DOGE 8 CLARITY (2019 Edition)

A truly High End preamp at an incredibly low price + phono stage

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)

$1,249

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Description

The Doge 8 Clarity 2019 version is the best DOGE 8 version ever designed. In 2010, Arthur Salvatore, an independent reviewer and quite famous in audiophiles circles, wrote on his website ‘high-endaudio.com‘:

“The Doge 8 may be the best preamplifier value in the history of audio”

Please click here to read the section talking about Doge 8 (we have highlighted Doge 8 texts in red and in order not to trick we have let Arthur’s text before and after). Until very recently we didn’t read this statement because it was written in the stand-alone phono preamp section whereas Doge 8 is reviewed in the “Line preamp + phono stage” section. That was a great surprise.

Indeed Doge 8 is not just a great line preamp, but a comprehensive Line + Phono MM/MC preamp with a 100% tube phono stage, which is extremely rare today, in particular for MC cartridges.

 

DOGE 8 CLARITY 2017 & 2019 Edition enjoyed very popular success, with an incredible satisfaction rate of 96% versus the already excellent satisfaction rate of 92% for older versions.

In order to avoid too heavy a description of improvements between the Doge 8 Clarity and prior versions, we kept the page for the “Doge 8 Clarity 2017 Edition” online, but for this purpose only, as the 2017 Edition is now discontinued.

In the 2019 Edition, we added :

  • DIP switches at the back panel to enlarge the choice of impedance input for MC cartridges with 3 choices in (100 ohms, 300 ohms, 1 Kohms) 
  • 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 Tape-out RCA output, mainly for those of you wanting to connect a headphone amplifier
  • Check these new features on the back panel photo 

The key feature of the 2019 Edition is the use of high-end coupling capacitors from the UK, the ClarityCap ESA model that is, in our opinion, the best cost/performance choice on the market today. We have been so impressed by sound performance increase that who installed them on all our products.

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

There are many testimonies in forums and blogs reporting that the Doge 8 is the best preamp in the world in this price range. 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 owners’ feedback. We also received direct sales customers’ feedback that it has no competitors below $5,000 or sometimes that it is simply the best preamp they’ve ever heard.

Please note that the DOGE 8 got a 100% mark from the famous German magazine STEREO, which is pretty exceptional when it was reviewed as the ODM partnership model costing $6000, and even at this price it got 5/5 stars for price value!! (ODM means the same product in a different chassis with customizations for another brand). So finally if our DOGE 8 with a German brand on its front panel got the highest mark at $6000, Arthur Salvatore’s comments make a lot of sense when he says it might be the best value for a preamp in audio history at $1500.

These are the marks in STEREO Deutsch magazine at the price of 6800€ ($7800 including 20% VAT). This 100% and 5 stars award was get with NOS tubes whose value would increase the current version by around $500. Because he doesn’t sell anymore this product, we can quote the product name, it was LUA Reference No.7. Please note that in Germany, the magazine “STEREO” is more famous than “The Stereophile” as they have very high-class measurement devices to test all data given by the manufacturers, and are said to be more independent than The Stereophile.

6800€ retail

You might think, and that would make sense, that probably this model shares the same schematics with the Doge 8 but certainly, the German partner put higher range components in it. WRONG. The LUA reference 7 uses $0.8 Wima coupling capacitors whereas our audiophiles UK Claritycaps are 10 times the price of Wima. You can also note the number of connectors required by Mr. Lua whereas our Doge 8 use soldering only for perfect conduction and avoid any loose contact. We want clearly claim our own brand DOGE products are higher standards than our OEM German products. And you can understand why Doge 8 is a true bargain compared to the 6800€ of “Reference No.7”!

In addition to offering a fabulous sound performance, DOGE 8 Clarity also includes a high-end fully tube built-in phono stage that can compare to stand-alone phono preamps at around the same price of $1300!

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 the Doge 8 Clarity. It has a little warmth which 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 and warmth.

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 called “U follower”. In addition, it has a low very low impedance output which guarantees a very good matching with most power amps whether they are tube or solid-state power amps.

Doge 8 Clarity uses 2 transformers and a choke with Pi filtering (a choke is a power supply filtering device that has a similar manufacturing process to a transformer but with only one wiring) which allows very silent power.

One transformer is for main power and the second one is for standby mode and digital functions of the remote controller and relays activation. This makes a full separation of 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.

Most components are imported brands. The electrolytic capacitors are Japanese Nippon Chemicon, while film capacitors are French SCR or German WIMA for less sensitive ones, and for the most sensitive ones, the coupling capacitors which the signal passes through, we now use the ESA model of the UK brand Claritycaps. Relays for input selection are German OMRON. And last but not least, you would be surprised if you were comparing the signal cable we use and those of well-known brands. Our signal cable is a very expensive silver-PTFE with shielding. We put attention to any single detail, like shielding even the inputs board with the relays.

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

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 Doge 8 to automatically turn-on and turn-off Doge 9 if you use them as a complete set.

 

THE PHONO STAGE :

Doge 8 has a high-quality built-in phono stage, and this phono stage is with tubes only. There is no phono output as the phono stage is designed especially to match with the line stage. However, it is not a cheap phono stage just for the purpose to say “there is a phono stage”… it is a comprehensive phono stage with 3 choices of input: MM/MC low/MC high. MC low sensitivity is for cartridges between 0.1mV to 0.2mV and MC high sensitivity is for cartridge between 0.25mV to 0.5mV.

What is important to point out is that both MM and MC are true tube phono stages with zero solid state. There were many rumors on forums, all good-faith rumors that some Doge 8 versions had a Jfet pre-stage for MC. There has never been any single version of Doge 8 wih a Jfet pre-stage for MC. Our OEM German partner LUA  asked us to do this, that’s the reason some of you might have been confused. Here is a photo that can help you to understand this.

The RCA inputs for phono (and now the dip-switches selectors for impedance) are well shielded by a stainless steel cage which probably made some of our customers think that it was a Jfet stage.

It is nothing very important, but we wanted to take the opportunity to clarify that point as we have regularly questions about this point. All Doge 8 versions got a 100% tube phono stage since the first unit released in 2006.

 

 

PRICE POLICY

> Factory-direct price: once you will have checked-out (without need to register) you will fill your country and see our total price with includes delivery to your front door, Paypal or CC fees, and one year warranty served in your country. Possible taxes in your country are at your charge.

 

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 for upgrades choice, we offer these factory upgrades:

  • Optional Psvane 12AT7-TII for line stage: $114 (set of 4)
  • Optional Psvane 12AX7-S for Phono stage: $122 (set of 4) (S is the new high grade tube of Psvane)
  • Optional Shuguang 12AT7-T for line stage: $114 (set of 4)
  • Optional Shuguang 12AX7-T for Phono stage: $122 (set of 4)

If you wish to get NOS tubes, simply order without tubes, and we can recommend you several choices according to your budget.

 

Please note that for safety reasons to follow the international air freight regulations, remote controllers are supplied without batteries. They use the traditional AA type. Thanks for your understanding and please think to buy a pair prior to the delivery.

Vacuum tubes 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 outputs 2
XLR outputs No
Remote controller yes
Stand-by function yes
Remote controller material Luxury black aluminium
Bandwidth 12Hz to 30KHz
Signal to noise ratio >101db
THD <0.05%
Input impedance 50K ohms
Input sensitivity 200mV
MM input sensitivity 3mV to 6mV
MC input sensitivity 0.25mV to 0.6mV
Max output power 10V
Output impedance 600 ohms
Size in inches W:17″ x D:14.5″ x H:5.1/4″
Size in mm W:44cm x D:36cm x H:11cm
Weight in KG 14kg + packing
Voltage Depending on your country 120V, 220V, 230V, 240V (100V on special order)
Warranty 1 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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