The Pre 1 from Lab 12 offers a seriously strong performance that belies its relatively modest price-point.
When the musical vibrancy and sparkling audio energy are properly in harmony, only then can a pure Class A tube preamplifier deliver unsurpassed sonic performance.
There is no doubt that the preamplifier is the heart of any high-end audio system and Lab12 Pre1 was designed from ground up as a high-performance preamplifier that can easily serve both solid state and tube power amplifiers.
We didn’t cut corners at any step of the design and despite Pre1’s affordable price, it can undeniably infuse a purity of music energy into any power amplifier whilst conveying an organic, transparent and highly involving sound performance.
• Power: 230VAC 50Hz (115VAC 60Hz)
• Power consumption: 80 VA max
• Frequency response: 5Hz to 200 kHz, +0-3dB
• Distortion: 0.04% at 2V RMS output
• Gain: 21dB
• Signal to Noise ratio: 90dB
• Maximum output: 14V RMS
• Input impedance: 50K ohm
• Output impedance: 900 ohm
• Tube complement: 2x E88CC dual triodes
• Inputs: 5x line stereo (RCA connectors)
• Preamp outputs: 2x line stereo (1x RCA connectors, 1x XLR connectors)
• Available Colours: Matt Black, Frozen Silver
• Dimensions (WxHxD): 43x11x29 cm
• Weight: 7 Kg
The Pre 1 from Lab 12 offers a seriously strong performance that belies its relatively modest price-point. It is not absolutely neutral but offers up a dry, clean and detailed performance that many, including myself, will really enjoy. Micro-details aren’t as evident as with our reference but at this asking price it is hard to quibble with what you are offered sonically.
The unit is very, very quiet and has enough gain to drive the three watts of the Trafomatic 2A3 amp we played with to realistic levels when turned only half way up. The quietness of the Lab 12 pre 1 is a major selling point for me as silences in music are often as important as the music and quieter passages are allowed to flow nicely against this background.
Build quality is good throughout and whilst the looks aren’t going to wow those long for glitz and glamour it is a handsome enough beast… in a minimalist kind of way. Bear in mind the all important five year warranty!
I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this product and whilst it is not bargain basement in price, it does punch above its weight sonically.