Axiom review

I recently purchased an Axiom preamp from Tim Stinson and wanted to share my impressions. If you are not familiar with Tim’s design you can check his web site http://luminousaudio.com/. I was always interested in a passive design for the obvious reasons: one less component to muddy up the sound, less cost, etc. But I’ve read that the sound for passives can be lifeless and the low end thin. Since Tim will let us try it before we buy it I brought one of the multi-input versions home. My initial impression was what I expected – cleaner and quicker. I also thought I might get a drier sound with a loss of bass. I didn’t get that but instead I heard a much blacker background making everything more dynamic. So I didn’t loose anything over my powered preamp except some distortion. Having a good amp is of course a necessity and a few months ago I bought a rebuilt Son of Ampzilla from Mike Bettinger. The combination is a real winner, especially when the combined cost is around $1,000 for both pieces. For those of you who like tubes I can imagine that an Axiom with a suitable tube amp would also be a killer combo.
Ray Breakall