The Relaunch of a Legend
Vincent's SA-31 preamp has been a mainstay in the company's portfolio of hybrid preamps for a long time. In fact, it was only Vincent's second preamp and was launched in 1996 and replaced the LS-1. Its longevity is a testament to its uncompromising performance.
"We haven't continued to produce the SA-31 due to sentimental reasons, but because of the extreme difficulty in designing a preamp with similar sound quality in this price segment," notes Vincent's Christian Fröeling. "After many customers asked us to relaunch the SA-31, we did that only after a great deal of consideration. The result is the new hybrid preamp, the SA-32."
Despite the fact that a large segment of audiophiles has gravitated to digital audio formats and multi-channel audio video systems, high quality stereo systems still enjoy a large degree of popularity. In that regard, the advantage of using a dedicated preamplifier and power amplifier rather than an integrated amplifier holds as true today as they ever did. You just can't beat the performance of a high quality 'separates' system.
Breaking New Ground
The SA-32 is a multi-purpose and robust stereo preamplifier that does the Vincent name proud. In order to offer high-end stereo technology at a lower price level, Vincent has broken new ground in its design. Instead of replacing sound regulatory and high quality components with more competitively priced parts, Vincent altered the functionality of the component instead. The outcome is a preamplifier that, in terms of sound quality, is able to compete with its 'big brothers,' and in return it comes without those functions that do not positively affect the sound quality. These consist of remote control, a large number of input channels, the balance control, and a mute function.
The Best of Both Worlds
The SA-32 brings the best of two worlds to audiophiles. The amplifier circuitry of this preamplifier combines the advantages of both transistor amplifiers and vacuum tube components. You get the Golden Age sonic benefits of classic tube gear along with the reliability and control of solid state gear. And it goes without saying that the SA-32 delivers the highest manufacturing quality and excellent value for money.
This preamplifier is the ideal partner for Vincent's SP-331/SP-331MK power amp, as well as DVD players, CD players, tuners, headphone amplifiers and loudspeakers from the Vincent range. However, you'll also find that it partners beautifully with any high quality audiophile components.
All the Best Similarities and Differences
The basic design of the SA-32 is similar to its predecessor, the SA-31. Because Vincent added some new features to the preamp, while completely overhauling and improved its circuits, it was necessary to enlarge the casework.
In comparison to its predecessor, the SA-32 uses four 6N16 tubes instead of only two. The first two tubes are placed at the input section. Two more tubes sit in front of the output after the tone control. Consequently, the overall sonic signature is more natural sounding and precise and with better dynamics and added musicality.
In addition to the RCA inputs and outputs used by the SA-31, the SA-32 includes balanced XLR connection terminals. A high-quality XLR cable (length 1.0M) is included. Vincent also provides a beautifully made remote control with an aluminum case that feels good in the hand.
The loudness function of the SA-31 has been replaced by a gain decrease. Therefore, pressing the front panel switch decreases preamp gain by 8 dB. This allows you to connect power amps with a higher amplification factor to the preamp without any difficulties.
"What we hear after a reasonable warm-up is indescribable. What an incredibly sonorous sound! Absolutely balanced, as far as the mapping of the frequency spectrum is concerned, but somehow still "bigger than in real"."
"It is particularly noticeable how well contoured and powerful the entire center area including the often problematic low centers is represented."
"...one can at least confidently say that the sonic performance of Vincent's new stroke of genius does it justice in any case."
- Like HIFI, February 9, 2018