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The grovel thread.... learning and appying knowledge from HUG....


Well-known member
Having fallen for SHL5+ immediately on their release, I bought them knowing my SET amp was not sufficiently powerful.

I knew nothing about audio at the time. I am more interested in music and dance. I have followed the HUG since and am now slightly less ignorant. I can just about tell the difference between a valve and a capacitor (the former doubles up as Christmas decorations).

Having read about the importance of POWER and GAIN, I have reconfigured my audio system along basic principles previously unknown to me. I have two sources - digital and analogue. The digital happens to be three sources into a DAC. The DAC has a volume control. The analogue is both mm and mc for a dual arm deck. My newly modified phono pre-amp (it was previously a phono amp with no gain control) has a variable gain on the back panel to modify the gain on the phono stage. It has a master volume control on the front, controlling the gain into the new power amplifiers (actually 10 years old and rebuilt to match the speakers), which now have oodles of power.

Result: I can control both the analogue and digital gain into the pre-amp stage, they are both pretty much level with each other, and the gain into the power amps is at 12 o'clock for normal listening. My bass has come back from the dead, Hindemith's sonata for piano and bass tuba has total control and airiness, and Mezzanine is now visceral. As the amps are in triode mode, vocals are liquid.

For reasons I shall not explain, this exercise may even end up cash-positive.

Any similar HUG-inspired outcomes out there?


Active member
The two curses of home audio - eliminated

The two curses of home audio - eliminated


I was aware of amp input overload but never really understood just how fundamental that was to a good sound.

I traded away a minimalist (through quite powerful) fixed gain amp and sold some moderately priced Nain cable towards my C7's. I happen to own some inexpensive pro electronics, a mixer and a power amp, along with budget interconnects/loudspeaker wire. The pro equipment has gain stages a plenty so I can match sources, the gain allows me to pick how much rotation I want for a given volume, the power means that there is absolutely no chance of clipping within the handling of the C7's. The power amp also has DSP so I can set a high pass filter to eliminate subsonics from vinyl.

As far as I can tell everything sounds good. I'm not quite convinced that a $300 2 channel mixer is the worlds best pre amp but I can now take my time in looking for something more domestically acceptable that has similar features.

Ssfas, with your gain control and power you have eliminated perhaps the two nastiest bugbears from home audio (pro audio having gain stages and power a plenty as standard)

Edit: I have owned said useful pro audio pieces for a few years now but never used them with hifi loudspeakers until now, I do wonder if in a level matched ABX I could discern them from some more standard hifi amplification? The phono stage perhaps sounds a bit 'grainier' than I'm used to but that could be well in my head....I imagine if any part of that set up is weaker than typical it would be the phono stage.


Active member
Better system gainstructure = CD sound pleasant now

Better system gainstructure = CD sound pleasant now

A second piece of wisdom I have gained from HUG (not directly related to loudspeakers) is the realization that my original preference of vinyl over CD was connected more to the quieter signal from vinyl that suffered less clipping than a loud CD signal.

This meant that vinyl sounded more pleasant than CD on average. Now with a better gain structure my CD's don't shout anymore and I am listening to CD more than vinyl as it doesn't suffer the blatant click's, pops and static.