Veloce LS-1 Battery-Powered Preamp

AC power has long been the bugaboo of high-end audio—necessary to power the electronics, but prone to polluting the audio signal path with unwanted noise. American boutique manufacturer Veloce Audio has come up with a unique and elegant solution to this problem in its LS-1 vacuum-tube preamp—put the power supply and audio electronics in completely separate boxes and run the electronics with a rechargeable battery.

The power supply, shown here, connects to the preamp with an umbilical cable, charging the battery in the LS-1 and providing power for the electronics during the charge cycle. Otherwise, the battery provides 240V of pure DC power for over 100 hours of use, isolating the audio circuitry from any hint of AC-power corruption.

Veloce adheres to the philosophy that simple circuits sound best, so the LS-1 uses the simplest possible tube-based gain stage. In addition, the active tube-biasing system automatically adjusts to changing battery conditions and is said to significantly reduce distortion.

Surprisingly, the LS-1 provides only one L/R balanced XLR input—the other five inputs are unbalanced RCA jacks. I guess Veloce thought that most sources are unbalanced, but audiophiles tend to use more balanced sources than the average music lover. Outputs include one balanced pair, one unbalanced pair, and one unbalanced output for recording.

The cost of innovation is usually high, and the LS-1 is no exception—$15,000 is a lot to pay for a 2-channel preamp. But removing any possibility of AC noise is worth a lot to those who want the ultimate sound quality, so perhaps the price is not so steep after all.

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kelsci's picture

A unique idea. The one thing that bothers me however is that I had a device that ran on AA batteries that did give me hum(a cassette player with a heaset-no name brand).

Scott Wilkinson's picture

Yeah, well, this thing doesn't use AA batteries, that's for sure! I have little doubt that it uses very sophisticated battery technology to get 100 hours of run time from each charge, and I'd be shocked if it has any hum at all.

Robert's picture

Cool, but is there any audio recordings made on these type of operated-battery digital or analog recorders??? ...See what I mean...

Mar k Fleischmann's picture

The Jeff Rowland Design Group has offered battery powered stereo preamps for many years. Here's one:

Robert's picture

Scott, Mar k & Tom; you three guys are funny. :) I read all your reviews, and I always enjoy reading what you are writing, it's fun and rewarding. * Now, about a 'review' of the Onkyo TX-NR5007 A/V receiver, or the 3007 (but not the 1007)? A lot of people (me included) would love to get one from one of you guys. That would be just perfect before we hit receivers with HDMI version 1.4. Your faithful reader, Robert P.S. Keep up the good work in the good hands of your editor, Shane. And say Hi to Claire, Mar k J. (technical editor), Kris, Darryl, Michael (yup, even him with his turntable), Fred M., Josh, and also John (the Web monkey & alternative musician). * I know you all since the very beginning when you started to write. Even J. Gordon Holt, which I miss dearly (I've read Gordon's stuff dating back to the 60s). J. Gordon is always present on my mind.

Danny Borkowski's picture

I strongly believe that batteries are the wave of the future, if not the present. And tubes are so classic. The design is gorgeous, too.

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