In 2011, 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 making this statement about Doge 8.
Please click here to read the full review of Arthur Salvatore about Doge 8.
You can match Doge 8 with Doge 7 who got the Best 2020 DAC award!!
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.
This Doge 8 uses 10 tubes. Many of you asked: “why so many tubes? Is it a nuclear plant??
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 to balance the signal if you use XLR outputs. So finally the main section, the Line stage with RCA use only 4 tubes like most of the tube preamps.
This version is the same as the 2019 Edition with 2 more tubes for XLR outputs. It uses exactly the same schematic as the non XLR version. If you don’t need XLR you can order the non XLR version which is on backorder status.
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.
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 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 get with NOS tubes whose value would increase our Doge version by around $400/$500. Please mail us if you want to know where to source these tubes.
LUA Reference N°7 internal
(6,800€ = $8,000) with industrial Wima cap
Doge 8 at $1299 with audiophile-grade Clariticap
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 history of audio for the firs and for the later than 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 stuffs 😉 ) 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 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. 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 released in 2006.
In the 2019 Edition 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 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. If you pay by bank transfer you will get 4% discount as our bank doesn’t charge us any fees (use coupon code “bank” at checkout). 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 (please check prices in options just above “add to cart”):
- Optional Psvane 12AT7-TII for line stage (set of 4)
- Optional Psvane 12AX7-S for Phono stage (set of 4) (S is the new high grade tube of Psvane)
- Optional Shuguang 12AT7-T for line stage (set of 4)
- Optional Shuguang 12AX7-T for Phono stage: $122 (set of 4)
- Even Psvane is more marketed, we like a lot Shuguang T series as well. Just note in “remarks” field: “I want Shuguang T upgrade instead of Psvane”
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 where 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 rare so more expensive. We can recommend you some NOS tubes, please mail us. The budget will be around $350/$500 + shipping, on tubeampdoctors.com or thetubestore.com for example. We can recommend the same tubes used in the STEREO benchmark which made Doge 8 get the 100% mark.
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 it the guy is 100% and has at least 20 positive feedbacks for NOS. A NOS should always be sold in its original packing, even it looks dirty. If the guy said he put new packing because 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.