Preamp recommendations?

Discussion in 'New Gear - Performance' started by Hawkeye83, Mar 28, 2018.

  1. Hawkeye83

    Hawkeye83 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Possibly needing to replace my Peachtree Decco. Ideally need a solid state preamp with remote (built in DAC a plus). I like a very lush sound, yet airy, if that makes sense! Tube-like but preferably without the tubes. Very musical above all else. Any recommendations? Could go up to $1k but the less the better. Was considering a Bel Canto DAC 2.5 or 3 but worried they may sound too "digital." Anyone have experience with the Bel Canto units?

    I may just end up having to sacrifice with no remote and/or go with tubes. There is a Transcendent Sound Grounded Grid and Juicy Music Merlin that are intriguing, but this system will get lots of hours with music, TV, and movies...so really want low maintenance.

    Any input welcome.
     

     

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  2. xero-D-hero

    xero-D-hero Super Member

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    I'd probably go with the NAD C165BEE preamp with that budget.
    Comes w/a remote,no internal DAC though,but I personally prefer external DACs myself anyways.
    I also like that this preamp has a fully functional tape monitor loop as well...
    Decent phono stages in these too.

    JM2ยข ~ FWIW

    Bret P.
     
  3. Danddd

    Danddd AK Subscriber Subscriber

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  4. Jailtime

    Jailtime Standin' on a corner Subscriber

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    The JFET buffer in the Schiit Freya is impressive, you can also go passive or 6SN7 gain stage with it. Has a remote, but no built in DAC, $700. You can put Schiit's solid state 6SN7 replacements in the tube sockets, then it's a fully SS preamp.
     
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  5. Hawkeye83

    Hawkeye83 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thanks for recommendations so far! I'll keep these in mind if/when I decide to pull the trigger. I really want to be sure I "get it right" if possible. First step is having my amp repaired or sold off for parts. After that is done, I will know more (it's an Audire Forte, if you're curious). My Peachtree is working fine, it just has a hum that can be heard through the speakers, but only if you put your ear up to them. Not ideal, but I may be able to live with it for awhile. Sometimes I wish I could simplify and use an integrated amp, but my speakers prevent that (they use a sort of "EQ" that is inserted between the preamp and amp). It's probably ideal for me to use separates anyway...these speakers like a lot of power.

    Anyway, sidetracked...thanks for recommendations so far and keep them coming!

    This could really go in any direction. I've seen several units already that looked interesting...those mentioned above, along with an older Mcintosh C32, Bel Canto 2.5, Juicy Music Merlin/Peach/Blueberry (owned a Blueberry in the past), PS Audio, Marantz AV8801...so many options out there. Ideally I'll be able to check all my boxes. At this time, sonics, remote, cosmetics, and reliability are all important. This system is nearly 50/50 music and home theater/TV watching. It will get a lot of hours. Nearly 8 hours per day (I work from home).
     
  6. Silentnet

    Silentnet I like to keep my issues drawn... Subscriber

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    I'm going to sound like a crazy person, but consider the Emotiva PT-100. At $300 with their return policy, though? You've nothing to lose.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018

     

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  7. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

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    Another vote for the Schiit Freya
     
  8. Hawkeye83

    Hawkeye83 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I like Emotiva stuff...I've owned lots of it over the past few years. Good stuff, especially for the price! I usually recommend Emotiva to anyone wanting modern "bang for the buck." I'd likely take this suggestion, but you know...gotta try new stuff...lol.
     
  9. Hawkeye83

    Hawkeye83 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Never heard any Schiit...still on my list.
     
  10. Hawkeye83

    Hawkeye83 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Well to update this thread, I had someone pretty interested in the Peachtree Decco I have. I think they're going to buy it, and as sad as I am to see it go, I think I'm going to try a Bel Canto DAC 2.5 as both a DAC/preamp. Here's to hoping I like it. I don't hear much Bel Canto talk around here...or really all that much anywhere...am I missing something? Do they not sell many units? Wondering why I don't hear more about them. Sure, there are a handful of Audiogon threads. I saw only 20 or so mentions of Bel Canto around these parts (when doing a Forum search). What gives? I hear their "virtual battery" series of DAC's is really something. Out of my budget at this time, but I'll get a taste anyway with the DAC 2.5. I know @cubdog uses this DAC. Anyone else here a Bel Canto user (any model)?

    Edit - nevermind, there are like 20 pages of Bel Canto references. Maybe 20 total references of the 2.5 DAC...must have had a brain-fart.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
  11. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

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    Got to have a listen to a Schiit Saga feeding a Quad 405 copy yesterday. What a fantastic sounding combination that was.

    I had previously decided that I didn't like the sound of passive preamps having tried a Khozmo Akustyk however the Schiit Saga gave up nothing vs an active pre and is perhaps the most transparent sounding pre I've heard to date. Just beautiful. I didn't find the clicks changing volume to be at all off-putting either
     
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  12. Hawkeye83

    Hawkeye83 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Bel Canto 2.5 has arrived and installed. Sounds very nice! Also found out my Peachtree "hum" was not related to the Peachtree at all...since the Bel Canto still has the hum through the system as well. The only preamp that does not have the hum is a $37 Sainsmart 6N3 unit. Go figure, lol!

    I'm sure more thoughts to come in the Bel Canto. Initial opinion is very positive. The sound just has a nice "naturalness" to it. Nothing forced, timbre is very good (which is important to me). Now I have to get my Audire amp fixed so I can try the balanced interconnects.
     
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  13. twiiii

    twiiii Addicted Member

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    The secret to selecting your electronics is picking something that complements your speakers. If you have bright edgy speakers your last choice would be Krell or Ayre. Maybe a NAD or a tube unit from Quad or Mac. Other tube units have to much distortion for me. The the speakers are to warm maybe you need a threshold crown or boulder amp. Brystons like Maccan be more faithful and middle of the road. Accuphase can be swing from one way to the other depending on the age. Pioneer Elite and some Nads and I get along quite well. Some older Sansui's were very nice. Bozaks electronics were rather nice and neutral. I liked Urei electronics and the first generation of amps. Crown could swing the extremes from very cold and dry to rather neutral. Their Reference series was rather special I thought.
     
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  14. Hawkeye83

    Hawkeye83 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I am finding this out, for sure. My KEF 107's are already strong in the midrange, excellent timbre of instruments, maybe just a touch rolled off on the high end (compared to modern speakers)...and this Bel Canto seems to have those same attributes! Which definitely has its pros and cons. The midrange timbre now sounds even better...but, from memory anyway, the highs may be a little more rolled off than they were with "brighter" gear, like Emotiva and Peachtree...not that I found that gear excessively bright, just brighter than the Bel Canto that replaced them. Definitely some synergy at play here.

    Anyway, my ears are still adjusting to my new set up, but I'm quite happy with it. Despite losing a touch of high end sparkle, the midrange is better than ever, and that suits my preferences.

    I'd likely run a tube preamp if I didn't put so many hours on this system, but I don't think it's practical for me right now...the system gets around 8 hours per day of use if not more! (I work from home so listen at work, then after work if I'm watching TV or a movie or listening to more music, it gets more use!)

    Happy with my setup, until I can afford that Pass Labs X250 amp I've been wanting, haha. Although the amp I'm using now is much friendlier on my electric bill.
     

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