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Seeking recommendations -- small form factor preamp


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I'm looking for a small form factor preamp, balanced. By small form factor, I mean roughly the size of a Wyred4Sound mPRE (the preamp to be replaced) or smaller (22cm wide). It looks like the options are limited in this space. Having just built a custom rack for this kit, I don't want to change form factor. 

 

The Drawmer MC1.1 looks like a contender, but I'm not in a position to audition (lockdown!) and so I'm seeking opinions, suggestions and bright ideas. 

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There are really not that many on the market. What are the features you require? There are few DACs with volume control.  

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The lack of obvious contenders is what led me to open this topic and seek inspiration from others. Really, I need input, output, volume knob. Have DACs, would prefer balanced. It seems the smaller units are all single-ended. Or sketchy Chi-Fi. 

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I should probably have qualified that this is for the desktop system, budget is $1500 max. 

 

6 minutes ago, Ray H said:

The benchmark is reputedly superb;

 

And that looks like a perfect solution, just a little spendy. Really nice. Otherwise, an excellent solution. Hmm. Anyone selling one off? Hah. 

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Some of the Burson kit is getting there, but still seems more of a bluetooth DAC with some preamp function rather than an actual preamp. 

 

The W4S mPRE was actually a perfect fit and if it hadn't developed problems it'd be a keeper. 

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14 minutes ago, PCOWandre said:

That's a DAC. It has no analog inputs. 

 

A DAC without analog inputs!  Sacre blue!  xD

 

Andy

 

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6 minutes ago, PCOWandre said:

 

I know! What's next? A power amp with no ethernet?

 

 

Xackly!  xD

 

Andy

 

PS: btw the Naim NAC 12s is a good-sounding preamp with a narrow form factor (good-sounding if you tweak it) and I think Meridian also made a narrow preamp.

 

Edited by andyr
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You could always get something from the ProAudio aisle in the supermarket: https://reverb.com/au/item/31804237-universal-audio-dcs-remote-preamp?locale=en-AU 

 

That would look sexy on the desk with the VU meters and a hell of a lot more flexible than a standard hifi preamp. That said, my computer setup is all based around a 16 channel digital mixer with an outboard headphone amplifier, so I'm probably not chasing the simplicity many on here would be seeking.

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Interesting that I think sennheiser hdvd 800 fits all your needs.

 

but for that cost and design I’d just use single ended, may even sound better.  

Edited by TDX
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Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! In this case, a case of missed emails and communication delay has been straightened out, and the vendor of my current preamp is arranging a replacement part to be sent out, hopefully alleviating the need for replacement.

 

9 hours ago, recur said:

would look sexy on the desk

It would, but the flat surfaces of the desk are already all spoken for. Hence I've built everything into a giant tower of shelving next to the desk. Very nice unit, though. 

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If you’re still looking, I’m loving the Townshend Allegri+ I bought from their eBay store. Landed in my system for a tick under $3k. No XLR, but that’s what adapters are for. It’s quite brilliant. 

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