starting to itch in that press-buy-finger :-)...
/T

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Re: Little Bear Preamp- Worth buying, or, junk?

Post by PioneerFan » 21 Jan 2019 16:28

I ended up going solid state, with the ART DJPre II. To me, just seems more flexible, with more scalability for different carts.

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