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Preparation time is 5/6 working days after the payment
2021 summer update: we have upgraded stock tubes to the high-grade German TAD brand “Premium Selected” range.
Note about chassis color: available in black only.
2022 version SPECIAL NOTE: This 2022 version has the same improvement that the 2022 RCA version we sent to Jay. To make it simple, Jay found the original RCA-XLR version was very good already, but slightly on the bright side. So we made slight schematic moves and components upgrades to make it warmer and with more details. In the first half of his video, Jay reviews the 2021 version which is now discontinued. The model on this page is the 2022 version which comes with the same upgrades that make Jay describe “2022 RCA version” as a “wow” improved Doge 8.
In 2011, Arthur Salvatore, an independent reviewer and quite famous in audiophiles circles, wrote on his audio blog www.high-endaudio.com:
“The Doge 8 may be the best preamplifier value in the history of audio”
Please click here to read the section saying this statement about Doge 8.
Please click here to read the full review of Arthur Salvatore about Doge 8.
In 2008, James L. Darby in the blog Stereomojo.com (not sure it still exists) wrote:
“I cannot think of another preamp that offers the quality sound, build, and appearance of the Doge 8 at such a remarkable price of $1,599. And that does not include the bonuses of the balanced features and a high-quality phono preamp.” (it was reviewed with chinese no-name coupling capacitors)
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 RCA + XLR uses 10 tubes. Some of you asked us: “why so many tubes? Is your preamp a nuclear plant?? Shouldn’t the signal path be the shortest?
More than simple: 4 tubes are dedicated to the phono stage. It is like a stand-alone phono preamp inside the preamp. 4 tubes are for the line stage. Tubes 9 & 10 are there to symmetrize the signal (to make it balanced) if you use XLR outputs. So finally the main section, the Line stage until the RCA outputs use only 4 tubes like most of the tube preamps.
Another question we had: IS Doge 8 RCA + XLR version a FULLY BALANCED preamp?
We want to be very transparent, and not ambiguous like some other manufacturers, the reply is NO.
This version is not a balanced version of DOGE 8. It just offers XLR outputs, but until tubes #7 & #8, this version is the same as the “RCA version” with 2 more tubes to symmetrize the signal for XLR outputs. In our kind reviewer, Jay Youtube Channel, he uses the word “fake XLR”, this chapter is online since months and we have always been transparent. Yes, some could say it is a fake XLR, but if you have XLR inputs only on your amp and no RCA to XLR cables at your disposal, it is practical to get XLR outputs.
To sum up, the RCA and XLR versions share the same schematic for all the gain section or make is more simple, the “RCA section”, which is a single-ended schematic (unbalanced) and tubes #9 & #10 are there only to symmetrize the signal for XLR outputs and not to improve the sound on the contrary for example of Doge 7 XLR which is fully balanced XLR version.
So, if you don’t need XLR sockets you can order the RCA-only version as the sound won’t be better with this version. So this version is useful only in case you have an amplifier with XLR inputs only. It costs more to manufacture but on the other hand, avoids you to buying RCA to XLR converters if your amp has XLR inputs only.
Please note: The RCA + XLR version has only one set of RCA outputs, so it can’t use for bi-amp with amp with RCA inputs only. it can be used for bi-amp only if one of the two amps in your bi-amp system has XLR inputs.
DOGE 8 CLARITY 2017, 2019 & 2021 version enjoyed very popular success, with an incredible satisfaction rate of 96% versus the already excellent satisfaction rate of 92% for older versions. This 2022 version goes even further with some key components improved.
The key feature since 2017 Edition is the use of high-end coupling capacitors from the UK, the audiophile-grade ClarityCap ‘ESA’ model that is, in our opinion, the best cost/performance choice on the market today. We have been so impressed by the improvement in sound performance compared to Wima caps, that we installed them on all our products. As a reference among many, the Italian speakers brand Sonus Farber uses them for the crossover in their $25,000 speakers.
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.
Below are the marks Doge 8 got in the famous STEREO Deutsch magazine at the price of 6,800€ (=$8000) under the reference name LUA Reference No.7.
Not only Doge 8 (under OEM brand LUA) got the extremely rare rating of 100% for sound performance, but it got at the same time 5 stars award for performance versus price!!
This 100% mark was got with NOS tubes whose value would increase our Doge version by around $400/$500.
The great news is you can now buy Doge 8 with exactly the same tubes as a factory upgrade.
Please go to the main product menu and choose “Limited Edition with NOS tubes“.
LUA Reference N°7 internal
(6,800€ = $8,000) with industrial Wima cap
Doge 8 at $1,999 with UK audiophile-grade Clariticaps
So when both an independent reviewer Arthur Salvatore and the famous STEREO magazine say for the first that Doge 8 may be the best value preamp in the history of audio for the first and for the latter that it is worth 5 stars for its price value at $,8000, then I hope reading this section, you will have less and less doubts that Doge 8 is insane value.
Not let’s go to a sensitive topic. You might think, and that would make sense, that probably we sold our schematics and PCB of Doge 8 but certainly, the German OEM customer had put higher range components in it to go to that level of price.
The LUA reference No.7 uses extremely reliable but industrial Wima coupling capacitors (the ugly red 16 plastic bright stuff 😉 ) whereas our audiophiles UK Claritycaps are 10 times the price of Wimas. You can also note the number of white plastic connectors required by Mr. Lua whereas our Doge 8 use soldering only, for perfect conduction and to avoid any loose contact.
We want clearly claim our own brand DOGE products are of higher standards than the one we manufactured for LUA German brand. And you can understand why Doge 8 is a true bargain compared to the 6800€ of “Reference No.7”! And if you want the same tubes that the ones in the review, please order Doge 8 without tubes and mail us to get the references.
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 stage driven by a current generator called “MU follower” to lower the impedance. This very low impedance output 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. The transformer is an Ei type with Z10 Japanese core steel and on purpose, not the R-core type asked by LUA in Reference No.7 above. Mr. Liu our chairman and designer doesn’t like R-core transformers and thinks they are not suited for tube amps and we can explain why by email, but we don’t want to enter in magnetic fields topics here.
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 the 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 it has surprised a lot of reviewers as none was used to such silver cable quality for such a price level. We put attention to any single detail, like even shielding 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 with 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 regular questions about this point. All Doge 8 versions got a 100% tube phono stage since the first unit was released in 2006.
In the 2019,2021,2022 Editions, we improved the photo stage and 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)
Factory-direct price: once you will have added the product to the cart (without the need to register) you will fill your country and see the total price including delivery to your front door, Paypal or Credit card fees, and one year warranty served in your country.
If you pay by bank transfer, you will get 5% discount as our bank doesn’t charge fees so we refund Paypal financial gateway fees doing so, and you can also pay by credit card and also get 5% discount using Wise.com financial gateway which is an alternative financial gateway hybrid, you pay by credit card and the money arrives in our bank account and ultra-secure.
Possible taxes in your country are at your charge.
VACUUM TUBES UPGRADE OPTIONS
We are pleased to announce that Doge 8 is now supplied automatically with upgraded tubes. Our historical partner Shuguang Tube factory is close until spring 2022 so we inquired about new supplies and we made a partnership with the german brand TAD (Tube Amp Doctor) which is the biggest tube dealer worldwide and make his own brand of tubes which are in fact tubes manufactured by main tube companies, but with very severe sorting done in TAD german Labs. Only the best 20% tubes are selected to become a “TAD Premium Selected” tubes.
What makes a preamp tube become a TAD PREMIUM SELECTED?
SAFETY PACK OPTION FOR TUBES
Please go there to read about it.
What about NOS?
NOS means New Old Stock. It is brand new tubes, but manufactured a long time ago by prestigious brands, in a time QC was at much higher standards than now, at a time when non-qualified tubes were destroyed on contrary as now, sold under same printing, and at a time some now-forbidden alloys were permitted.
Of course, if you already own tubes in particular NOS, you can choose the option “NO TUBES”.
If want to buy NOS tubes you can do it by yourself and choose “NO TUBES”.
NOS are the cream of the cream but they are becoming very rare, so more expensive and even good sometimes follow the law of diminishing returns. We can recommend you some NOS tubes, please mail us.
Regarding 12AX7 for phono stage, we don’t recommend any NOS tubes, are all the prices are no crazy on don’t reflect any more sound quality but just rarety.
Regarding like stage, it is another deal, there is still affordable NOS as 12AT7 is less used than 12AX7.
From now on we can sell you at factory upgrade the same tubes used in the STEREO magazine benchmark but only with the DOGE 8 RCA version as this version use more tubes and we want to allow the most people to buy it since our quantity of NOS is extremely limited.
PLEASE, PLEASE be very careful about NOS. Many NOS are UOS (Used Old stock). Because printing in 70’s was super robust, sole used old tubes can appear new. Never buy NOS on EBAY except if the guy is “100% rated” and has at least 20 positive feedbacks for NOS sales. A NOS should always be sold in its original packing, even it looks dirty. If the guy said he put new packing because the original was dirty, just flee.
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.