DIVA preamplifiers come with only the most basic function - a volume control.
They do not have treble, bass and balance controls, remote controls, mute switches and other unnecessary functions that complicate the circuit and degrade sound quality.
Standard models have only one input / one output for best possible sound. For your convenience, however, you may opt for additional inputs and/or outputs (except for the Classic One).
All DIVA preamps also come with external power supplies. This removes interference from the transformer and so provides cleaner sound.
High gain / low gain switch: The only additional function (on M-7 and Classic 300 preamps) is a high gain / low gain switch. This was originally included for audiophiles with very high efficiency loudspeakers, such as horns.
However, our own experiments subsequently revealed that conventional box speakers benefit from this option as well. Regardless of their efficiency, some speakers sound more "correct" on high gain or low gain.
NEW - JANUARY 2004
NOS Silver wiring: All DIVA preamps come with special NOS (new old stock) silver wiring. This was introduced in November 2002 as an upgrade because at that time, only a limited supply of the wire was available. However, we have now managed to find adequate stocks.
Capacitor upgrade: A new capacitor upgrade, with a slight modification in circuitry, has also been recently introduced. This simple upgrade has resulted in a vast improvement in sound reproduction.
Classic One - US$750
This is the original DIVA.
DIVA Classic One uses a single 6SN7 tube for the preamp stage, and comes with a separate, solid-state power supply.
Do not dismiss the DIVA Classic One because of its low price. This is a preamp good enough for serious audiophiles and music lovers. Like all DIVA preamps, it offers incredibly high resolution to convey the full emotion of a musical performance.
At this very affordable price, the Classic One provides about 85% of the performance of the top model DIVA M-7.
After years of refinement and upgrades - and now with a re-designed chassis that exposes the tube - the DIVA Classic One has become so good that other mid-range DIVA preamplifiers - such as the Classic 100 / 100 Pro, Classic 200 / 200 Pro - no longer offer good value for money. As such, DIVA no longer recommends these preamps.
Classic 300 - US$2580
With continual improvements over the years, the Classic 300 has finally reached the stage where its performance is on par with that of the top model, DIVA M-7.
The Classic 300 sounds different, that's all. This is mainly because the Classic 300 uses 6SN7 tubes instead of 12AX7s in the M-7.
The main difference is the significantly lower price, from the use of partial circuit board, instead of point-to-point hard wiring throughout. This significantly reduces the amount of labour needed to build the preamp.
The Classic 300 comes with an external, solid-state rectifier power supply. (Note: Picture shows the wrong power supply, which should be just a small black box. A correct picture will be updated later.) Although less costly than a tube rectifier, this is NOT a cost-saving measure. The Classic 300 (and Classic One) circuitry favours a solid-state rectifier and this is confirmed by listening tests.
Finally, the Classic 300 is also more user friendly, as it is not as sensitive to set-up as the M-7.
DIVA M-7 - US$2980
"The DIVA M-7 is the best sound we have ever heard, by a huge margin.
- Creston Funk, Concert Sound, DIVA dealer
DIVA designer T S Lim used to worry that he could never come up with anything better than the M-7 for the rest of his life.
Yet over the years, he has continued to improve upon the basic design with upgrades such as NOS silver wiring and, more recently, a capacitor change with slight modifications in the circuitry.
The DIVA M-7 is a replica of the the legendary Marantz-7 preamplifier, using 3 pieces of 12AX7 tubes, or equivalents such as the 5751 or the 8167.
This circuitry was developed during the 1950s. Yet no audio designer has since been able to improve on it All the great preamps in recent decades are either copies or variations of the Marantz-7. Hence Lims worry that he may not be able to improve on it either.
What Lim has done, however, was improve the implementation of this circuit by:
The result a vast improvement over a legend.
Do not hesitate to compare the DIVA M-7 with the most exhorbitantly priced preamps you can lay your hands on. Just be prepared for a rude shock! The DIVA M-7 is truly one of the best preamplifiers in this world.