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    DOGE 8 CLARITY (2019 Edition)

    The best tube preamp on the market below $6,000

    DOGE 8 CLARITY (2019 Edition)

    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.

    (10 customer reviews)

    $1,490.00$1,719.00

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    Description

     

    You might find us arrogant stating that Doge 8 is the best tube preamp but actually it is a famous independent reviewer who said “Doge 8 might be the best preamp in audio history at this range of price” (this will be detailed below). We just wanted to say this as an introduction.

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    Every 3 to 4 years we review our products’ performance and where possible we make improvements.  The “DOGE 8 LP”  replaced the DOGE 8 “2011 Edition” in early 2014. Then in 2017 the DOGE 8 CLARITY replaced the DOGE 8 LP.

    in 2019, just two years after the release of Doge 8 Clarity, we decided to add some new features to make DOGE 8 a more comprehensive preamp.

     

    All previous versions are discontinued. 

     

    The Doge 8 Clarity version is for sure the best DOGE 8 version ever designed.

    DOGE 8 CLARITY 2017 Edition faced a very popular success with an incredible satisfaction rate of 96% versus the already excellent satisfaction rate of 92% for the DOGE LP.

    Keeping consistency with this success, we didn’t attempt to do a ‘revolutionary’ change, that’s the reason we kept “DOGE 8 CLARITY” name, just adding “2019 Edition”.

    In order to avoid too heavy description of improvements between Doge 8 Clarity and prior versions (there are available in “Doge 8 Clarity 2017 Edition” page that we kept online for this purpose only), we just remind the “Clarity 8” added several features like higher performance coupling capacitors, gain control capability with a switch, MM-MC capability, high sensibility, and low sensibility switch, removal of XLR output that was transforming Doge 8 LP and prior versions into a hybrid preamp when using XRL.

    For those of you who want a detailed history of prior versions and detailed improvements of Clarity version versus prior versions, we let alive DOGE 8 Clarity “2017 Edition” web page which includes more technical details of all evolutions of Doge 8 versions, whereas this page will more focus on the evolution of “Clarity 2019” versus “Clarity 2017”.

    Just a quick summary, however, the main event of DOGE 8 Clarity compared to the prior version was the redesign of the main PCB to fit higher range coupling capacitors with bigger size and the removal of XLR section helped us to gain space. This decision was not so difficult to take, as our XLR output was using OPA chip to balance the signal and didn’t perform the same level of sound performance as RCA output as the XLR output became hybrid. So XLR removal is NOT an economic choice for sure but an assumed choice to privilege sound performance using RCA only.

    In the 2019 Edition, we added :

    • DIP switches at the back panel to enlarge the choice of impedance input for MC cartridges with 4 choices in total, 3 impedances choice for MC (100 ohms, 300 ohms, 1 Kohms) and 1 impedance choice for MM  and (47K)
    • DIP switches at the back panel to enlarge the choice of capacitance input for all cartridges with 4 choices in total (47pf, 100pf, 150pf, 220pf).
    • a RCA tape-out output, mainly for those of you willing to have headphones connected to DOGE 8 as tape recorders a now out of date.
    • Click on thumbnails to see views of these new features.

    The key feature of 2019 Edition, as well as the 2017 Edition, is the use of high-end coupling capacitors the UK ClarityCap ESA model that is, in our opinion, the best cost/performance choice.

    We have chosen the name ‘Clarity’ for the latest version of the DOGE 8 as a reference to the ClarityCap brand and also because this nickname reflects very well the DOGE 8’s main qualities of transparency and neutrality.

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    There are many testimonies in forums and blogs reporting that Doge 8 is the best preamp in the world at this range of price. We won’t make that claim ourselves as we haven’t listened to all the other preamps in the world, but we are very proud of these owner’s feedbacks. We also received direct sales customer’s feedbacks that it has no competitors below $5,000/$6,000 or simply that it is the best preamp they ever heard.

    Arthur Salvatore, an independent and very appreciated reviewer running the website high-endaudio.com wrote (we quote) “The DOGE 8 might be the best preamp in audio history at this range of price”.  

    Please note that the DOGE 8 got a 5 stars and 100% mark by the german magazine Stereo under ODM partnership at 6800€. So finally if the DOGE 8 got the best mark at 6800€, Arthur Salvatore makes sense to say it might be the best preamp of history at $1500.

    One of our customers recently compared our Doge 8 Clarity to an Audio Research LS27 he owned. Finally, after having compared the sound performances, he was so impressed by our Doge 8 Clarity that he decided to sell his LS27 and to buy the Doge 8 Clarity.

    In addition to offering a fabulous sound performance, the DOGE 8 Clarity also includes a high-end full tube built-in Phono stage that can compare to stand-alone phono preamps at around the same price.

    This preamp is incredibly neutral and transparent and provides all that you expect from a high-end preamp. You will be delighted by the silky sound of Doge 8 Clarity. It has this little warmth you can expect from a tube device, but not an exaggerated warmth compared to many other tube preamps. Those of our clientele that own solid-state power amplifiers will like this transparency and subtlety.

    The schematics (circuit design) of the Doge 8 Clarity is at the same time both 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 high/low gain switch and a low impedance output both of which guarantee good matching with power amps.

    The Doge 8 Clarity uses 2 transformers and a choke (a choke is a power supply filtering device that has similar electrical properties than a transformer).

    One transformer is for main power and the second one is for standby mode and digital functions of the remote controller. This separates the digital and analog functions. Please note that in standby mode, only the small 5W transformer remains “on”, the main power is off and tubes as well.

    All components are either imported brands 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 which the signal passes through, we now use the ESA model of the UK brand Clarity Cap.

    The chassis is particularly stiff and luxurious due to the use of 6mm thick aluminum for all panels. The front panel is made of brushed aluminum with a  black anodized finish.

    The connectors are from the highest grade, sourced from Taiwan, with 5µm gold plating.

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

    > Read here the review in the Hifi blog TNT-Audio.com

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    PLEASE NOTE: Chassis height, length and width are the same as DOGE 7 DAC, so they match perfectly.
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    COLOR 

    DOGE 8 Clarity is available in black color only.

    PRICE POLICY

    > Estimated retail price in shops : $2,590 (excluding VAT)

    > Factory-direct price: $1,490 including delivery to your front door, Paypal or CC fees and one year warranty served in your country. (There is a slight price increase versus 2017 edition due to new features.)

    From December 2017, we do the same prices worldwide except for South-East Asia, India, Russia, South-America, Africa and small islands.

    Due to the cost of shipping fees included in the price displayed above, South-East Asia will be cheaper, while laters will have a higher price. Please mail us if you belong to these countries.

    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 additional QC.

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

    • Optional Psvane 12AT7-TII for line stage: $114 (set of 4)
    • Optional Psvane 12AX7-TII for Phono stage: $122 (set of 4)

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

    Vacuum tubes12AT7 x 4 for line stage, 12AX7 x 4 for Phono stage
    RCA Line inputs5
    RCA Phono inputs1 input compliant for MC & MM cartridges
    RCA outputs2
    XLR outputsNo
    Remote controlleryes
    Stand-by functionyes
    Remote controller materialLuxury black aluminium
    Bandwidth12Hz to 30KHz
    Signal to noise ratio>101db
    THD<0.05%
    Input impedance50K ohms
    Input sensitivity200mV
    MM input sensitivity3mV to 6mV
    MC input sensitivity0.25mV to 0.6mV
    Max output power10V
    Output impedance600 ohms
    Size in inchesW:17″ x D:14.5″ x H:5.1/4″
    Size in mmW:44cm x D:36cm x H:11cm
    Weight in KG14kg + packing
    VoltageDepending on your country 120V, 220V, 230V, 240V (100V on special order)
    Warranty1 year for electronic, 3 months for vacuum tubes

    10 reviews for DOGE 8 CLARITY (2019 Edition)

    1. Scott Bayne

      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.

    2. Danny Bartlett

      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. GaryG

      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. Alessandro

      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.

    5. Brady B Stuart

      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!

    6. GaryG

      After purchasing and then spending some time listening to my new Doge 8 Clarity preamp, I was enamored enough with the sound and build quality of this single-ended class-A design that my interest turned to the Doge 7 DAC as a potential successor to my then current DAC. I’ve owned several DACs over the years of varying designs, but never an all-tube unit (and single-ended class-A, at that) with an ESS Sabre processor. So, after a few email exchanges with Marc who answered each of my questions quickly and completely, I decided to order a Doge 7 based on its promising specs.

      I received the Doge 7 directly from the factory in a few business days (triple-boxed surrounded by a wooden crate!), and upon first listen, I knew something special had just arrived – I then allowed full break-in to occur over the following weeks, and all I can say is that wow, this DAC really conveys music with heart – Abundant detail and spacious sound stage, along with a nice dose of holographic presentation, without treble glare or other frequency spectrum artifacts (the bass region also being tuneful and deep) – All of this producing a convincing “musicians in the room” effect, which other listeners have also noted – This DAC is a keeper!

      Build quality matches that of the Doge 8 in every way, meaning a lot of excellent hardware especially for the price paid (for example it as well utilizes Clarity coupling caps), and is simply a great match for the preamp. I also own all-tube amplification driving electrostatic speakers, and the system as a whole is wonderfully involving and satisfying – Thank you again, Doge, for another excellent product.

    7. Mark S

      The Doge 8 Clarity is one awesome, compact preamp – an incredible price performer. Right out of the gate using the stock Shugang hi-fi tubes, the Doge 8 performed something like a hi-priced solid-state preamp. But when mated with GE NOS tubes or better yet, the Sylvania black triple 5751s, it becomes a very rare breed of preamp (I have not listened to the Doge with the upgraded Psvane tubes). In fact, I rate it way above an Audible Illusions M3B and very different but roughly equal to my CAT SL-1 in overall sound quality. In my opinion, the the Doge has a better line stage while the CAT has a better phono stage. The Doge 8 has the rare unique combination of warmth and pace that effectively mimics a real live performance. The CAT’s soundstage is larger and just a touch airier, but the Doge is better balanced, being more linear, analytical, aggressive and coherent, without losing the warmth factor. The Doge is right at home in high-end systems. Mine consists of: Benz Micro LP-S, Ear MC-4, VPI TNT, Vibraplane, Coincident Dragon amps and Von Schweikert speakers.

    8. Dr. Tim Dawbarn

      I have been using both the Doge 8LP preamp and Doge 6 CD player for the past 3 years or so and they have never missed a beat. Neither have I , as the music they produce is so detailed and beautifully transparent with great rhythm and drive. I have stopped searching for more as I regularly hear fresh details on old recordings that can still bring a smile to my face, or a small tear to my eye. I am now content to simply listen to the music – it has taken quite a while to reach that point. If Mr. Liu and Marc set out to bring a little more beauty and happiness into the world, they have suceeded brilliantly.

      I am delighted with the build quality and design, the superb sound, and the excellent service I have always had from Marc who supports overseas buyer extremely well (I have never had any faults or problems, but have always appreciated his patient and helpful advice).

      I have been building and listening to hifi amps and equipment since the early seventies – it was probably true then that you could build better than commercial for far less money. I’m not so sure now as I doubt I could build anything near the quality of the Doge products for the price, and I certainly couldn’t produce the excellent cabinets and finish Doge offers.

      Both products are excellent and well worth their relatively modest cost – they compete comfortably with far more expensive offerings and make an excellent base for an affordable high end system. Highly recommended on all counts.

    9. Warren Marshall

      Let me start by saying that it is really easy to give this preamp 5 stars, as it is, by a VERY large margin, the BEST VALUE comprehensive preamp I have EVER heard!

      Incredible sound quality.
      Beautifully laid out.
      Exceptionally well built.
      Terrific remote control. Includes mute/unmute, volume control and on/off as well as source selection.
      Two variable outputs. I use one for my headphone amp.
      One fixed output for recording. When on phono, this actually fully bypasses the line stage – WOW that’s probably unique and an incredibly smart way to get as close to recording perfection from phono as possible.
      5 inputs inbuilt MM/MC phono.
      Variable capacitance and impedance on phono.
      You can raise the line output by 8dB, at the flick of a switch, if required.
      You can INDEPENDENTLY raise the phono output by 8dB. WOW. Fantastic if you have an ultra-low-output MC. Or a medium-output MC you want to run as if it were a MM with a 47KΩ impedance. Or simply to raise the output level by 8dB if you are recording and bypassing the line amplification altogether.

      SOUND QUALITY: There are line-only preamps out there which cost TEN TIMES as much and do not sound as good.
      And there are phono-only preamps out there which cost far more than this unit, and are spectacularly beaten in sound quality by the Doge 8 Clarity’s phono stage.

      But let me assure you that the Doge 8 Clarity (2019) is NOT perfect. If money was no object, with the ingenuity that has gone into this phenomenal preamp, I’m certain Mr Liu could have built an even MORE AMAZING preamp. But I could NEVER afford it and many of you couldn’t either. What he has done for the money is beyond amazing!

      We have here, a truly incredible preamp, which could EASILY justify a price tag 3 or 4 times what Doge is charging. I cannot shout loudly enough: BUY IT!

      An important caveat:
      The Chinese 12AT7 and 12AX7 tubes which come standard with the Doge 8 Clarity do NOT do it justice. I know these tubes well – they are quiet and “nice” but far from spectacular. The Doge 8 Clarity deserves FAR better!
      I use (still moderately priced) Siemens NOS 1982 (Munich) ECC801S (12AT7) tubes in the line stage, which, after say 200 hours settling in, allow the line stage to absolutely excel with a deep wide holographic soundstage and exquisite vocals and truly lifelike realism!
      In the phono stage, I have four Russian copy (gold pinned) Genalex Gold Lion B759 tubes which cost less than US$60 per tube. Once they have settled in (again say 200 hours), they transform this excellent phono stage into a giant killer that puts many $3000 phono preamps to shame.

    10. roger philippin

      I agree with Warrens review In that I also compared it with other Pre amp s I have on hand!! In fact I have a sound room in my basement and -Ill go as far as saying it compared favorably over units that are 5X the price .
      I “ve been out of the PVC source for some time so I cannot comment on that, however when it comes to CD the mid range bloom and base are spot on and balance between channels is good if not excellent .
      A chain is only as good as it’s weakest link . Having said that all things being equal speakers ,amp etc . this is one hell of a preamp

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