The C910 flagship preamp from Kyocera is like the Rolex of preamps. They are extremely rare, has an incredible transparent sound and over the years has appreciated in value. This unit was recently serviced, bias, re-capped and worn out parts replaced. All these was done to the tune of almost $700. Now it operates like new and will need to be burnt in before the “new” parts stabilizes. There are two key features on the C910 that are almost never seen on other preamps. The first is the dual volume control for each individual channel which is complemented by the input level control. With the ability to control both the input and output levels, we were able to extract out the most linear signal that will exit the preamp into the poweramp. Which allowed for some incredible transparency, detail and balance. The second is the ceramic resin base that was built under the main unit to aid in the suppression of vibrations that might affect the sensitive circuitry inside the unit. Its like merging an isolation platform on to a preamp – what a wonderful idea! So when you have this preamp placed on an AV rack, its like double isolating the unit! The phono section is equally impressive too. Very quiet and clean sounding. MM cartridges work nicely but MC cartridges has to be the higher output version for it to be able to raise the level efficiently.
Cosmetically, the preamp is in very nice shape for its vintage. Some scuff marks on the aluminum chassis but nothing major. This is the Japanese domestic version which has some differences from the export version (they keep the best for themselves!) like the rear panel on the export version is a less “classy” black panel whilst the domestic version has the much nicer champagne finish that matches with the rest of the chassis. Also the inscription is white on the domestic version while the export is in black.
This is a highly collectible preamp and past units have sold in upwards of $1,500 or more for a functioning unit. This one on the other hand has been thoroughly “overhauled” so it is one of the best and cheapest C910 out there!