Coffman Labs G1-A Sounds Very Interesting - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 06-21-2012, 05:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello,

I was wondering if anyone has had the opportunity to hear the new Coffman Labs G1-A preamp? I picked up the first blip on Tone Publication's new issue, so I called Echo Audio in Portland right away. It's listed as a do-everything, old school, tube preamp that has a killer built in headphone amp and best of all a fantastic phono section. Tone was pretty tight lipped (No.46 page 129) but the person I talked to at Echo said it's going to be demoed at the grand opening of the new store next Wednesday. Kurt was unavailable. I was really hoping to get my hands on it for a demo. It's price is slightly out of my comfort zone ($5K) but if I can get down to one box that does three functions - it's actually not bad. I am most interested in the phono stage. Tone stated, Coffman Labs is only building 500 units. Must have moon rocks in it. Next to the moon rocks is a pair of 12AX7's and a pair of 12AU7's for the phono stage and 5687's for the output. Works for me, I have a pretty good stash for the Modwright. There is supposed to be a review posted shortly but I can’t take anyone’s word for it at that price; I need to hear it and I need to hear it on my system. The more input the better however.

I posted on Agon but didnt get any input ...

I thought I would throw it out there and see who has an opinion. I am really interested in the phono stage mated with the pre. I am still running my trusty Modwright SWL 9.0 SE which I will keep forever, but I am not opposed to retiring it to the man cave. This thing just looks cool to me ... man, the last time I got this excited I ended up with the Modwright and ate top romen for three months. I might not be seeing micro brews or meat for a year.

But then again, Kurt has never steered me wrong.
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post #2 of 3 Old 10-28-2012, 02:41 PM
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Like you, I've been an Echo Audio customer for many years because of the helpful advice -- and also because virtually any piece of new or used equipment could walk through the door. After ten years of buying, selling, and trading up components through them, I started to help them this year with some marketing-related projects and through Kurt, I got to know Damon Coffman (Coffman Labs). I had the pleasure of hearing some of his G1-A preamp prototypes and I became an instant fan. They were marvelous but the final version sounds even better. On my system I find it to have smooth, organic, detailed but non-strident sound, and incredible bass. Also has huge soundstage width and depth. It clearly exceeded all the other preamps I've had (and auditioned) at home. So I sold my preamp to make room for it.

I'm glad to try and answer any questions you have about it -- there are not a lot of people who have heard the G1-A yet. But here are a few opinions I hope are helpful to you:

ToneAudio Magazine reviewed the G1-A in their Aug 2012 issue(#48) so you might want to check that out. Jeff Dorgay felt the G1-A deserved an "Exceptional Value" award and also bought the review unit.

Also, there's an in-depth review of the G1-A from member "Horseface" on Audiogon -- shared a lot of helpful insights (not sure if that might be you too?)

Finally, the coffmanlabs website has a lot more detail about the G1-A as does their Facebook page.

Have fun listening -- Cheers!
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post #3 of 3 Old 11-01-2012, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello,

Thanks for the reply,

Since my first post I have had the chance to audition the Coffman G1A and it's nothing short of spectacular. I have had it for several weeks now and it just keeps getting better and better. I thought the day would never come when I would pull my Modwright SWL 9.0 SE from the top shelf but that day has come. I have now run it side by side with a Mark Levinson No.28, Audio Research LS-16, Counterpoint SA 3.1 as well as the Modwright 9.0 SE. I have had the chance to compare the phono stage to the Audio Research PH3-SE with a nice set of NOS Mullards and a Jolida JD-9 with new stock Gold Lion 12AX7’s. I even tested the headphone amplifier an compared it to my Antique Labs MG Head MK III. In all cases the Coffman came out on top and I am amazed at how well it did in each category. Most notable is the phono stage which has now cost me tons in new vinyl. Three weeks and it’s even better than on day one. That is my litmus test … I tend to love everything for about a week. I am currently making arrangements to purchase the G1A. I realize comparing a $5000 preamplifier to less expensive equipment should produce the results I have seen but given the magnitude of improvement and the number of things it does well, I think it justifies a clearing house and purchase of a single unit vs. 3 separate units. If I sum the cost of what I have into the three other components, including tubes, power cables and IC's, I'm right at $5K anyway. Funny how that sneaks up on you.

My advise after a month? If you're looking to upgrade your sound and simplify your life, you have to give the G1A a listen. I know this comes off like a sales pitch but I have never met Damon Coffman and have nothing to do with Coffman Labs; other than the fact I am about to become a loyal customer. If you’re interested in a more complete analysis check out my review on Audiogon, then let your ears decide. It's not perfect and I'd sure like a remote but for the improvements in sound, I can live with it's shortcomings.


Does anyone know if the Coffman Labs group were at RMAF? If so, how did the G1A fare? Might be nice to see it in the big leagues ... running up against the best of the best. It's hard for me to compare it in a fair sense without something better to contrast with. I read the Tone review and the writter seemed nearly as happy as I am ... he bought his unit and it's in one of his listening rooms. That has to say something ...

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