In his book, Allen describes in
particular two designs, one not too complex and one a more
all-out assault on the S.O.T.A. (You
may also find my name mentioned a few times as well). It so
happens that the less ambitious design got a lot more ambitious,
a lot more. Please read on:
This design, code-named
FVP since it is a Four
was originally made for Tara Labs (yes, the famous cable people)
a company run by an ex-patriot Australian living in America, a
certain Matthew Bond (no relation to James).
Matthew/Tara Labs imported in from us in
Australia the electronics (the guts) of the
FVP design and installed it in a
box design of their own design and called this the Tara Labs
As Allen has pointed out emphatically in his
book, this is not the same Line Stage only pre-amp that was
reviewed by Stereophile (it didn't do so well, its line stage
circuit was a design that had been tried and rejected by us for
exactly the sonic reasons set out in Stereophile. And they were
not able to use our copyrighted power supply (oh why did you do
Matthew wanted us to supply a Line Stage only pre-amp, but....
I was asked to cost a Line Stage only FVP
and since the costs are basically in the major parts that still
has to be there even if the Phono Stage was not, the costing did
not turn out to be that significantly lower, less than 20% when
he was looking at an unrealistic 30% plus. So Tara Labs dropped
ours and designed their own.
If you come across a Tara Labs Passage Pre-Amp, you will be able
to determine whether it is the original superior design by one
of two ways:
A) The original has a genuine Moving Coil capable Phono Stage.
B) The PCB will have one of two notations on the underside:
FVP2-rev1 (c) 1989 Allen Wright Australia
VSE FVP2 (c) 1989 VSE AUSTRALIA
But the FVP design with its Phono
Stage in tact is not dead. Over a period of time it has been
honed to a degree that it is vastly superior to the original
FVP/Passage pre-amp. And it is now
available at a very reasonable cost.
optional features dictate the final price at the time the order
is negotiated and placed. Select the type of Volume Control and
one of two versions of the Phono Stage.
This is a
lot of pre-amp that can be compared or put into any system of
any cost and still surprise.
One friend took his to his friend's place and inserted his
FVP into a system replacing a top
of the line U.S. made pre-amp costing more than five times as
much and came away from that evening with a big smile on his
face. He realised that he had saved a bundle!
Another dealer well known around here in Sydney sold his
expensive ARC valve pre-amp and got his hand on an up-to-date
FVP, pocketed the not insignificant difference and
reckons he has a much better sounding system. Nice to be able to
upgrade and make money on it at the same time. Doesn't happen