The designer was Andy Rappaport whom, if I remember correctly, was
under 21 years of age when the product was designed. The Rappaport
company was at that time headquartered in Armonk, New York (Westchester
County). I remember that because my brother lived in that town around
Aczel also reviewed in The Audio Critic the first amplifier produced by
the Rappaport company and thought it was also a great product. As I
recall, that unit supposedly ran extremely hot for a solid state unit
at that time.
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Before you buy.
A.S. Rappaport, Co., Inc.
146 Fedford Road
Armonk, NY 10504
List price (US dollars) at that time was $560. My summary of their
Good news - they considered it clean and very open with excellent
depth, imaging, and transient response.
Bad news - tendency to emit sharp loud buzzes when turned on and
intermittently during operation. Hopefully this was remedied in
later units (unit tested was SN 1017).
Comparative - they liked it better than the Levinson JC-2 or Audio
Research SP-4, but rated it below the Paragon 12 (which also has RF
pick-up problems) and GAS Thoebe.
Overall - Class A (near state of the art) rating (one level below
Class AA, which only included the Electro Research Class A
Hope this helps.
I owned a Rappaport PRE-1 back in 1976, I believe, when it was a new
product. A new equipment review publication at the time, The Audio
Critic, came out with reviews of about 23 different preamps of the
day and crowned this one "the best". If I recall, TAS liked it pretty
well but found it had an upper midrange glare. I purchased mine from
an audio salesman in LA who had bought it for himself, then found he
liked the current Mark Levinson preamp better. The mid-70s were a
time when solid state was challenging the current tube units (ARC's
SP-3A, for example) with little success for the most part. You can
relate this period to the early 1980s when the CDs, with their
"perfect sound forever" was the next greatest thing. The company,
Rappaport, owned by a young designer named Andy Rappaport, came out
with a two or three more products and within a couple of years was
out of business. I don't think Andy was ever heard from again in
audio circles. The PRE-1 is interesting from a historical
perspective, but 25 years of advances in parts and design have left
it behind, sonically speaking.
I was unfortunate enough to encounter Andy Rappaport directly on
several occasions. He had some of the most bizarre notions about
audio. For example, he once railed up and down about a famous
speaker having severe internal enclosure stdnaing wave
resonances. When I pointed out to him that the speaker he
claimed had enclosure resonances was none other than the Quad
ELS (A speaker with NO enclosure, it should be noted), he went
off on some tirade about complete irrelevant nonsense.
Unfortunately his preamp "design" not asgood as his stage
presentation. Build quality was EXTREMELY low. The preamp showed
terrible overload recovery, and it was trivially easy to
overload. In fact, he didn't even "design" his preamp, because,
with the exception of one part, it was an IDENTICAL copy of a
phon preamp out of the Motorola linear applications manual. It
was a VERY ordinary, integrated op-amp circuit using early, low
gain-bandwidth, very low slew rate 2nd generation IC op amps.
Performance was no better than expected for such a simple
knock-off circuit. I frankly am surprised at many of the comment
made about it: one common comment was that it sounded better
than the contemporary IC phono preamps in spite of the fact that
it WAS one of the contemporary IC phono pramps.
As mentioned, the build quality was poor, at best. One dealer I
know had about a 100% return failure rate due to failing
switches and noisy/intermittant pots. The "circuitry" itself was
potted in black epoxy, for no other reason than to hide what the
circuitry really was. Unfortunately for Andy and fortunately for
the buying public, the casting job was poor and it took about 5
minutes to bust the cast epoxy off and scope out what the thing
really was. Certainly, the $6 of active circuitry and remaining
$10 in parts did not justify the price being charged.
If you like your Rappaport, great: it may be the only one on the
planet that worked longer than 6 months. But it has to be one of
the high-end's all-time classic examples of the Emperor's New
Well, considering that the circuit completely ran out of
feedback above a couple of kHz, and thus was running raw (it was
an inexpensive Motorala IC opamp), this is not suprising, if
it's to be believed.