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Backert Labs

Rumba 1.3

“Sounds like real music.”

“Immediately drew you in with its sense of aliveness, openness, detail, and smoothness.”
Positive Feedback on the Rhumba 1.1

At just $3,500, the Rhumba 1.3 linestage preamp has the same basic circuit design as the $9,995 Rhythm 1.3. And the same power supply design — our patented power supply, “GreenForce”™

All in a gorgeous chassis. Like the Rhythm, the Rhumba is designed and assembled in the U.S., with NO farming out of the attractive aluminum casework to other countries. The aluminum that makes the chassis is entirely machined right in Pennsylvania.

From its debut, the Rhumba has wowed listeners. See reviewer Terry London’s raving preview of the 1st-generation Rhumba 1.1 here including his stunning conclusion, “might be the best deal in high-end gear of the 21st century”.

Steve Guttenberg said "This palpability, this dimensionality, this body to the sound of each instrument, was really, really spectacular. But the life of it, the rhythm, the pace ... was fantastic.

Here are the 2 reviews:

The Rhumba 1.3 features a convenient tube access door, which allows easy tube changes and comes off with 2 chunky thumbscrews that remain attached to the door, so they can never get away from you. Other features carried over from the Rhythm 1.3 include fully balanced XLR input and output, a luxurious remote volume control, mute switch, stereo/mono switch, balance control, REC OUT jacks, Home Theater Bypass jacks, toroidal transformer and IEC inlet to allow you to experiment with various power cords.

The Rhumba 1.3 has 8dB of gain (we can adjust this to suit your specific system).

The Sound

The Rhumba sounds remarkably similar to the company’s flagship. Although it is about 1/3 the price of the Rhythm we were able to bring its fun factor, its detail retrieval and its harmonic richness extremely close to the Rhythm’s.

These sonic characteristics form part of the company’s mission. Bob Backert has said, “When you enter a club or restaurant, it’s usually easy to tell whether the music is live, or being played on a stereo. The mission I set was to make it impossible to tell the difference. To do that, we focus on the accuracy of two things: dynamics, and timing. Several of our technical innovations have brought out audible improvements in these areas. As a result, I believe we have made significant progress toward the goal of reproducing truly live sound.”
                                                                                                                           Original Rhumba 1.1 with remote
Building on the original 1.1, the 1.2 and 1.3 models feature progressively
“bigger” sound with greater weight, more articulate midrange and more precise imaging.

The Power Supply

One part of the Rhumba that improves timing and dynamic accuracy is the power supply. Patented by Mr. Backert, GreenForce™ is the first completely new kind of power supply since switching supplies were invented in the 1950s. GreenForce allows the power supply to use far higher quality capacitors (in the case of the Rhumba, high quality polypropylene capacitors).

The way the power supply works is also key: it’s very different, because it actively pushes power into the amplifying circuit, instead of passively bleeding out power as the circuit demands it. That ‘push’ makes GreenForce more nimble in responding to power demands from musical recordings. This improves the accuracy of rhythm and dynamics.

GreenForce gets its green “cred” by shunning typical power supply parts (electrolytic capacitors) that contain environmentally unfriendly chemicals, instead using environmentally neutral “film” capacitors. Built in the U.S. Like the Rhythm, the Rhumba is designed by veteran circuit designer Bob Backert, and assembled in the U.S. under the close supervision of his son, Chief Operations Officer Gary Backert.


Two 12au7 tubes are utilized for the gain stage, accessible by a convenient transparent access door that highlights the warm glow of the tubes through the top panel. The Rhumba comes with Mullard tubes.

Gain Stage – “Dynamic Linearity” Circuit

As in the Rhythm, the gain stage features a unique tube support circuit that allows more accurate dynamics, lower distortion and low output impedance. These benefits are achieved without resorting to common tools such as negative feedback and cathode followers, which Mr. Backert feels are detrimental to sonic accuracy.


The Rhumba is available with beautiful red or blue body color, shown below. Because company president Andy Tebbe thinks “literally every music lover in America should have a red or blue Rhumba,” we keep this affordable for our customers, adding only $300 for this option.

Fully Balanced XLR Input and Output

Shown below is the rear panel of the Rhumba 1.2 Extreme, which is identical in appearance for the Rhumba 1.3.

Silver or Black

As a no-cost option, the Rhumba is available with either a silver or black font plate.