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 is pronounced doje, the ‘o’ and final ‘e’ as in ‘rose’, the ‘j’ as in shhh, NOT doshay as on the Pacific Valve Company website and elsewhere.
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 slightly different cosmetics.
I am familiar with and use the Doge 8 valve preamplifier and the Doge 7 DAC. For the money they are unbeatable, excelling in sound quality over other brands costing much mouch more.
This preampilifier has received accolades on other sites, mainly on Arthur Salvatore’shttp://www.high-endaudio.com/RC-Preamplifiers.html where it sits just below mega-buck preamps.
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. 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. 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.
For the phono stage, JAN GE 5751 are excellent and my preferred choice.
Good source for valves is the ‘bugleman’ on ebay, in Hong Kong. he does not list everything so email him firstname.lastname@example.org
I like the sound of this lamp and the DAC without the springs in the towers covering the tubes. I’ve never liked what tube dampers do, except those red neoprene rings you can buy.
The Doge 7
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.
Playing high resolution files this is unparalleled sound. It beats master tape copies and everything rise. You are there at the recording!
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 …. see above Doge 8.
For my system I replaced the 12AT7’s with Amperex 6072A, it’s not as bright, more analogue, more color.