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leftThreshold - Upgraded T2 listening sessions


As we promised you when we reviewed the upgraded T2 preamplifier, we have take the necessary time to ensure a proper burn in of the T2: provided the impressive list of internal components that have been changed or upgraded, a burn in was more than necessary !

The upgraded T2, here after designed by the U-T2 acronym, has been reivewed in our reference system #1 with the wonderful
THRESHOLD SA/6e class A monoblocks in our new 83m2 listening room: the THRESHOLD SA/3.9e has not been used in our Reference System #1 for this review.
The U-T2 has been lessoned to only once in our Reference System #2 
just after its upgrade and when it was not yet burned in, in order to be compared to the Florent's JADIS JP80MC.

During these months allowed for burn-in, the U-T2 stayed "power on" all along the time: it is not designed to be powered off as it just has a "stand by" position. The burn-in period has been long enough to be sure that the musicality will not change over the coming weeks/months, and so we can give you our conclusion regarding its musicality.

The U-T2 is an excellent preamplifier, far better than the original T2.

During the 1st listening session at the Florent's house when it had just been upgraded, -so it was not yet burned in-, the U-T2 was as good as the JP80MC ! if you know the JP80MC, then you easily understands how good it is....

Depending on your personnal taste, you can prefer the Jadis or the U-T2: personnaly I prefer the U-T2 because it is more defined, more realistic and more transparent, but Florent prefers the JP80 because it is sweeter, more seductive particularly on the female voices of the jazz recordings: this is an area where the JP80 is extremely difficult to beat...

Combined with the SA/6e 125W class A monoblocks in our reference system #1, the U-T2 delivers a very punchy presentation, well defined, without any acidity. We point out that this punch is not only due to the SA/6e because we had lessoned to the T2 in this system prior its upgrade, so we know it.

The volume can be pushed up without reaching the clipping of the electronics: the musical presentation does not change when the volume is modified. The huge work done at the power supply level produces a clear benefit to the overall punch, stability and definition of the preamplifier.

For the first time, we have seen the THIEL CS 2.0 and their 87dB/W/m low efficiency, reach their limit: if you pump up the volume too much, they cannot accept all the energy delivered by the U-T2/SA-6e combination. The limit of the loudspeakers is reached before the limit of the electronics: it was not the case with the (already powerful) original T2, because it has less punch in the low frequencies.

At the other end of the spectrum, the high frequencies become good ! this was the main weakness of the original T2: its high frequencies are not as good as the best in class, such as the Marl Levinson 380-S for example. The U-T2 is still not the best in the world in this area, but the improvement is impressive, and probably due to: the change of a lot of internal components (capacitors, transistors, etc...) and to the addition of a few small VISHAY capacitors in parallel at the power supply level.

The musicality of the U-T2 becomes exceptional if we look at the price/musicality ratio: a used original T2 can be found for less than 2.000$­­­­­­­­­ is the States (for less than 2.500€ in Europe). The full upgrade brings the price tag of a U-T2 around 3.000$­­­­­­­­­ (less than 3.500€ in Europe), and we do not see any new reamplifier able to compete with a U-T2 in this price range. The cost of the today high-end preamplifiers is so high that a U-T2 is a true bargain.

It is surely not the best preamp in the world, but you are sure to get a better final result with a U-T2 than with a 3.000$­­­­­­­­­ new preamp....

The U-T2 merits its 5 stars ranking, particularly when we refer to the comparison with the JADIS JP80MC, but take care: you must use its RCA outputs that offer a better musicality when the interconnect cable length is below than  2 meters.

So, can we conclude that the U-T2 is the best preamp in the world ? surely not as said before, even if it competes with the JADIS JP80. On certain points, it could be better, or more precisely it would have been easy to make it better for the designers, if they had placed the musicality performance above other considerations:

  • first of all, its high frequencies could be more pleasant. We emphasize on the improvement due to the FIDETECH upgrade, which is realyy huge: on "sweety" systems such as the APOGEE DIVAs, it may be preferred to the JP80, but on more rigorous systems (such as the THIEL) the high frequencies are "not enough perfect". The reason for that is explained hereblow (it is dur to the number of components used in the schematics).
  • secondly, the number of components (transistors) used is too high to provide the best possible transparency and spatial reproduction. We repeat again that it is at a very high level (remeber the JP80 comparison) but there are too many components, thei quality is not the same than in the Threshold SA series (most of the transistors are made in Taiwan) and the schematics is too complex: in high end audio, "less is more" or "simpler is better"... But Nelson PASS was gone when the T2 was designed.

On some other points, the U-T2 is exceptional:

  • the mechanical build quality is outstanding (box, connectors, separated power supply): do not hope to find the same today... except on a very few devices coming from VTL, PASS, etc...
  • the reliablity is the same than the mechanical quality
  • amongst the very good preamps, it does have a remote control: and on a daily basis, it is really a big advantage to have a remote control...
  • the upgraded power supply is outstading, and delivers a very powerful, rock solid  bass: I know very few preamps able to be so robust in the bass... The linearity of the bass could be better, but this might be due to the number of components...
  • the U-T2 is able to drive any amplifier, even those with a low input impedance such as the Threshold SA. We take the opportunity to remind you that you need very good preamps to drive the SA series... Amongst the tube preamps, you have to go to the very best too, like the JP80, VTL, etc... to correctly drive the Thresholds SA...

Stay in touch with us: we have found something even better than the U-T2 at a reasonnable price !... but the U-T2 remains a true bargain at less than $­­­­­­­3,500, you will have hard times to find better !

This conclusion brings us to another one: nowdays it is far better to buy a used "state of the art" device, get it upgraded or refresh by a specialist, than to buy a new one. The prices have reach unreasonnable levels, and the quality is not the same than it was one or to decades ago.
The Financial directors and the shareholders (whose are no longer, in most cases, the designers) have more or less killed the spirit of perfection of the most mythics companies... Look at the current productions from INFINITY, MARANTZ, HARMAN, ... which were mythics companies a few decades ago: we are not sure that their ranking would be as goos as it was...

Come back Nelson, Dan D'Agostino, Mike Elliott, etc...: we desperately need your spirit of perfection back in the stores ! and back at the top level of the audio companies management !

See you soon,

only when used on its RCA outputs, and only for the upgraded version.



Addition by Florent: listening sessions on the Florent's Reference system #2:

  • The U-T2 preamp was listened after 72 hours of burn-in: this appears to enough to me to get the full musicality from it.
  • It is extraordinary precise in its sound reproduction.
  • I have made a lot of A/B comparisons with other amplifiers than the THRESHOLD ones, such as the KRELL for example. It is perfect only when associated with THRESHOLD amplifiers: on the KRELL it was not extraordinary at all. So take care about the associated equipment.
  • It is also truely excelent in the position of the musicians.
  • It appears to not be a winner when used with non THRESHOLD power amps.

Addition written by Florent.





Creation date : 02/05/2008 @ 18:47
Last update : 09/11/2014 @ 21:12
Category : Threshold
Page read 875 times

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Reactions to this article

Reaction #5 

by Nounours18200 04/07/2010 @ 20:52


Le préampli que nous avons testé et qui s'est révélé (de façon surprenante d'ailleurs) meilleur que le T2 upgradé est le THRESHOLD Fet-10 He. Il avait d'ailleurs été classé "référence absolue" à l'époque par le magasin "Cohérences", ce qui nous laisse penser que nos oreilles ne nous ont pas trahis ! Le lien est sur ce site, dans la rubrique Threshold :

Bonne lecture, et... pour d'autres questions, il y a le Forum où vous pouvez ouvrir n'importe quel sujet de discussion pour que tout le monde en profite.

A bientôt sur

Reaction #4 

by doudou_78 04/07/2010 @ 10:01


Je souhaiterai également savoir si vous avez tester les modèles actuels tels que le STASIS R-5.0 et ce que vous en pensiez ?


Reaction #3 

by doudou_78 04/07/2010 @ 09:17


Vous indiquez "Mais si vous restez fidèles à ce site, vous verrez dans quelques temps que l'on a trouvé encore mieux que le T2 upgradé, pour un prix tout aussi dérisoire.... "

Quel préampli serait meilleur que le T2 upgradé et pouvez-vous mettre le lien ?


Reaction #2 

by Nounours18200 24/01/2009 @ 12:19

Hello Pastoulia,

Pour faire marcher une SA/3.9e encore mieux, ce n'est pas très difficile: commencez par lire notre article "optimiser votre Threshold": et surtout ne descendez pas en dessous de 15kg pour la plaque de granit (pas du marbre) et n'oubliez pas les cônes.
Ensuite, investissez dans un bon cordon secteur, ou réallisez celui qui est présenté sur le site: avec ces 2 astuces, ça ira déjà beaucoup mieux!

Pour ce qui est du préampli, je ne suis pas très en faveur d'associer des tubes aux amplis Threshold pour plusieurs raisons (dont leur impédance), mais surtout parceque les amplis Threshold sont des amplis plutôt doux: pas mous, mais avec un aigu bien dosé. Je préfère les associer à d'excellents préamplis à transistors au caractère dynamique et au pencahant plutôt clair.

Mais ce n'est que mon avis...


Reaction #1 

by Pastoulia 22/09/2008 @ 23:57


je suis très content de voir que quelq'un apprécie Threshold, au point d'en faire un site dédié presque uniquement a ces appareils.

Pour tout vous dire , je suis moi meme passé a l'acte en achetant un Threshold S/A 3.9 , suite a la lecture de vos témoignages sur ce site; mon choix étant aussi appuyé par ma conviction que la classe A fait de très belles choses.

J'ai obtenu de très bon résultats , mais j'aimerais faire marcher mon Threshold encore mieux, et pour cela j'ai pensé a la piste du préampli a lampe.

Pensez vous que l'ont peut obtenir quelque chose de très agreable avec du tube en preampli?

Et si oui, pourriez vous me citer quelques modèles?

En vous remerciant pour tout .


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