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New Backert Labs Rhumba 1.2 and Rhumba Extreme

New Backert Labs Rhumba 1.2 and Rhumba Extreme
New Backert Labs Rhumba 1.2 and Rhumba Extreme

The preamplifier is the "heart" of the system and is an essential part of a great-sounding system. While some may extoll the theory of a source-to-amplifier direct approach, in our long (more than a century combined, gulp) experience we have found that a good preamplifier in the same system will significantly elevate the performance every time.

Recently we were visited by the good people from Backert Labs for one of our evaluation sessions. We have known Bob Backert for many years and have great respect for his abilities as a circuit designer and engineer.

Bob brought with him two new, next generation line stage preamplifiers of his own design: the Rhumba 1.2 ($3395), and the Rhumba Extreme ($5500). First we listened to our system with the wonderful Rogers EHF 200 MK 2 ($15900), a tube integrated amplifier with a bypass-able preamp section. We then hooked up the Rhumba 1.2 directly into the amplifier section of the Rogers and played the same source to get a feel for what the Rhumba 1.2 brought to the table. The results were unanimous; the sound was more open, with more space, more air and increased resolution.

Next up, the new Rhumba Extreme was put into the same system using the same music tracks. The Rhumba Extreme is a hot-rodded version of Backert's top design, the Rhythm 1.1 ($7500) in a simpler chassis. Inserting the Rhumba Extreme was jaw-dropping - this was the best the reference system has ever sounded - clarity, speed, coherence, and space were all improved.

Both of the new Rhumba models have Backert's "Green Force" direct-to-the-wall power supplies, XLR and RCA inputs and outputs, feature easily accessible 12AU7 tubes and premium Jensen transformers. In addition the Rhumba Extreme features auto-bias (in a preamp!), premium capacitors, premium feet from Edensound, as well as circuit-matched Psvane tubes. 

We highly recommend BOTH of the new Backert Labs Rhumba line stage preamplifier models for those seeking higher performance from their systems and that truly magical “liveliness" which only tubes deliver. Backert Labs preamps offer extended tube life, eliminate the need for costly NOS tubes (for the auto-biasing Extreme version), require zero maintenance, and offer all of the connectivity options any system could need. All outputs are active all the time, which makes it easy to add a sub or room correction device. We are very impressed with the performance of these new preamps and we think you will be, too. If it’s time to upgrade your preamp, these gems might just be the ticket.

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