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n0bleINtP

Suggestions for a Preamplifier to match a Krell FPB

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Spill over from another PreAmp thread - need its own discussion, rather than interfering with that one.

Situation:

I have new addition to my family: Krell FPB 600c bought used. The existing Cambridge Azur 840E preamp doesn't match, perhaps its age, they simply weren't constructed with the quality required for the long haul. Bypassing the preamp with a DAC direct to the Krell bought me a lot of new transparency. That preamp has to go :) 

Questions:


Do I need a pre-amp at all?  A Geiseler Fein II DAC is OTW and has its own volume attenuation (digital). On the other hand, I have an intuition that the buffering provided by a good pre-amp does firm up the sound. I have no direct experience to support or defeat this view. Plus I want a volume knob on the unit that I can turn with my hand. Remote +/- vol buttons don't interest me at all. 

Do I need a more "musical" preamp to match the SS nature of the Krell?  Specifically tubes (but not necessarily so).  Also aware that this is a spectrum from barely tube like to something rather warmer.  My feeling is to go warm - I get so much from even the mediocre equipment that a typical "pub band" has, ie guitar amps and so forth. It just sounds so "alive"

Budget is up to $10K. Closer to $5k is desired.  Used is Ok and favored - best chance to get something really special IMHO.

It is going into a bright room.
Speakers are temporary: Krix Nuephonix. They will be replaced within a year. Will be listening to many different things before I make that decision.

Have short listed some general and specific ideas:
Can actually audition a couple of these (only way to know)

Audio Research - lower end - prices go up quickly
Conrad Johnson - very unfamiliar with models - prices again get scary
Elektra PNYX
PrimaLuna Evo 400
Vincent SA-T8  

Suggestions and guidance welcome. 
Personal preferences for "flavor" of preamps certainly makes this somewhat difficult.

and thank you in advance :)
 

Edited by n0bleINtP
spelling / grammer

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You don't "need" a preamp, but you surely want one :) . Supratek Cabernet for line stage only, Cortese if you need phono, LCR if you can afford a bit more (but MC only).

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5 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

You don't "need" a preamp, but you surely want one :) . Supratek Cabernet for line stage only, Cortese if you need phono, LCR if you can afford a bit more (but MC only).

Thank you - Didn't put Supratek and Weston Acoustics (?) on the list - but they are there.

Was planning a trip to Margaret River. Supratek could be part of it. I really have no "feel" for what is offered by those options. It makes me curious. 

edit: turntable is uncharted territory. With the desire for "musicality", it seems inevitable that I might dabble with the "dark side" someday :) 

Edited by n0bleINtP

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1 minute ago, n0bleINtP said:

Thank you - Didn't put Supratek and Weston Acoustics (?) on the list - but they are there.

Was planning a trip to Margaret River. Supratek could be part of it. I really have no "feel" for what is offered by those options. It makes me curious. 

You want ultimate transparency and the added warmth, body, control and microdynamics whilst still maintaining neutrality then the Cabernet (or Cortese) will fit the bill. If you want added tubey warmth and euphonics to tame the Krell further, you can get the Cabernet DHT.

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IME, a good Pre-Amp, will add the Soul, Emotion and Dimensionality that is missing from going Direct.

 

Earle from Weston makes some nice sounding Pre's. You might need to check, last I heard he had a bit of a health issue, which had slowed his Manufacture.

 

The Suprateks generally have a Good rep. Might be worth checking to hear if a Good match.

 

Cymer also make some nice Pre's. Not sure if currently manufacturing.

 

Good luck.

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14 minutes ago, n0bleINtP said:

Thank you - Didn't put Supratek and Weston Acoustics (?) on the list - but they are there.

Was planning a trip to Margaret River. Supratek could be part of it. I really have no "feel" for what is offered by those options. It makes me curious. 

edit: turntable is uncharted territory. With the desire for "musicality", it seems inevitable that I might dabble with the "dark side" someday :) 

Good a high quality "Deck" (Turntable), then you're really getting into the "Good Stuff!".

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1 minute ago, initforthemusic said:

Good a high quality "Deck" (Turntable), then you're really getting into the "Good Stuff!".

I was barely out of my teens when CD entered the world. Was prejudiced from then on. With the crap consumer gear of that time CD sounded so obviously better.

Got so many many clues, ie. absolutely loved hearing vinyl when I didn't know it was playing. So easy to dismiss vinyl - the sound was inaccurate, colored. Accurate reproduction (rather than music) was always the ultimate goal.

Older and wiser I can see how silly that was: The point is to enjoy? Why punish yourself with what you like less? The vinyl revival is a delightful counter revolution to have observed. I really need to join in

Lastly your suggestion on Vincent SA-T8 was timely. Earlier today I might have actually found a brand new one gathering dust as NOS somewhere. That would be a leap into the unknown - but with your recommendation - buying unseen and unheard doesn't feel quite so insane :) 

 

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Oh, that's great. If you don't get the SA-T8, can you let me know. I'll grab it for someone.

 

If you do get it, just remember to Roll the Tubes. The 12AX7's are most important. A Cap upgrade later on is also recommended.

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1 minute ago, initforthemusic said:

Oh, that's great. If you don't get the SA-T8, can you let me know. I'll grab it for someone.

Absolutely for sure. I will find out later today maybe if they can ship it to me (its in the EU).
Might source it even if thinking of other options. An acceptable loss that lets me give it a try. Lots of praise for it specifically,  rather a lot less for its successor the SA-T7.

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I use an Acuphase 2420 with my FPB400cx and very happy.

 

C2F57678-42C6-4653-ACE4-96C5D53BBBB9.jpeg.98462010fd2fe4eb47ee49e940df14e1.jpeg

 

 

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12 minutes ago, JukKluk2 said:

Without having heard one, and going only on what I have read, you might try investingating the PS Audio BHK Signature Pre-amp.

Thank you, a good suggestion - and can probably loan one for a home audition without much trouble. And probably will ...
 

4 minutes ago, Steam said:

I use an Acuphase 2420 with my FPB400cx and very happy.

High end indeed!  Added to my list. Rather rare 2nd hand, assume their owners wont let go of them :)

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You said your speakers are only temporary? Rather than spending 5-10k on a preamp I would sort the speakers out first.

 

 

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10 minutes ago, n0bleINtP said:

 

High end indeed!  Added to my list. Rather rare 2nd hand, assume their owners wont let go of them :)

Yes very hard to find secondhand but occasionally show up if you are lucky and patient.  Although for that reason mine is the only component I bought new.  It’s easily my best bit of kit.

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I used several with my FPB-600 and KAS.

Started with an ME-25 which I absolutely loved!

Upgraded to a Krell KRC-HR which blew me away!

Currently have an Esoteric C-03x which is absolutely lightyears ahead of the above, highly recommended. (If you can find one)

Edited by yamaha man

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Another valve preamp to consider- 

Consonance Linear 1.

5a38d015dbf62_Consonance01.JPG.0184b7dd08614c0405a399f71c15d445.thumb.jpeg.38ada9e6417f98ce0b4c75cefd144f1e.jpeg

Fully balanced, dual gain settings and choice of 2 volume control options. Weighs in at 25kg.

One of our Canberra members has one and rates it highly in the pecking order of his many preamps.

Just under $5k in Australia, a lot more expensive in Europe/UK. Available through the distributor, Osborn Loudspeakers. I think Greg Osborn offers a 30 day money back deal if you decide it isn't your cup of tea.

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3 hours ago, kelossus said:

You said your speakers are only temporary? Rather than spending 5-10k on a preamp I would sort the speakers out first.
 

I do certainly agree with that. I am really just trying to get the system cleaned up the point where I can live with it. The Krix are clearly trying to do too many things at once: 6 drivers, big cabinet, modest price. The "theater" lineage (as in Hoyts not HT) shows on the compromises at the bottom end. Top end is surprisingly good however. 

Also timing - Preamp is giving up on "lunch money". Speakers are "deposit on the house"  :)
Going to take a while, even just for the auditions.


 

34 minutes ago, deanB said:

Another valve preamp to consider- Consonance Linear 1.

 

A very nice option, and thank you.  Will do some research ... 
 

Edited by n0bleINtP

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One thing to check - do you know what the input impedance is on your power amps? Some valve preamps have quite high output impedance and they may not be a good match.

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24 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

One thing to check - do you know what the input impedance is on your power amps? Some valve preamps have quite high output impedance and they may not be a good match.

For the Krell FPB C types it is >100kΩ. Rather high value (a good thing)

More interestingly input sensitivity follows the increasing voltage rail from the 200C thru to the 600C (same gain?)
For the 600C full output comes from 3.4 V RMS. The DAC I have borrowed at full output (ie 0dB volume setting) is barely warming it up. Most DACs aren't going to get the signal level I need. So - preamp is needed vs direct output from DAC.  Think I already knew this ...

Edited by n0bleINtP

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Just now, n0bleINtP said:

For the Krell FPB C types it is >100kΩ. Rather high value (a good thing)

More interestingly input sensitivity follows the increasing voltage rail from the 200C thru to the 600C (same gain?)
For the 600C full output comes from 3.4 V RMS. The DAC I have borrowed at full output (ie 0dB volume setting) is barely warming it up. Most DACs aren't going to get the signal level I need going direct. So - preamp is needed vs direct output from DAC.  Think I already knew this ...

Very good. Any preamp will do then. The latest Suprateks are 2k ohm output. I had gain issues with my DAC out too and the preamp fixed those to levels loud enough to blow my speakers if I'm not careful now.

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Lots of choices for you , but having owned 2 , I highly recommend the W4S STP-SE pre. Incredibly transparent, hybrid passive/active. I had mine with W4S sx1000 mono amps, bel canto ref100m amps and a Bryson 4bsst2 . 

 

As an alternative - a Prima Luna valve pre might be a good match ? 

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Thank you @cafe67  

Actually made a choice - and purchased a Supratek Cabernet Dual from the FS section.
A perverse mix cosmetically and otherwise, ie Darth Vader (Krell) and Steam Punk beauty (Supratek)

Perverse works for me. Hoping for some really special magic from the Supratek :) 
Everyone tells me it has that in spades ...

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18 minutes ago, n0bleINtP said:

Thank you @cafe67  

Actually made a choice - and purchased a Supratek Cabernet Dual from the FS section.
A perverse mix cosmetically and otherwise, ie Darth Vader (Krell) and Steam Punk beauty (Supratek)

Perverse works for me. Hoping for some really special magic from the Supratek :) 
Everyone tells me it has that in spades ...

 

Well done - the Supratek that my mate Con ( @Ittaku ) has, sounds wonderful!  :thumb:

 

Andy

 

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22 minutes ago, n0bleINtP said:

Thank you @cafe67  

Actually made a choice - and purchased a Supratek Cabernet Dual from the FS section.
A perverse mix cosmetically and otherwise, ie Darth Vader (Krell) and Steam Punk beauty (Supratek)

Perverse works for me. Hoping for some really special magic from the Supratek :) 
Everyone tells me it has that in spades ...

Let me know how it goes. Looking for a preamp for my FPB also.

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visual dissonance

might need to keep them far away from each other :)

 

20190522_160704_resized.thumb.jpg.93b10a380e7407f681c3fcf541a0c532.jpg

IMG_20190605_101616.jpg.13bd94d34845547c7029d3c0f6a7c1a1.jpg

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