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Doge electronics

This brand deserves its own page here. The name refers to the Doge of Venice, who in the middle ages was the head of that illustrious state. It id pronounced doshe, the 'o' and final 'e' as in 'rose', NOT doshay as on the Pacific Valve Company website!

First of all, I have no affiliation or financial arrangement with this brand. I simply list it here because it ranks with NotePerfect as one of the best brands in its field.

Doge is the brand name of an OEM manufacturer in China who makes some of the German designed LUA electronics. For copyright reasons they have slightyly different cosmetics. 

I am familiar with and use the Doge 8 valve preamplifier and the Doge 6 CD player.

If you buy Doge, go ONLY through http://www.cattylink.com/page86.html in Hong Kong - they are honest and test every unit before sending out. Ask for the Xindac silver fuse and gold raincoat interconnect as 'gifts'; the silver fuse is a must.

The Doge 8

This unit was an ear opener for me and many audiophile friends and customers - it is the only preamp we have ever heard that is truly neutral and detailed - it does not alter the signal or take any detail away. Quite to the contrary - we all heard more detail than ever before in out test records and CD's. (We have had many types of passive preamps in the past, including TVC's).

Don't assume from this that this is one of those hyper detailed etched sounding components - it is silky smooth! Seductive even, and incredibly clean (the distortions figures bear it out). All the detail is in the right place - we heard ambience we have not heard before, reflections of walls, etc. etc. And the musical involvement and energy in the music this unit is capable of is simply astounding.

The phono stage is oneof the best I've heard - an immense soundstage with width and depth unparallelled in my system. The speakers truly disappear. (I use MM only so can't comment on the MC JFET step up used). And, like the line stage, absolutely 100% correct harmonic structure.

This preampilifier has received accolades on other sites, mainly on Arthur Salvatore's http://www.high-endaudio.com/RC-Preamplifiers.html where it sits just below mega-buck preamps.

If you buy one, go ONLY through http://www.cattylink.com/page86.html in Hong Kong - they are honest and test every unit before sending out. My dealings have been with Edmond Yuen, a keen audiophile, incredibly honest and knowledgable. Like me, he is not a salesman who ended up in HiFi!

The Doge 8 is ridicilously cheap - under $AU1800. Premium tubes will cost $200.

Modifications to the Doge 8

Best valves:  The most important valve is the 2nd one from the left, looking at the preamp from the front. it's the line stage amplification valve. This valve affects the sound of the preamp dramatically and also influences how much tube rush you will hear from the phono stage.

The JAN GE 12AT7WC from the seventies, with big getters is the best in this position; this valve is delicate and detailed (and is a must in the CD player - see below). It is the best 12AT7 I have encountered - the texture is smooth and velvety, yet it is incredibly detailed - layers of treble will reveal themselves where other valves smudge them all together and harden the treble. Musically this is the most involving 12AT7 I have ever heard - it is alive to every little nuance of the performance and portrays  all the energy musicians put into into their performance: on fast dynamic  music it is RIVETING! This valve has the ability to totally change the performance level of a piece of equipment. You can identify this valve not only by the large getter, but because it comes in a box with the information printed on it; the later JAN GE's (from the eighties) have a stuck on label; also there will be date from sometime in the seventies printed on the box, eg. 'date pkg 12/73'.  Replace all 4 12AT7's with this valve.

Other valves that work well but are nowhere near the GE are Brimar, Mullard, etc.

For the phono stage, JAN GE 5751 are excellent amd my preferred choice.

Good source for valves is the 'bugleman' on ebay,  in Hong Kong. he does not list everything so email him lorenz@wiwitubes.com

1. Unscrew the towers that cover the tubes and remove the springs and Teflon discs from them; once you have put in premium valves, replace the towers but not the springs.

2. cut and remove all cable ties (minor improvement only)

3. Hard-wire the MM/MC switch next to the phono sockets by soldering jumpers from the middle of the switch to the right, (as seen from rear of board) if you use MM, or from the middle to the left if you use MC. Do the same for the resistance switch once you have decided which position to use (definitely HR for MM). (Note - you will not be able to remove the bottom left screw of the cover hiding this little board - simply undo the other three and bend the plate back; it will be bend back into position.)   This is a HUGE improvement in sound.

O      O       O

O      O       O

rear of switch untouched

 

 

O      O^^^O

O      O^^^O

rear of switch hard-wired for MM (^^^^ is a wire jumper)

here is the actual board hard-wired for MM: - the added wires are marked in blue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Doge 6

This is the most natural CD sound I have heard, especially on a musical level.

Many of us here agree. And collectively we have heard a lot of digital front ends!

It's almost analogue in sound, but that does not mean it softens the sound. Like the preamp it is utterly clean sounding. Piano sound has that natural  shimmer that you hear live and on vinyl and strings sound sweet (!!) with all the upper harmonics CD is capable of; in fact there seems to be a whole layer of upper harmonics that I have not heard before. There is great transparency, too and perfect coherence, just like the preamp.

Best of all it is very involving - you hear how the musicians play. Nuanced, agile, an with excellent dynamic shading and great bass weight. And a lot of energy when it's there in the music - this is one area where most digital components fail misearbly - they just sound lifeless.
 
Salvatore's reviewers were correct when they said from the lower mids to the treble this is up there with the best; I don't hear the problems in the bass (apparently this has been fixed since this 2007 review - certainly it has as much slam and goes as deep as the Benchmark, and that was impressive in the bass!).
 
Modifications to the Doge 6
 
Unscrew the towers that cover the tubes and remove the springs and Teflon discs from them; once you have put in premium valves, replace the towers but not the springs.
 
Install the best 12AX7's and 12AT7's you can get - I have found the JAN GE 5751's to sound the best. The 2 valves near the back (12AT7'S) really determine the sound of the player  and I consider the JAN GE 12AT7WC from the seventies, with big getters an absolutely must here. Use any other valve and the player will not sound as analogue (it will still sound great, though). See description of this valve above, for the Doge 8.
 
Like the preamp, this is a HUGE bargain - this is indeed a giant slayer!
 
Good source for valves is the 'bugleman' on ebay,  in Hong Kong. he does not list everything so email him lorenz@wiwitubes.com