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Doge 8 Clarity
PRICE: $1999.00
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The Doge 8 is our best selling preamp and is highly acclaimed on the internet
The Doge 8 is our modifications on the original Doge 8 design with new PCBs and audiophile Caps
The Doge 8 includes a moving magnet and moving coil phono preamp with impedance switching
The Doge 8 has 4 RCA inputs, 1 Phono input, 2 RCA outputs and 1 fully balanced output
The Doge 8 uses (4) upgraded 12AT7 tubes and (4) upgraded 12AX7 tubes (included)
The Doge 8 Clarity is an upgraded version of the legendary Doge 8 preamp that has been a marquee preamp for quite some time. The Doge 8 Clarity has the same configuration of the stock Doge 8, (8 tube dual mono design (4 X 12AX7, 4X 12AT7), 3 power transformers three outputs: Two RCA- and one XLR balanced outputs, 4 high-level inputs, MM / MC phono and remote.

The phono and high level sections have been re-designed to take advantage of the latest in component technology. The high level section includes a new PCB board, new circuit topology and the addition of audiophile capacitors. The phono section uses an all-tube configuration. The upgrade allows the phono section to accept moving coils with an output of .25 mV or greater, straight in, without a step-up transformer. The phono section also benefits from a new PCB and circuit topology. In addition to the above, the Doge 8 Clarity includes internal gain switches for high level and phono so it can be precisely matched to the input gain characteristics of solid state and tube amplifiers.

The rest of the Doge 8 remains unchanged and still has the superior build quality and heft of the original Doge 8. The user selects up to 4 gas relay inputs via remote control or front panel buttons. The Doge 8 Clarity uses a finely matched ALPS potentiometer with a channel balance of less than 0.3 The Doge 8 Clarity also uses a “Stand By” feature which keeps a small charge in its relatively hefty capacitor array. This allows for quick warm up upon turn on.

The Doge 8 Clarity comes with remote and power cord. The Doge 8 Clarity ships from Chicago IL and is only available through a USA distributor network.
Bass: Integrated nicely with the mids, although like in the previous Doge 8, we have a slight roll off occurring around 40Hz. This was less pronounced when using a MC transformer and more exacerbated when not.

Mids: Incredible, detailed and warm midrange with spot-on tonal balance and perspective.

Highs: Extended, warm and articulate highs. Excels in the upper midrange to high end where glare is virtually nonexistent, yet highs are prominent and detailed.

Dynamics: A low noise floor combined with a powerful DC supply extend dynamics to life-like levels.

Air around instruments: Uncanny with its ability to surround an actor ( a musician or a soloist) with ambience and space.

Body and Weight: While actors have body, sometimes weight can be a little heavy where the preamp can loose focus.

Warm/Cold: Nicely warms up the music - not too lush.

Imaging / Sound Stage: Superb sound stage rendition and rock solid imaging.

Resolution / Detail: Excels at resolving detail from digital sources and CDs and rendering them in their proper perspective to minimize glaze and “etched glass” rendition.

Value: This preamp competes at the high end dollar range of preamps. Although pricey, it represents a phenomenal value when compared to other preamps at similar price. The Doge 8 should only be used in systems that are capable of rendering high defition.
Tube Complement: 4 X 12AX7, 4 X 12AT7
Frequency response: 5Hz- 200kHz/ 2,5V
Distortion THD+N: = 0.0009 %/ 1V *
Max. Level- output: 10 V/ 10 kO/ 1kHz *
Signal/ Noise- ratio: = 90 dB *
Impedance In/ Out: 100 kO/ 620O
Gain: MM: 52, MC: 72
Power- consumption standby.: = 0.5 W
Power consumption total: 39 W
Dimension W x H x D : 44 x 12 x 36 cm
Weight: 35Lbs
The Doge 8 Clarity was evaluated using: CyberServer, Lite CD 21 transport Modified, Lite DAC 83 Modified, Musiland MD 11, Audio gd NFB 7, Doge 6 Clarity, Ariston RD11, Linn Sondek LP12, Magnepan Tonearm, Fidelity Research Tonearm, Ittok Tonearm, Dennon DL-103R, Lyra, Sonus Blue, Grado Gold, Sumiko Blue Point, Raphaelite Phono Transformer, Raphaelite 2A3845 Mono Blocks, Audio gd C-400, Ming Da MC 3008B, Ming Da MD 75, Von Schweitzer VR-2, VR-3 Speakers, Quad ESL 63 Speakers, Joseph Speakers, Magnepan MG 1.6, Proac Response D 2.

We highly anticipated the arrival of the Doge 8 Clarity. We knew that there were going to be some choice parts changes a la Clarity and Musicaps, but what we did not expect was a re-designed updated model that took everything that the original Doge 8 had to offer and doubled it.

In terms of sound quality, we were slightly taken aback. It seems as though the Doge 8 is kind of re-designing the sound stage and tonal balance. The Doge 8 Clarity acts as if it were correcting recordings and moving sound stage actors (instruments and vocalists) to place them where it wants to. We found that exciting as the Doge 8 Clarity had us doing what the Doge 6 did, and that is listening to all our sources over again to see what type of placement phenomena we would hear. As we said before, high end preamps pull off the “trick” of sounding warm yet not veiling the sound. A byproduct of this is that there is a “bloom” of the sound into the room. Sometimes we liked this presentation, other times we thought it was a little too musical. The Doge 8 takes the “trick” one step further. It gives warmth, detail air and presence without the over emphasis in the bloom. That is not to say that actors do not come out of the speaker, they do, albeit only when the recording warrants it. So in effect, you are hearing things in the new perspective.

Fitted with Sonus Blue and Grado Sonata cartridges the moving magnet input really excelled at giving actors dynamics and energy and vocalist more perspective. It was also one of the quietest tube phono sections we heard (like the YS Audio phono sections). High output moving coils such as the Sumikos did fine. Dennons, surprised us as correct 12AX7 tube selection gave us a quiet background. You still get a lot of noise if you use low level MCs into the Clarity, so try a step device.

So when you audition the Doge 8 Clarity you may find it too warm, listen closely, it’s letting music through the way it originally sounded. Highly Recommended.
Heard around the water cooler:
The 12AX7 tubes are used in the phono stage and the 12AT7 tubes use the high level outputs. If you are just using high level, then don’t give a rat’s ass about the 12AX7s – but make sure they are in the circuit otherwise you will screw up the bias on the 12AT7s.

You want to get the phono stage as quiet as possible, so you want a strong tube. If you are using NOS tubes, you are going to find this a challenge as you have to get (4) quiet 12AX7s. We had some Sylvania vintage 1950 grey plates hanging around – they worked nicely and were quiet enough. For those of you not fortunate enough to have NOS 12AX7s in quads just lying around, use are supplied 12AX7 tubes. We go through great pains, comparing manufactureres lots make sure we have the quitest tubes.

The high end section has more options. We used some black plate GE 6201s that we really liked and gave us the sound we desired. A great tube, and readily available, is the JAN 12AT7WC and that came very close to the black plates. As a matter of fact, one of the panel members preferred it. The Genalex 12AT7s, if you can get them, are a great tube. Don’t fall for the Psvane trick either, if you are going to spend the money on tubes, find some NOS tubes or use the Genalex.
For the RIGHT tube, its Tube Righteousness !

You can greatly change the sound of this product by following these guidelines:
(0) Reviews
I kept it on all weekend. Did a lot of listening. It has worked flawlessly. It just keeps getting better and better. The phono section is super quiet and has great extension. I think the tubes are good, but I will be looking for some Amperex 12AX7s. This thing deserves the best. I am using a VPI HMW 19 Mk III with a Denon 103 and a Ypsilon SUT (which cost more than the preamp!!!) and it sounds fantastic. The line stage is nothing short of magnificent. Super charged dynamics with inner detailing I have never experienced. My friend has a regular Doge and I loved it but I think this one is better. More defined sound stage, lower sound floor and a perception of more pace and annunciation (prat). - Ed Morris

Now that the Doge 8 Clarity has had about 75 hours of break-in time, I thought I owed you some feedback. My setup had been Audio Space Ref 3.1 300B, Doge 6 cdp, Clearaudio Concept w/Maestro mm, AES PH1, and Zu Soul Superflies. Zu cable of various grades all around.

The PH1 has been with me through numerous amps, and I’ve always thought it was a good strong performer—definitely better than the phono section in the Audio Space. After upgrading to the Maestro cartridge, improvement was minimal, and I began to suspect that the PH1 wasn’t keeping up. In looking at next-level phono stages, I worried that the preamp section in the Audio Space was going to quickly become the next weak link in the chain. The Doge 8 Clarity looked like a ‘two birds with one stone’ solution to me. And if my experience with the Doge 6 was any indicator, it was a good bet. I have to say that aesthetically it worked well too—matching the Doge 6, the Clearaudio, and the ‘cosmic carbon’ Zu’s. The remote control might have been a factor too. I had read that the phono section of the Doge 8 would benefit from a quad of good 5751’s, so I tried that out with some JAN GE’s. Meh. I wasn’t really impressed by that combo. You had suggested good quality European 12AX7s, but I didn’t have any quads of anything NOS kicking around. I did have four matched Ei 12AX7s, which are kind of quasi NOS (and quasi European for that matter). So, I kept the JAN 12AT7s in place and went with the Ei 12AX7s.

After about 50 hours, here is what I found:

1. Audiophile pressings of non-audiophile LPs, specifically new pressings of 70s rock favorites such as Neil Young, Eric Clapton, CSN, The Band, etc., which had previously been uniformly disappointing (many never had the B side played before being relegated to the shelf), suddenly came to life. You’ve got to love an upgrade that lets you add dozens of recordings to your rotation!

2. All around wider, deeper, and more clearly resolved soundstage. Really impressive stuff. Live recordings, which are often problematic, also really pop. Allison Krauss + Union Station Live: outstanding. Little Feat, Waiting for Columbus (the new MoFi release): equally superb. Most impressive of all, Bill Evans’ Waltz for Debbie and Sunday at the Village Vanguard. I’ve never heard ambient noise sound so good. And that’s just the improvement realized in my vinyl collection.

3. CD’s, which were sounding pretty good already, have benefited from the changeover as well. Had I not been looking for a new phono stage, I’m not sure I would have considered switching the Audio Space from integrated to power-only amp. That would have been a great loss. Ramblin’ Jack Elliot’s South Coast is just scary-good. Close your eyes, and you would swear that Jack is sitting about 10 feet in front of you performing live. Recordings from Chesky—oh my goodness! I’ve always just taken their word for it when they espoused the benefits of their unusual recording venues. Now I get it.

I am looking forward to lots more listening, and am once again jazzed about acquiring some new recordings. Incidentally, I have rolled the tubes in the Doge 6 quite a bit. I’ve got some NOS Brimar CV4024s in there now, as well as a quad of Fullmusic 12AX7s. I think it’s a good mix. I also liked the sound of the JAN 12AT7s, (which you supplied) along with a quad of Genelex re-issue 12AX7s. Those re-issues are a pretty good tube, and very hardy.

Thanks for the care you take in selecting your inventory. It really shows. OK, I’ve got all that off my chest. Back to work.

- Chris Keene
These are reviews that we pulled from the internet.  You can also Google "Doge 8" or "Doge 8 Clarity" for more reviews.