This is a preamp that has a quiet legion of followers. The cult favorite amongst discerning audiophiles, the SL-1 Signature is a beguiling preamp to own. Listening to the SL-1 Signature is like listening to the sweetest voice possible in a tube preamp. There are rivals out there like Cary’s SLP-05 or McIntosh’s C2300. Both these preamps cost more and have modern amenities like remote control but sonically, pales slightly in comparison to the SL-1 Signature. The SL-1 Signature has a more “colored” bloom than the other two preamps and had a slightly more defined presentation. The Cary is sharp sounding too but sounded less “tubey” while the McIntosh was richer and more lush sounding. All three preamps are good but if you don’t want to spend more than $3,000 on a top notch tube preamp (you won’t find the Cary or McIntosh selling for under $3,000) and want to own a tube preamp that sounds just as good if not better (careful system matching will do that) than the SL-1 Signature will be the most appealing preamp to get.
The previous owner of this preamp had it upgraded to the MKIII version two years back and the factory tubes that was installed on it have about 300 hours on them. So there is still a lot of good life left. Overall, the preamp looks very good. Some scuff marks on the power supply unit and a very small surface knick on the top left corner of the faceplate. The very stiff umbilical cord that connects the main unit to the power supply is not the easiest to maneuver around but once you have set the units in place, they are a dream to use. We have the original box and copy of the manual.