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Hitachi HCA 7500




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So a long while ago I got a Hitachi HCA-7500 preamplifier - absolutely mint in its original box, about 50$ + shipping. I never understood people who kept their boxes for 20-25 years, but hey....I tested it with some so so speakers and amp, and as this was the time i also got a Mc C-28, an Accoustic Research tube SP-12 and an Marantz Esotec SC-6, it was up against some serious competition (yes, I was all over the place). Anyway, I hooked it up, made sure it works and boxed it.

A few weeks ago I finally got to hook it properly and test it head to head against the Esotec (the C-28 is in the home office system and the SP-12 is still boxed ). Hooked it with the Aragon 4004 amp, Sound Shaper 3 eq, and Polk Audio R50 speakers.

I'll say it right up front: the 7500 is no Esotec. The more I compare the Esotec to other preamps, the more I am impressed with it - but the 7500 is a different breed. Where the Esotec is incredibly detailed all around colored, the 7500 is plain flat. It is a pure no nonsense pre, without ANY coloring. To my ears, it is a bit weak in the mid tones, but very good with the highs: the very high tones are very precise and the bass is good and tight.


The 7500 is best suited for classical music. Mozart piano concertos (21 & 23) are just IT for the 7500 as it brings out the highs in the violins and the piano.
Rock: Suade (the first one) sounded a bit harsh. I played with the eq a bit, and obviously it helped a lot. I guess that proper fine tuning can eliminate the harshness completely, but than again that album does not have that high a quality recording.
Played some Sparklehorse (the first - "Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot", which is one of the better sounding albums i know: sounded OK, but not outstanding - some detail missing. However, when i listened to that album I switched the speakers with KEF Chorales (a story for another time) and WOW, what a change! I always thought the Chorales were a bit too low key, but they are an excellent match for the 7500. They sing together, and the morale is that the 7500 is best matched with low key small-medium 2 way speakers. I can't explain it.
Jazz: Diana Krall sounded OK. The bass on the HCA-7500 is tight, although needs to be brought up a bit on the eq.

Extremely well built - all Aluminum sturdy positive knobs. These preamps go on the German ebay for between 40$-100$ (depending on condition, rack handles - the ussual). The black face looks better on that preamp than the silver face (whereas the HMA-7500 amp looks better in silver - but that's just me). Not high-high-end gear, but definitely way more than entry level. I'd say it is an excellent compromise for the budget restricted audiophile, and with proper speaker matching is one hell of a deal. A perfect second system pre.


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