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DB-1B/5 vs DB-15B vs Allison ESW


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I'm using the Allison ESW in my 2 vintage setups; one with an Adcom GFP-565/GFA-555II and one with a DB-1B preamp and modded Hafler 200 amp.

The ESW has switches for 12dB boosts at 35.5, 41 and 48 Hz, corresponding to large, medium and small speakers.

I recently added a DB-5 Tone Control to my DB-1B for some added flexibility. The DB-5 has a number of useful features, including a switchable 6dB boost at 40 or 60dB (or Off).

So while the ESW gives more boost and more choices of shelving points, I think the DB-5 is a suitable substitute. I certainly don't need both in one system.

I just got a DBR-15B, which combines the 1 and 5 on a single rack-mount faceplate. Here are some pics. The separates in walnut cabinets are in the shop system now. The pics of the front and back are the new 15B. The one with the oak cabinet is "borrowed" from the web but my bro-in-law is building me an oak cab for the 15B. Can't wait! The 15B will replace either the separate 1B and 5 OR the Adcom 565. That's a tough decision: Do I use DB preamps in both vintage systems or keep the excellent, Made in NJ Adcom? I'll have to obsess a bit over that ?

All DB products run off a single, separate power supply (visible on the bottom shelf, next to the Hafler 200). Individual components are daisy chained together with DIN cables. Also visible in the bottom pic are DB-9 headphone amp and a DB-2J selector switch. Neither of those requires the PSU and the switch isn't even hooked up.

DB Systems is in New Hampshire. It started up in the late 1975 and its products are highly regarded by audiophiles but not widely well known. The owner, David B. Hadaway is still selling and repairing products. I've owned a few DB-1 preamps and have had every one of them checked/repaired/updated as needed by DBH himself: https://www.dbsystemsaudio.com

OK--I'll admit it: I'm a DB nut. I've owned six DB-1 preamps (counting the DBR-15B), sold 4 and "may" sell the current one with the separate DB-5 Tone Control if I don't replace the Adcom 565. I had a DB-6 power amp briefly but discovered it had been converted to mono so I sold that. I also have the DBP-6 phono Equalization Kit and of course the DBP-10 Phono Alignment Protractor. My first post about these was almost exactly 8 years ago: 


front 3 resized.jpg

front resized.jpg

back resized.jpg

shop stereo 2 copy.jpg

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