KORA Electronics is on a mission

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Kevin_R_H, Nov 5, 2002.

  1. Kevin_R_H

    Kevin_R_H Stunt Coordinator

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    This past Spring, I purchased some equipment from KORA Electronics: their Cosmos tube monoblocks and Eclipse tube preamp. However, upon putting them into my system, I discovered the amount of gain from the preamp's balanced outputs was woefully insufficient to allow my monoblocks to drive my speakers. To enjoy my system, I had to use the "high gain" unbalanced outputs.

    Alas, I had wired only XLR cables behind the drywall to connect the preamp to the monoblocks (which are meant to sit next to the speakers). So, I had to move my preamp from its intended location (clear on the other side of the room) to a spot near my monoblocks. To listen to music, I also had to move my CD player there - with no room for my turntable. Despite the wonderful sound, this was a messy and hopefully temporary solution.

    I sent an e-mail to the gentleman I purchased the KORA equipment from (Joe Cutrufelli of JC Audio). He asked me to write up a detailed explanation to send to the KORA folks in France. I did so. Their initial response stated that they felt there is nothing wrong with my preamp. Their stance is that there's no way to set the gain of a preamp that will satisfy every possible amp. And that I shouldn't confuse "amount of gain" with "quality of sound". It's hard to argue with that.

    Timidly, I wrote back. My only remaining ammunition was that I wasn't trying to match their preamp with just any amp - I was trying to match it with THEIR monoblocks!!! They relented and told me to send the unit to their warranty guy, and they would have him modify the preamp's gain to my specifications. I did so.

    Their warranty guy (Nick Gowen of True Sound in California) called me and told me of the complexity of this modification with this unit. He had done this with other preamps before, but this "tweak" with the KORA was not so straight-forward. His final opinion was that he didn't feel confident that he could get the amp to the level of performance someone should expect from a preamp of this price range. He suggested I return the unit to JC Audio.

    Disappointed, I called Joe C. and explained what had transpired. He said he would look into it. I received an e-mail back from him two days later telling me that KORA had decided to send me a new replacement unit. Note the new Eclipse has been greatly upgraded since my purchase 6 months ago: upgraded PCB boards, upgraded capacitors, and upgraded power supply. They will also set the gain of the balanced outputs to be compatible with my monoblocks. Not only that, but they asked for the specifications of my Benz Micro cartridge so they can tweak the phono stage to match.

    So, I am here to testify to the wonderful service I received from all people concerned: Joe C. of JC Audio (salesman), Nick Gowen (warranty service technician), and of course the good folks at KORA in France. Remember, from the start, they felt at this unit had not malfunctioned in any way, and that I could solve my problem simply by purchasing some long unbalanced cables to connect to the "high gain" unbalanced outputs. Despite this, they are taking the ultimate step - they are practically "custom-building" me a replacement preamp.

    Color me impressed.
    Kevin
     
  2. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    With all the bad press that some high-end manufacturers get, it's nice to hear of a company that believes in taking care of its customers.

    Customizing a phono stage to match the cartridge is pretty important, as I've experienced first-hand.
     
  3. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    glad you got your situation taken care of. I wonder what KORA had in mind running two different gains on the balanced and unbalanced outputs? Did you ever ask them the reason for this discrepancy?
     
  4. Kevin_R_H

    Kevin_R_H Stunt Coordinator

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    Chu,

    There are 3 outputs from the preamp:

    1) Balanced
    2) Unbalanced (w/ high gain)
    3) Unbalanced (w/ low gain)

    For someone who isn't running balanced cables, they have you covered. But for the balanced outputs, KORA had to make a choice. Either run them "high gain", run them "low gain", or put a "switch" in the signal path. They chose "low gain".

    While that may work for a majority of power amps, unfortunately, it didn't work for me.

    Kevin
     

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