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Trying to find the best pre for my 2 channel setup


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Just bought a pair of sonus faber cremona auditors and am planning on running them with my yamaha p2200 from 1977

 

Wondering if anyone can suggest a nice pre pairing for my p2200 and these speakers.

Analogs only but a bit bypass is most welcome and so is l+r sub outs

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Someone offered me a wyred4sound about a year ago. I wish I took that offer. Also there is an emotiva that looks good and apparently the phono stage is amazing but it hasn't won all the awards that the wyred4sound one does

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Easily the best I've used is the DACGEAR LDR Pre Mk2, it bettered all my prior pre's. Of those other I tried I've listed them from best to worst:

 

Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL 3

Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL 2-S with LTA Linear Power Supply Upgrade

Schiit Saga+

 

Really though the Saga+ and MZ2-S each bettered the other in some aspects while the MZ3 combined what I liked about each and then some. That said, the DACGEAR is significantly better in every way allowing more nuance and detail through and texture to the sound, better sound staging, improved dynamics all while being fuller and more fleshed out. I've never experienced another like it. I used both outputs on mine to bi-amp so I'm actually splitting the original signal though to be fair my Abbas sources have quite a strong output signal.

 

A mate brought a Stereo Coffee 2020 LDR over and it was much the same though I thought maybe slightly more forward? There wasn't much in it. Based on that if aesthetics, build quality and featureset are a consideration spend a bit extra for the DACGEAR, though if sound quality is the only consideration for the lowest possible price I'd certainly recommend the Stereo Coffee.

 

If looking for another pre that's of a similar level to the MZ 2-S and Saga+ then the iFi iTube2 is probably worth a look too though I've never heard it first hand. Merely read about it.

Edited by MattyW
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I also have the same power amp.

 

I second the Stereo Coffee pre at $320 kit or over $500 built is best bang for buck, ultra detailed. See reviews here and elsewhere.

 

You havnt mentioned budget, so Supratek tube pre for around $3k thereabouts would be my pick. Used ones can be found for around $2k.

 

Other general preamps that have sounded good on the amp where Audiolab 8000C, budget Alegro Line 1 tube preamp and Audio Research Ls7.

 

Would also keep an eye out for Conrad Johnson, other AR, Electrocompaniet, Cary etc.

 

List of some new options here https://www.stereo.net.au/forums/topic/325588-sna-amplifiers-and-preamps-audition-shortlist/

 

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27 minutes ago, anewmission said:

Hoping for something with at least balanced outputs as I want my power amp about 5 metres from the pre

 

You are misinformed.  Provided you are using a 'real ' preamp which has a good output buffer - ie. not a passive pre - RCA interconnects (aka 'unbalanced') won't give you any problems at 6m length.

 

(I used to run 11m RCA interconnects at my last house - with no issues.  Mind you ... it was low-C cable.  :) )

 

Andy

 

Edited by andyr
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  • 2 weeks later...

Still looking.

What I need is, 3 or 4 inputs. Balanced and unbalanced and balanced and unbalanced outputs.

No digital or phono needed. 

A ht bypass or line level input? I think it's called

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You might find it a bit of a struggle to find a preamp with balanced input and outputs within your budget.

 

One I found is the Vincent SA-32 Stereo Preamplifier.

 

It's a hybrid device, combining solid state and tube stages.

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22 hours ago, anewmission said:

Still looking.

What I need is, 3 or 4 inputs. Balanced and unbalanced and balanced and unbalanced outputs.

No digital or phono needed. 

A ht bypass or line level input? I think it's called

 

This might be worth a look given those criteria.

https://www.spacehifi.com.au/audio/amplifiers/rotel-rc-1572-stereo-preamplifier?option=1859&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI2YP-z6Os7gIVrJ1LBR1d8gTMEAYYBSABEgJ_CPD_BwE

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On 11/01/2021 at 4:44 PM, andyr said:

 

You are misinformed.  Provided you are using a 'real ' preamp which has a good output buffer - ie. not a passive pre - RCA interconnects (aka 'unbalanced') won't give you any problems at 6m length.

 

(I used to run 11m RCA interconnects at my last house - with no issues.  Mind you ... it was low-C cable.  :) )

 

Andy

 

I run a 6 metre interconnect with my passive pre - which is very real  ( and really good too )  🙂

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45 minutes ago, stereo coffee said:

I run a 6 metre interconnect with my passive pre - which is very real  ( and really good too )  🙂

 

Good to know, Chris.  I was under the (mis)understanding that a good - obviously active - buffer was needed, for the capability to drive long interconnects.

 

Andy

 

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I'm open to used gear and I can increase my budget Abit as of next week.

 

There's a nice krell on hifishark and a few other nice lexicon ect.

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On 20/01/2021 at 6:07 PM, anewmission said:

Still looking.

What I need is, 3 or 4 inputs. Balanced and unbalanced and balanced and unbalanced outputs.

No digital or phono needed. 

A ht bypass or line level input? I think it's called

art150.jpg

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This I'm open to used gear and I can increase my budget Abit as of next week.

 

There's a nice krell on hifishark and a few othe

14 hours ago, Irek said:

art150.jpg

This is an integrated tube amplifier?

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34 minutes ago, anewmission said:

This is an integrated tube amplifier?

It's just an example of external design, preamplifier from Weston Acoustics is smaller and has less tubes. 

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On 21/01/2021 at 3:16 PM, andyr said:

Good to know, Chris.  I was under the (mis)understanding that a good - obviously active - buffer was needed, for the capability to drive long interconnects.

I believe it would then depend on the output impedance of the source components as they'd be the drive and the input impedance of the power amp. If that relationship is borderline to begin with, a passive pre will be more detrimental, and cable length more critical (especially after the pre).

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On 1/23/2021 at 11:22 AM, Ittaku said:

I believe it would then depend on the output impedance of the source components as they'd be the drive and the input impedance of the power amp. If that relationship is borderline to begin with, a passive pre will be more detrimental, and cable length more critical (especially after the pre).

I agree with this, I have plugged my dac and dc player directly to the power amp via a stepped attenuator

 and the dac seems to have enough oomph and really good clarity mind you, when plugged directly to the power amp.

The phono pre, not so much. The cd player was ok..

Then again I was just using an nad pre that I have laying around and it's hitting 350watt on the vu metres at less than 12pm on the pre

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On 23/01/2021 at 1:22 PM, Ittaku said:

I believe it would then depend on the output impedance of the source components as they'd be the drive and the input impedance of the power amp. If that relationship is borderline to begin with, a passive pre will be more detrimental, and cable length more critical (especially after the pre).

Assuming a normal CD player tuner DAC and phono stage,  all have sufficient impedance. What you are missing is that a good passive pre does not have to follow equal resistance in the series and shunt elements.  Rather each can be tailored to suit the source component.  It truly is a travesty that the majority of passives go no further than providing a switch and linear or log potentiometer confounded by having audio signal with contacts. I have been doing the opposite providing a passive suiting the majority of audio systems where the passive pre, is contact-less and no longer has such limitations. you can see comparison to normal potentiometers in this early review from 2016:

 

 

 

 

To use a passive Its a simple recipe  have your power amp with sensitivity matching the RMS level of the source and with fixed resistance greater than 20k 

 

Here we see the RMS level of a flac file in light blue  showing RMS voltage to be +/- 350mv  which matches then to the majority of good power amps where sensitivity sensibly for full output is 1v or less ,  500mv being ideal. It bears repeating that Quad the famous amplifier manufacturer have been providing power amplifiers for over 54 years the same. 

 

Screenshot from 2020-07-04 20-05-59.png

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At some point it must get hard as a commercial entity to toe the fine line between posting facts and making it sound like an indirect advertisement. I feel for you. (Full disclosure: I've recommended your products on a few occasions.)

Edited by Ittaku
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4 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

At some point it must get hard as a commercial entity to toe the fine line between posting facts and making it sound like an indirect advertisement. I feel for you.

Thank you  , hence in the post above yours  I involved other product names not just my own.

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2 minutes ago, stereo coffee said:

Thank you  , hence in the post above yours  I involved other product names not just my own.

Sure thing. Nonetheless, if the source device is incapable of driving a power amp, a passive pre of any sort is not going to help. As you say, DACs are very unlikely to have that problem in the modern age, but tube based components may well (phono stage for example.)

Edited by Ittaku
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5 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

Sure thing. Nonetheless, if the source device is incapable of driving a power amp, a passive pre of any sort is not going to help. As you say, DACs are very unlikely to have that problem in the modern age, but tube based components may well (phono stage for example.)

Indeed there are some like a Quad FM3 tuner, but there is always an answer like a few hours work on the FM3 can add a pair of jfet's

from the Motorola integrated circuit to the base of the BC109 transistors, and problem solved. With a tube phono stage it is a matter of

making change to the cathode biasing to accommodate needed level as seen here;   https://diyaudioprojects.com/Tubes/RIAA-Phono-Preamp/

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On 1/21/2021 at 5:16 PM, andyr said:

 

Good to know, Chris.  I was under the (mis)understanding that a good - obviously active - buffer was needed, for the capability to drive long interconnects.

 

Andy

 

Ok so I have found a few at my price range in used condition.

Pass labs x2.5

Emotiva xsp-1 v2

Cambridge audio azur 851a

Wyred4sound stp-se

 

 

All of these have the functions I am looking for.

Has anyone had any experience with any of these?

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