Little Bear, Big Roar!

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Drastic's review of Little Bear P3 Pre-Amp

★★★★☆
Little Bear P3 Pre-Amp

“Little Bear, Big Roar!”

Written on: 12/08/2013 by Drastic (15 reviews written)

The “Little Bear P3 Pre-Amp” is a pre-built 3 valve unit available from our friends in China (see e-bay). The amp is supplied complete with valves & transformer plus a clear perspex top & bottom cover. You are required to fix the covers in place and connect up the wires from the transformer to the screw connectors on the amp board (all marked), all in all 10 minutes work, now fit the values then she’s ready to run.
The valves are two 6N3 (double triodes) plus one 6Z4 (rectifier), cheap to replace and easy to get on e-bay.

Sound Test :- First thing to come to light is theres FAR TOO MUCH GAIN, with the pre-amp plugging into a Power amp you could hear the sound with the volume control OFF. Turn the volume control up just a tad & your pumping enough sound for a disco.
The two output resistors (260K) next to the volume pot should be changed for 3.9Meg ohm, this reduces the gain to a usable level. There maybe a better way to reduce the gain,but without a schematic it’s hard to see what’s what as it’s a double sided PCB.

The sound quality it very good indeed! there was no hum what so ever, the bass was well controlled but at first lacked a little firmness, with a detailed mid range, the treble seemed a little sharp, but the valves have still to run in. After only a couple of hours the bass sounded more solid & the treble sharpness was less
noticeable, also she was on the stock Shuguang valves, which did sound fine, but better are available.
It’s a very good piece of kit, very good quality sound, you wont buy better for less than £50 !

The only thing against it is the top & bottom covers, they could allow a stray finger to touch a high voltage connection, but the average DIY person could easily add extra protection to prevent access.

  • 1 - 6 Months

    Time Amplifier Owned

  • Sound Quality

  • Value For Money

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Ralpi's Response to Drastic's Review

Written on: 17/01/2014

Hi thanks for your review, just picked up the P3 up to play around with in my second system. You are right on the gain is WAY too much! Sound is good though, even with the stock tubes..you mention changing the resistors by the volume pot...I see 4 of them ( 2 each side) could you indicate which 2 to change? I am not familiar with circuitry but have a colleague who could change them out for me...thanks!

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Drastic's reply to Ralpi's Comment

Written on: 17/01/2014

I currently do not have the amp in front of me as it was in fact my friends, I changed the resistors for him & run it for an evening.

You are correct there are two resistors on each side of the volume control, as I recall I changed the ones on the right of the pot, this I believe was after the signal had passed through the pot.
Ensure your friend solders the resistors in on BOTH sides of the board, as connection are on each side that must connect to the resistors. Good luck, It's I nice little amp.

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Audiolad's Response to Drastic's Review

Written on: 24/04/2014

I'm using the Little Bear two tube hybrid preamp (changed to the GE tubes) and it sits in front of my Cambridge Audio phono 551P preamp, before the Marantz amp. It is quiet (no hum or noticeable noise) and the response is just as detail without any harshness. The cartridge is the Grado Prestige Green and it works well. There may be better tube preamps, but I don't think they will perform any better than the Little Bear. The only question is the quality overall and how long it will last.

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