Lightstar Direct sound - Jekyll and Hyde?

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Lightstar Direct sound - Jekyll and Hyde?

Post by stereo_buff » Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:08 am

I stumbled across this review (by Steven Stone) of the Pass Aleph P preamp from Stereophile, February, 1996, where a comparison was made against a Lightstar Direct (then in house for review) where the following statements were made:

Compared to the remarkable Carver Research Lightstar Direct preamplifier used in its passive balanced-output mode (see review elsewhere in this issue), the Pass Aleph ran a very close second. On Sara K's cover of the Allman Brothers Band's blues chestnut "Whipping Post" from Tell Me I’m Not Dreamin' (Cheeky JD 133), the Pass was slightly darker harmonically, losing some of the "plastic pick sound" from Bruce Dunlap's exceptional guitar and some of the sibilance from Sara's s's. Microdynamics seemed slightly compressed on the Pass, with some of the subtle vocal shadings on Sara's voice reduced Depth was somewhat truncated by the Pass, as was the dimensionality of the reverberant field in St. Peter's church.

Again, the difference in low-level detail between the passive Carver and the active Pass made the music easier to decipher through the Carver. Fortunately, the Aleph P's harmonic balance is remarkably close to that of the Carver, lacking only a speck of top-end air on cymbals and low-bass resolution on synthesizer, percussion, and bass guitar parts.

However, when the Aleph P was compared to the Carver's active single ended output, the results weren't even close.. . the Aleph clearly outclassed the Lightstar. There wasn't a single sonic parameter where the Pass wasn't vastly superior—dimensionality, grain, transient response, transparency, bass extension, top-end air, basic noise level, lowlevel detail—you name it, the Pass ruled.


It would seem that unless you use the Lightstar's passive balanced outputs (based on this review), you may want to consider a different preamp. What say you to this, Lightstar Direct owners?

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Re: Lightstar Direct sound - Jekyll and Hyde?

Post by TNRabbit » Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:46 am

....consider the source....
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Re: Lightstar Direct sound - Jekyll and Hyde?

Post by stereo_buff » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:36 am

I take it you're not a Stereophile reader...

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Re: Lightstar Direct sound - Jekyll and Hyde?

Post by TNRabbit » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:46 am

stereo_buff wrote:I take it you're not a Stereophile reader...
bingo!
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Image

From FrankieD's lips to your ears: Sunfire - a quiet box of endless power.

Sunfire TG-IV/400~7 Amp
Carver SD/A-360 CDP
Benchmark DAC-1
Sony SACD/DVD-A
Active bi-amp: Ashly XR-1001 & 2 Rane PEQ-15s
Main: HotRodded AL-IIIs
Sub: Klipsch RT-12d
Center: Sunfire CRS-3c
Surround: Sunfire CRS-3 (x 2)

OconeeOrange wrote:"Gary likes to play it 'loud' as do I. His system begs you turn it up until you die"

RIP WIlliam B. Dibble, 1948-2012. I'll miss you my friend.

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Re: Lightstar Direct sound - Jekyll and Hyde?

Post by Snoop65 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:24 pm

I owned a Lightstar Direct and I only used the balanced outs. I never tried out the rca outs. I found it's sound very nice. I think if I had never listened to a tube preamp I might still own the Lightstar.
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Re: Lightstar Direct sound - Jekyll and Hyde?

Post by stereo_buff » Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:26 pm

If I ever have the chance to SERIOUSLY listen to a Lightstar I will give it some serious thought. Thanks for the feedback!

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Re: Lightstar Direct sound - Jekyll and Hyde?

Post by Snoop65 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:06 pm

stereo_buff wrote:If I ever have the chance to SERIOUSLY listen to a Lightstar I will give it some serious thought. Thanks for the feedback!
If you are a Sunfire Classic tube owner like myself I would stick with it. Imo the Sunfire out classes the Lightstar.
CARVER LIGHTSTAR REFERENCE+SUNFIRE CLASSIC TUBE PREAMPLIFIER+JBL XPL200+MUSIC HALL MMF-9.1+GRADO REFERENCE MASTER 1+Cayin CDT-17a =WOW!!!!!!

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Re: Lightstar Direct sound - Jekyll and Hyde?

Post by stereo_buff » Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:16 pm

Snoop65 wrote:
stereo_buff wrote:If I ever have the chance to SERIOUSLY listen to a Lightstar I will give it some serious thought. Thanks for the feedback!
If you are a Sunfire Classic tube owner like myself I would stick with it. Imo the Sunfire out classes the Lightstar.
Yeah, I am a Sunfire Classic Tube Pre owner, including the phono card, which is important since I listen to LPs the majority of the time. There is no phono input for the Lightstar Direct - right?

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Re: Lightstar Direct sound - Jekyll and Hyde?

Post by Snoop65 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:32 pm

stereo_buff wrote:
Snoop65 wrote:
stereo_buff wrote:If I ever have the chance to SERIOUSLY listen to a Lightstar I will give it some serious thought. Thanks for the feedback!
If you are a Sunfire Classic tube owner like myself I would stick with it. Imo the Sunfire out classes the Lightstar.
Yeah, I am a Sunfire Classic Tube Pre owner, including the phono card, which is important since I listen to LPs the majority of the time. There is no phono input for the Lightstar Direct - right?
Nope no phono section. I have lots of lp's too I NEED a phono section! 8)
CARVER LIGHTSTAR REFERENCE+SUNFIRE CLASSIC TUBE PREAMPLIFIER+JBL XPL200+MUSIC HALL MMF-9.1+GRADO REFERENCE MASTER 1+Cayin CDT-17a =WOW!!!!!!

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Re: Lightstar Direct sound - Jekyll and Hyde?

Post by engtaz » Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:19 am

Guys, phono section should not be a deal breaker. Just buy a phono pre. There are a ton of excellent phono pres out there.
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Carver M4.0T in front channels to Caver AL VI's in SACD & 2 Channel setup
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Re: Lightstar Direct sound - Jekyll and Hyde?

Post by Snoop65 » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:32 am

engtaz wrote:Guys, phono section should not be a deal breaker. Just buy a phono pre. There are a ton of excellent phono pres out there.
Understood. Just my personal preference to have a full featured preamp. 8)
CARVER LIGHTSTAR REFERENCE+SUNFIRE CLASSIC TUBE PREAMPLIFIER+JBL XPL200+MUSIC HALL MMF-9.1+GRADO REFERENCE MASTER 1+Cayin CDT-17a =WOW!!!!!!

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Re: Lightstar Direct sound - Jekyll and Hyde?

Post by engtaz » Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:20 am

I understand, I just feel that on a lot of all inone receivers that better phono pres could be had.
engtaz


Carver M4.0T in front channels to Caver AL VI's in SACD & 2 Channel setup
C 16, PT 2400, Slim Device, Carver TX-8, 490T and Rega TT w Grado Gold cart in the 2 channel setup
Bogen SRB20 is computer amp
Carver PM-350 donated for youth church use

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