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Old 29th June 2018 | Show parent
Gear Maniac
Cheers Brent! Good questions/observations!

Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I imagine a good deal of the cost-savings lies in the elimination of transformers.
Yes absolutely. Transformers are quite expensive, whereas we are using discrete analogue components to get the RF rejection, common-mode rejection, etc that transformers provide - which carries significant cost savings if done well.

Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I'm not sure I buy your rationale behind why I don't want transformers, but the proof is in the listening, I guess.
Oh no not at all! Transformer-based preamps are great when you want to get that flavour and thickening. And different brands' transformer-based designs will have signature flavours and sounds... "Neve' vs. "API" vs "Trident"... And
transformers are a huge part of this. And in terms of RF rejection, transformers are a great solution. So we definitely think transformer-based preamps are wicked and there's tons out there to choose from and lots of them are great - we have many of them! But the "cleanest" and most linear preamps by the numbers are transformerless mic preamps.

The reason we decided to make Camden transformerless is that we couldn't accomplish what we wanted to with Camden if we used transformers. We wanted something that could be absolutely perfectly clean - which is what you would want for lots of sources - but then add a variable (and bypassable) control to tune the amount of "saturation" you can add to signal to give it "vibe" and - what we ultimately decided to call it - Mojo.

Transformers are usually used in audio kit to impart character - as in add THD, have non-linear frequency response, and introduce phase shift. Since we wanted to minimise these non-linearities when its in the "clean" mode - "vibey" transformers wouldn't work. But there are transformers that can be very linear -but not as linear as we were able to achieve using a transformerless discrete design. And if you make a transformer that's very "neutral" - well isn't that kind of not the point? When we think of "transformers" we think big, thick tone... or at least I do!

But you are 100% right... your ears will decide whether "Mojo" is up to the task of adding that transformer-style saturation that we all love. I know it's compressed streamed audio, but if you want to check out our Soundcloud page, we have examples of the "Mojo" on various sources:
MOJO Audio Examples by Cranborne Audio | Free Listening on SoundCloud

Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
And would it be reasonable to assume that another reason those great preamps cost more than yours is because it costs them more to market them?
Yes spamming Gearslutz rather than paying money for advertising helps

But yes, lots of reasons why we are able to charge less - certainly our smaller size (only 5 of us... and 3 are engineers!) helps. But most of the cost savings comes from designing the Camden really carefully and validating good low-cost components. We are pretty ruthless with cost - but never at the expense of performance... usually at the expense of our Engineers' time crawling through data sheets to find good components that aren't outrageously expensive!

Cheers for the questions!