The best tube preamp on the market below $5,000
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DOGE 8 CLARITY (2017 Edition)

5.00 out of 5 based on 5 customer ratings
(9 customer reviews)

DOGE 8 Clarity is our newest and most achieved version of Doge 8. It is a pure tube preamp with a built-in 100% tube phono stage. It has 5 Line inputs and one phono input.

Description

Every 3 to 4 years we try to do slight improvement to our preamp DOGE 8 The “DOGE 8 LP” was replacing the DOGE 8 in early 2014 and this year 2017 the DOGE 8 CLARITY is replacing the DOGE 8 LP. All previous versions are discontinued. 

The Doge 8 was a great preamp so we would been foolish to wish to revolutionize it. In the newest version we tried to do 3 improvements mainly required by our customers : to get higher range coupling capacitors (the ones we are directly in the signal path and whose quality can after direct result on sound), to get the capability to have lower gain in case of matching with high sensitivity power amp, to avoid to always stay in the 7 O’clock to 10 O’clock volume knob range, and finally bring back the dual MM-MC phono inputs, as it appears that if 80% of turntable use indeed MM cartridge (Moving magnets), still 20% of you use MC cartridge (Moving Coils). We fufill this request after we spent time on schematics and we now offer again a MM or MC input choice with a total of 3 gain choices :

> MM

> low sensitivity MC

> and high sensitivity MC.

The first request was more difficult. Higher range of coupling capacitors often means “bigger” capacitors (although legend says “size doesn’t always matter :-)” ). Indeed we lacked of space on the PCB to get these higher range of big coupling caps. So we had to redesign the whole PCB…

One part of DOGE 8 PCB of the previous version the DOGE 8 LP,  was used for the balanced outputs (XLR). Indeed, the DOGE 8 schematics is unbalanced. In order to offer XLR outputs, we had to balance “artificially” the signal before the signal go to XLR sockets. To do this we were using two solid state chips surrounded by other components which were taking around 10% of the space of the total PCB.

In our reflexion of how doing a new PCB with bigger space for capacitors, We finally realized that :

1) very very limited number of DOGE 8’s owners we using XLR outputs (around 2%), and

2) these XLR outputs had for results that DOGE 8 used with XLR cables was becoming a kind of hybrid preamp and many email discussions shown our customers were not aware of this.

We thought that Doge 8 XLR outputs sound performance was slighly lower than RCA outputs sound performance.  

3) the little section on PCB with these OP chips and other components were taking space that could be used instead to increase coupling capacitors space on the PCB. 

In conclusion, after reflexion, we thought that XLR outputs were useless for an unbalanced preamp, and the demand of higher range of coupling capacitors was much bigger than the demand of XLR outputs.

The solution of space was found, but then started a job to fully reorganize the lines of coppers on the PCB which tooks two months of research.

So, DOGE 8 CLARITY has not anymore XLR outputs and this is not to do cost savings of course, because the cost of the new models of couplings capacitors is significantly higher than the cost of XRL removal.

This said, here are the key differences with DOGE 8 previous version :

We chose as newest coupling capacitors the UK ClarityCap ESA model that were on our opinion the best choice to go higher in range, but keeping the price increase at reasonable level. As a matter of facts, DOGE 8 CLARITY is at $1,449 including delivery to your front door, instead $1,390 for DOGE 8 LP.

The name Clarity is in reference to ClarityCap brand, but also because this nickname reflect well one of DOGE 8 main quality which is the transparency and neutrality.     

Finally we also listen the demand of capability to reduce the gain. We added a switch on back panel called “gain reduction”, with two positions : 0dB (normal mode) and -6dB mode (50% reduction of gain).

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PLEASE NOTE :

Chassis height, length and width is the same as Doge 8 LP and overall appearance is the same except some new switches one the back panel. The silk printing of course is “DOGE 8 CLARITY”. 

So we temporarly used DOGE 8 LP pictures and our photograph will make studio by the end of the year.

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There are many testimonies in forums and blogs reporting that it is the best preamp in the world at this range of price. We won’t make it our own statements as we didn’t listened all other preamp in the world, but we are proud of these feedback. We also got customers feedback that it has no competitors below $5,000.

Salvator Arthur, an independent reviewer managing the website high-endaudio.com has listed our Doge 8 in his favorites preamplifiers.

One of our customers recently compared our Doge 8 LP to an Audio Research LS27 he owned. Finally after having compared the sound performance with the Doge 8 of a friend has been so impressed by our Doge 8 LP, he finally decided to sell his LS27 and to buy our Doge 8 LP.

In addition to offer a fabulous sound performance, it also includes a high-end full tubes Phono built-in stage that can compare to stand-alone Phono preamps around the same price.

This preamp is incredibly neutral and transparent, all what you expect from a preamp. You will be delighted by the silky sound of Doge 8 LP. It has this little warmth you can expected from a tube device, but not an exaggerated warmth compared to other tube preamps. So half of our clientele are solid state power amps owner would like this little transparency and subtlety

The schematics of Doge 8 LP is at the same time simple and sophisticated. It allows perfect matching with all power amps as it has a sophisticated buffer impedance stage, driven by a current generator. In addition it has a low impedance output which is also a guaranty of good matching with power amps.

The Doge 8 LP uses 2 transformers and a choke (a choke is a power supply filtering device which has the same appearance as a transformer.
One transformer is for main power and the second one is for stand-by mode and digital functions of the remote controller in order to separate digital from analog.

All components are either imported brand or Chinese high end brands. The electrolytic capacitors are Japanese Nippon Chemicon, while film capacitors are french SCR or german WIMA and for the most sensitive ones, the coupling caps where signal directly goes through, we use now the UK brand ClarityCap, ESA model .

The chassis is particularly stiff and luxury due to the use of 6mm thick aluminum for all panels.
The front panel is made of brush anodized aluminum in black color.

The connectors are highest grade, sourced from Taiwain, with 5µ gold plating. 

The Doge 8 LP has an output socket designed for a proprietary cable to connect the Doge 8 LP with the Doge 9 PAB mono-blocks. It allows the Doge 8 to turn-on automatically the Doge 9 if you use them as a whole set.

> Read here the review in the Hifi blog Stereomojo.com (please note that the price listed in this article was in 2007 and Chinese Yuan currency got 20% stronger versus USD since that time).

 

PRICE POLICY

> Estimated retail price in shops : $1,990 (excluding VAT)

> Factory-direct price : $1,399 including delivery to your front door, Paypal or CC fees and one year warranty served in your country.

From december 2017, we do the same prices worldwide except for Asia, Russia, Brazil, South-Africa and  small islands.

 

VACUUM TUBES UPGRADE OPTIONS

All our Doge 8 are supplied with tubes printed with a Doge logo. They are first grade Shuguang origin with Doge additionnal QC.

However since many customer asked some upgrade choices, we now offer these ones :

  • Optional Psvane 12AT7-T grade A for line stage : $110
  • Optional Psvane 12AX7-T grade A for Phono stage : $118

Please note that for safety reason according international air freight regulations, remote controllers are supplied without batteries. They use traditional AA type.

  • Tubes components : 12AT7 x 4 for line stage, 12AX7 x 4 for Phono stage
  • RCA Line inputs : 5
  • RCA Phono inputs : 1 input compliant for MC & MM cartridges
  • RCA Output : 2
  • XLR ouput: 1
  • Remote controller : yes
  • Stand-by function : yes
  • Remote controller material : Luxury black aluminium
  • MM phono input sensibility: 5mV
  • MC phono input sensibility: 0.5mV
  • Bandwidth :12Hz to 30KHz
  • Signal to noise ratio :>101db
  • THD : <0.05%
  • Input impedance : 50K ohms
  • Input sensitivity : 200mV
  • Max output power : 10V
  • Output impedance : 600 ohms
  • Size in inches : W:17″ x D:14.5″ x H:5.1/4″
  • Weight in mm :W:44cm x D:36cm x H:11cm
  • Weight in KG :16kg + packing
  • Voltage :depending your country :120V, 220V, 230V, 240V. 100V on special order
  • Warranty :1 year for electronic, 3 months for vacuum tubes

9 reviews for DOGE 8 CLARITY (2017 Edition)

  1. 5 out of 5

    I’ve now put just over 200 hours on this preamp and it is excellent! I, obviously, haven’t’ heard every preamp under $5,000 but I have owned/heard a lot of preamps. I have no reason to doubt no other preamp in this price range is even in the same league. A++

  2. 5 out of 5

    I have owned the “Clarity” version for 8 months now and it is by far the best sounding preamplifier I’ve heard and I have heard quite a few! Plus the remote is heavy enough to ward off intruders! No brainer at twice the price!

  3. 5 out of 5

    I’ve been a major audio enthusiast for the past 40 years, having owned a multitude of various quality audio components during that time. I’ve always favored tube amplification, especially with highly revealing electrostatic speakers (which I also happen to favor). I’d used several tube preamps over the years, and have always enjoyed their sound characteristics, especially when driving a tube amplifier – But, when I recently bought the new Doge 8 Clarity, I am finally hearing what a really high end tube preamp should sound like: Highly nuanced detail, a warm and open mid-band, extended and smooth upper frequencies, an ultra-wide sound stage with deep and tight bass, plus great micro and macro dynamics throughout the spectrum – And, this is with just 50 hours on the unit. The stock Shuguang tubes seem very well matched to the design, which I assume might have been voiced using these very tubes. Finally, as a retired electronics engineer, I can relate with utmost confidence that the stellar build quality of this unit both inside and out is second to none, especially at this price level. In conclusion, I am extremely happy having made the purchase, and look forward to many years of happy listening.

  4. 5 out of 5

    I bought the Doge 8 pre-amp (LP version) almost 3 years ago and it’s been flawless. The Doge 8 is something of a cult amp, with several reviews claiming is betters amps costing several times more. I wholeheartedly agree with this view. I did upgrade the tubes in my amp after a while, which improved the sound quite significantly. The amp is a superb match with the Doge 9 monoblocs, which I purchased at the same time (along with the Doge 6 CD player). For the price, you are getting a top drawer level of performance and build, which I found is not offered anywhere else. There is a lot of brand snobbery in the HiFi world, which is a real shame as it means that products such as Doge are often overlooked. Do yourself a favor and take off your blinkers..these amps are superb and should last a lifetime. Sound quality is superb, with the Doge 8/9 combo, you get a massive 3 dimensional soundstge, with superb instrument separation and overall balance. I have yet to hear anything that really competes, and I have attended many hifi shows with extravagantly priced equipment. I truly think that I’ll keep these amps for life…they are that good.
    I bought my amps direcly from Doge Audio and the service was exceptional, very fast delivery from China to Houston Tx in less than a week….packaging was bullet proof. I love these amps and think Doge Audio have nailed it!

  5. 5 out of 5

    It’s almost 2 years that I happily live with this pre. Just to be clear I gave 5 stars because I find the combination of sonic quality, solid construction and reliability unbeatable for my experience in hifi (almost 30 years by now with very little equipment rotation). Otherwise I never give a max vote to anything because I don’t believe that perfection exists.
    This pre replaced my old Audio Research SP9: with all its limits it was so euphonically pleasant that it was always hard to replace in my audio chain (NOS tubed and heavily tweaked).
    Doge’s pre was a great surprise and the first thing I thought when I heard it the first time in my audio chain (out of the box, no brake-in) was ‘Wow, this pre is really fast!’. Being much more neutral and detailed compared to the AR, sonically is just the opposite whilst is still a tube pre.
    It lacks AR euphonicity that may be hard to live without for some People, all I can say is that when I put back in chain my AR SP9 after few minutes of “magic” all its limits come heavily out and I yearn for going back to Doge.
    I’m so satisfied with this pre that I still didn’t play with tubes, although I have several high quality NOS in house and believe Doge’s statements that Psvane kit would be an interesting improvement.
    What else to say, I really appreciate the philosophy behind Mr. Liu’s designs and how he leads his company: he made the sky a little bit closer to audiophiles without an infinite budget.
    A special thank to Marc (he passionately takes care of international customers) that actively helped me into making the order for a pair of Doge’s monoblocks.

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