Anyone heard or own TRL's (Tube Research Labs) The Dude preamp?

I’m wondering if any one here has heard or owns the DUDE preamp? It has gotten rave reviews from various members of Audiogon.

TRL designs and builds some over the top amps and preamps with the Dude at $6000.00 as one of their least expensive pieces. How does 800lb. tube mono blocks at $85,000 grab you? Paul Weitzel and his brother are the designers and builders of these wonders and I believe Paul did quite a bit of work helping Sony out with the design of SACD.

Steven B-)

Grabs me by the mortgage! :))

Link’s not workin’, Steve.

Try these

@sgrowan As reviewed by a hipster doofus. :))

sgrowan said: Weitzel and his brother are the designers and builders of these wonders and I believe Paul did quite a bit of work helping Sony out with the design of SACD.


I know I’ve read that stuff. I don’t know what went on there. But after texting and talking with Paul, himself, (not about this) he really doesn’t seem like the same person written about. I’ve found him helpful, informative, and prompt returning emails.

Steven B-)


For those wondering and doubting, the Dude is simply the best preamp I’ve ever heard. All the other preamps I’ve tried including the ARC Ref 3, SP 10, Pass Labs XP 30, Coda CP, Levinson Reference #32, and several others pale by comparison. One example I can give of the Dude’s superiority is the way it does volume. Most preamps naturally get louder as you turn them up and when listened to at loud volumes (tend to beat one up). Duh right? But with the Dude in house, a click of the volume control expands the dimensionality. The sound expands just expands around the room pushing the boundaries of the room’s height, depth, width, without making the images grow out of proportion. The bass impact, detail, and power leave no doubt that the Dude is in control. Transients and micro detail jump out from nowhere and can be quite startling. Makes you want to grab your chair and hold on.

And this is the only preamp that can make a 9 foot Steinway or Bosendorfer sound like the real thing. The proper decay surrounds each note and one can tell the piano is a percussion instrument. I’ve never heard the like.

At about 70 lbs, looking more like a power amp (and many a power amp would be embarrassed in comparison) than a preamp, one can truly say, THE DUDE ABIDES.

I’ve placed an order for the matching Samson amplifiers.

Steven B-)

I’ll be interested to know what happens when you get the amps. I can tell you that the front panel of the preamp would be enough to stop me from buying it no matter how good it sounded. UGLY. @-)

But if it sounds that good, maybe you can hide it? Or is it just the picture?

I cannot get past the name.

But I am delighted it sounds good.


It depends on the Dude. The current Dude’s case is made from half inch aluminum and the front panel is a full inch. Paul Weitzal like a meaty product. I will attach some pictures. I can tell you that once you hear one you won’t care about the looks. Elegant audiophile looks, no. My Dude has a custom faceplate so it looks different than all others. I like it, but I really like the new Dude look better, with custom colors. I favor blue.

@ Elk,

I was a little taken back by the name as well. I did not understand until I saw the film, The Big Lebowski. Good is not a word I’d use to describe The Dude.

Some watch the movie with an almost religious zeal. I don’t know that I’d agree but after one watches the movie and sees and hears The Dudei in all its glory, one does get the point.


The Dude: "Let me explain something to you. Um, I am not “Mr. Lebowski”. You’re Mr. Lebowski. I’m the Dude. So that’s what you call me. You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing."

It is a rather different movie, but is a Cohen brothers masterpiece.

The movie did nothing for me either. Thus the reference makes it even worse.


Edit: Upon further reflection, this is one of the few pieces I would be unable to purchase due to an aesthetic objection. I am typically insensitive to audio components’ appearance and almost all are at least acceptable.

The only other piece I can think of I could not buy is the D’agostino steampunk amplifier. I appreciate others believe it is audio jewelry. But for me, its appearance is akin to 22" overstyled chrome spinners on a Cadillac Escalade.


Yes, that to me is a really ugly preamp. Don’t know who Dan has doing his design work but each to his own I guess. I am a fan of the copper. It is cool. But hoodlums might break in and steal it for the copper!

Steven :


We are apparently in the minority. The magazines go nutty over this one. I imagine it is more appealing in person as I am certain the quality of the craftsmanship is high.

It’s not as ugly as that safety in the first seconds of the Super Bowl. Ouch. If it sounds good, I don’t much care what it looks like. :slight_smile:

The Dude abides.

What is this Super Bowl of which you write?


I listened some more to the Dude this morning. The Duelands inside the Dude are really filling out. I’m told that at about the 300 hour mark it really becomes stupid. Right now I can’t imagine what (more) could sound like. The Dude just seems to do everything right. My speakers just disappear. The transparency is uncanny and is never lost even when the Dude flexes its muscles. And flex it does when called to do so, yet is still handles both the most intimate and delicate of voices or instruments just as well as the giant rock or classical crescendos. One can enjoy music just as much at low volumes as well as high. The word stunning comes to mind. Definitely a life time piece of equipment. No need to ever look for another preamp.

The Dude Abides in my stereo room!



This is wonderfully exciting. A truly good preamp is magical.

Very good Steve. I hope to add some similarly positive adjectives when I get my new coincident statement line stage. Long live the tube preamp!

What is this Super Bowl of which you write?

It appears to be an extended TV commercial interrupted by behemoth humanoids attempting to kill one another. This year, as the Denver team retreated to the locker room to make funeral arrangements a rather talented young man performed several songs. Perhaps this was to distract the large crowd of intoxicated fans so that a violent futbol style riot did not break out. :D
Seriously though, Bruno Mars was very impressive unlike many of his corporately created cohort who cannot hold a tune without Autotune nor play an instrument. Good show!