Tortuga Audio LDR1B.V25 Passive Preamp

Tortuga Audio LDR1B.V25 Passive Preamp

Located in Cape Coral, Florida, USA, Tortuga Audio is known for making well-regarded, hand- crafted, high-end passive preamplifiers–using LDR (light dependent resistor) technology for volume control. It’s owner/designer is Morten Sissener, who started the company 5 years ago. The word ‘tortuga’ translates from Spanish as ‘turtle’, hence explaining Tortuga Audio’s cute green logo of a sea turtle wearing headphones.

I must admit that turtles have fascinated me since childhood. Perhaps the closest living relative of the dinosaurs, turtles are reptiles that are remarkably resilient, have long life spans—and they can hibernate. As a child, I had many different species as pets in the late 1960s and early 1970s, from the common red-eared slider to an alligator snapping turtle, an African sidekick turtle, and even an Australian snake-necked turtle. At its height, my collection of live turtles easily reached over 30. (How and why my parents allowed this is a mystery—I even had an alligator at one point.)

Many of my turtles were eventually donated to zoos and museums that kept live animals. To this day, although I no longer have any live turtles, I keep a variety of turtle trinkets and art work scattered about my apartment, collected over decades.

Karajan conducts Debussy and Ravel/DG 180g Vinyl Reissue

Karajan conducts Debussy and Ravel/DG 180g Vinyl Reissue

This record is famous for its superlative Berliner Philharmoniker performances and Karajan’s sophisticated interpretations more than its DG house sound sonics. It’s earned its reputation well over the years, but sadly for audiophiles, the sound doesn’t improve on this DG 180g vinyl reissue. 

Unlike the four Kleiber DG reissues reviewed recently in Audiophilia, where the DG remastering managed to salvage slightly better instrumental timbre and a smidgen of the glorious acoustic of Vienna’s Musikverein, we get no such luck here in Berlin. 

The sound is unflattering throughout with compression at the loudest dynamics and a general lack of sparkle. Otto Gerdes (producer) and Günter Hermanns (engineer), the legendary team that recorded lots of 60s DGs, missed the mark, here. Maybe it was Karajan’s influence? He had an odd sense of ‘natural’ recorded sound considering he produced a uniformly beautiful one live with his orchestra.

I love quality vinyl reissues. Many of the DGs, though, are handcuffed from the start because of the original sound. This one doesn’t escape the murk. What a shame, as you will not find better performances anywhere.