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n0bleINtP

Suggestions for a Preamplifier to match a Krell FPB

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What a beautiful couple.

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13 minutes ago, n0bleINtP said:

They be married !

IMG_20190620_143519.jpg

The bold and the beautiful were the first words that came to mind.

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

The bold and the beautiful were the first words that came to mind.

excellent :) 

Thank you for your help choosing this. There is no actual way to describe the contribution of a preamp like this one. I was expecting "tube sound" to be "soft". This is is effortlessly clear and transparent. Razor sharp dynamics. Assume there is some added distortion that masks the Krell's own distortion with one having better harmonics. This does not interfere with the detail at all, but makes accoustic instruments (including voice) dramatically "live" and present. Saxophone is gloriously there.

Really quite special. A super clean solid state preamp would have given me none of this.
Thank you all

Edited by n0bleINtP

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Now that the honey moon is over do you have any follow up thoughts?

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49 minutes ago, kelossus said:

Now that the honey moon is over do you have any follow up thoughts?


Still absolutely astonished and delighted with how the combo "sings". The comparison I make here is DAC direct to poweramp versus having the tube pre between them. Clearly the result should be better and more accurate with an unnecessary stage removed. However it is night and day with the preamp in place. The acoustic leaning in my music, ie. jazz and its chillout, downtempo variants is particularly well served. Piano, vocals, brass instruments, stringed bass, bass guitar are so especially startling, so realistic and present. Due to overtones? Harmonic structure? Female vocals with spitty hard consonants and sibilence are now zippy, smooth and delightful. I can turn up Norah Jones to much higher levels, no strain, stress, shoutyness, congestion. And enjoy it at those high levels - it is smooth, and sounds like a voice. Like nothing I have experienced before.


These views probably need to be tempered with my lack of experience of better. Preamp was always a neglected component in my systems. I always figured that without the phono, a preamp has virtually nothing to do, cleanly buffering a line level signal into a high impedance load should be an engineering triviality.

I would need to compare to a really good tube linestage from Audio Research (say a Ref 5 or similar) before I might claim that the Supratek is something special in this class. But for the music I listen to, having a tube linestage in the system has been a huge win. I will always want something similar. I will check back from time to time to listen to the Krell doing its clean, precise, dry, sterile thing ... ie. check that I am not kidding myself about preferring the "euphonic" and more musical sound. I believe I am now hooked on tubes. They are magic indeed.
 

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, n0bleINtP said:

I would need to compare to a really good tube linestage from Audio Research (say a Ref 5 or similar) before I might claim that the Supratek is something special in this class.

I auditioned the Ref6 in my system and bought the Supratek Cabernet Dual instead. I have not auditioned the Ref10, and do not feel obliged to...

Edited by Ittaku

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

I auditioned the Ref6 in my system and bought the Supratek Cabernet Dual instead. I have not auditioned the Ref10, and do not feel obliged to...

very good to know :)

I am just amazed. It is not just "lounge" music that lifts it's game. Better recorded rock and roll comes to life. Bass guitar with perfect musical texture, warmth and crunch. Snare drums with slam and sizzle. Feels like a small live venue where the band has good instrument amplifiers rather than mixing it into some average PA bins.  Sounds "live", sounds magic.

Poorly mixed modern pop sounds as bad as it ever did though. Designed for ear-buds and commercial radio in the car? I am spending a lot more time with my better recordings now. 

 

Edited by n0bleINtP

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To be fair, the Ref6 did things the cabernet did not, such as a deeper and more expansive sound stage, and gave more authority to the overall presentation, but it added a veiled quality to the sound which to me was a showstopper, whilst the cabernet kept me front and centre without adding any veiling which I value far more than a bigger soundstage. I hazard a guess that the Ref10 manages to do both what the cabernet and the ref6 do well, but at $50k for a line level preamp, I couldn't justify it. Looking at the internals of the Ref6, you'll be surprised to see that a $22k line level preamp is not a true dual mono configuration all the way back to its power supply, unlike the cabernet.

 

Product-Ref-6-Stand.jpg

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7 hours ago, n0bleINtP said:


Still absolutely astonished and delighted with how the combo "sings". The comparison I make here is DAC direct to poweramp versus having the tube pre between them. Clearly the result should be better and more accurate with an unnecessary stage removed. However it is night and day with the preamp in place. The acoustic leaning in my music, ie. jazz and its chillout, downtempo variants is particularly well served. Piano, vocals, brass instruments, stringed bass, bass guitar are so especially startling, so realistic and present. Due to overtones? Harmonic structure? Female vocals with spitty hard consonants and sibilence are now zippy, smooth and delightful. I can turn up Norah Jones to much higher levels, no strain, stress, shoutyness, congestion. And enjoy it at those high levels - it is smooth, and sounds like a voice. Like nothing I have experienced before.


These views probably need to be tempered with my lack of experience of better. Preamp was always a neglected component in my systems. I always figured that without the phono, a preamp has virtually nothing to do, cleanly buffering a line level signal into a high impedance load should be an engineering triviality.

I would need to compare to a really good tube linestage from Audio Research (say a Ref 5 or similar) before I might claim that the Supratek is something special in this class. But for the music I listen to, having a tube linestage in the system has been a huge win. I will always want something similar. I will check back from time to time to listen to the Krell doing its clean, precise, dry, sterile thing ... ie. check that I am not kidding myself about preferring the "euphonic" and more musical sound. I believe I am now hooked on tubes. They are magic indeed.
 

Great to hear. Every person I have got to put a Good Quality Pre. in their System have reported similar results, i.e. a massive step up in musical experience.

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8 hours ago, Ittaku said:

To be fair, the Ref6 did things the cabernet did not, such as a deeper and more expansive sound stage, and gave more authority to the overall presentation, but it added a veiled quality to the sound which to me was a showstopper, whilst the cabernet kept me front and centre without adding any veiling which I value far more than a bigger soundstage. I hazard a guess that the Ref10 manages to do both what the cabernet and the ref6 do well, but at $50k for a line level preamp, I couldn't justify it. Looking at the internals of the Ref6, you'll be surprised to see that a $22k line level preamp is not a true dual mono configuration all the way back to its power supply, unlike the cabernet.

 

Product-Ref-6-Stand.jpg

Interesting point regarding the ARC pre's. I had to go all the way back to the REF2 to find a dual mono design.

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Quote

Suggestions for a Preamplifier to match a Krell FPB

@n0bleINtP This Krell FPB-600 has 100kohm input impedance, so loading wise anything can drive it depending on your "preamp colouration taste", and how much your source can put out, even passives or high output impedance tube preamps, BUT!! it's input sensitivity is only 3.5 volts, so this needs to be taken into consideration.

 

Cheers George   

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Here's another preamp to consider.

Tempo Electric.  Universal EQ Mono Preamplifier.

Steve.

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35 minutes ago, georgehifi said:

@n0bleINtP This Krell FPB-600 has 100kohm input impedance, so loading wise anything can drive it depending on your "preamp colouration taste", and how much your source can put out, even passives or high output impedance tube preamps, BUT!! it's input sensitivity is only 3.5 volts, so this needs to be taken into consideration.

 

Cheers George   

Does this mean you need a preamp with high or low gain?

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37 minutes ago, kelossus said:

Does this mean you need a preamp with high or low gain?

Seems to work out all right. Moderate loud listening works out to be about "12 o'clock". Really hammering it goes a bit further.  So - plenty of range on the volume control.

Problems occur with over sensitive power amplifiers - full level can be less than 1V for many amps today. ie: throttle the preamp - less life in the music / more background noise (so I've heard).  The newer designs have an adjustable gain output to help with this.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, kelossus said:

Does this mean you need a preamp with high or low gain?

This as I said depends on what your source can give out, some dacs can give 6v!!, in this case you'd be mad to go an active pre, a passive will do totally, especially with 100kohm input impedance.

 

Chers George 

Edited by georgehifi

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2 hours ago, georgehifi said:

@n0bleINtP This Krell FPB-600 has 100kohm input impedance, so loading wise anything can drive it depending on your "preamp colouration taste", and how much your source can put out, even passives or high output impedance tube preamps, BUT!! it's input sensitivity is only 3.5 volts, so this needs to be taken into consideration.

 

Cheers George   

 

2 hours ago, kranky said:

Here's another preamp to consider.

Tempo Electric.  Universal EQ Mono Preamplifier.

Steve.

Umm I think the OP has already bought a preamp....

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