Tube pre amp purchase

Discussion in 'Tube Audio' started by canton, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. canton

    canton Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    548
    Started looking at the pre amps by way of a post I got hooked on. So once again looks like the 1500 dollar range is where it always lands with me. The VTA SP-14 ? looked interesting so if anyone wants to kick out there experience with some pre's in that range much appreciated. Have a pair of Dynaco MK IV complete rebuild 7 months ago. Listen to 99% LPs,(Phono stage yes) also do a bit of recording tape, Speakers Bozak 4000's with others that I switch out if wanted. Currently Dynaco Pas 3X but want to start a second set up well 3rd actually.
    Canton
     

     

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  2. Lavane

    Lavane AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    The 14 doesn't have a phono preamp. But the reviews seem to be pretty good over all.
     
  3. stinz

    stinz AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I have a Rogue Audio RP-1 that really like.
     
  4. grindfix

    grindfix Full time hobby Subscriber

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    SP-14 is very good. Very quiet and great sonics if paired with good tube amp and tube friendly speakers. PH-16 is great phono pre to go with it. I bought both as kits without chassis or tubes. I had it together in prototype chassis with remote power supply chassis and sound was exceptional. Working on assembling it into custom aluminum chassis in between other projects. Jim McShane is the best source for tubes that I know.
     
  5. for_p1

    for_p1 Addicted Member

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    $1500 for that ?

    [​IMG]


    Find used McIntosh or Audio Reserach preamps for the same money. They won't disappoint you.
     
    savatage1973 likes this.
  6. savatage1973

    savatage1973 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I have an Audio Research SP-6 and love it. You should be able to find one in your budget range.
     

     

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  7. trinhsman

    trinhsman AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Audible Illusions Modulus 3A
    Strengths: great sound, built like a tank, will last a lifetime
    Weaknesses: must use quality tubes, service from AI is tough, no remote

    I owned one and it was really nice. Now own the 3B. The biggest issue I had was getting new tubes. I was very particular on what I wanted so many of the tube places suggested on AK basically ignored me. Took 5 months to finally get new tubes. With all of that, I have now learned a few tricks and next time I need tubes, it should not be as difficult.
     
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  8. canton

    canton Well-Known Member

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    548
    First thanks for the kick back. I like to know what others enjoy about an amp. Did it just hit you as being right sounding? Make you forget what you spent on it, was it a perfect fit in your set up anything I have not pulled the trigger on anything new in a while so I kick this stuff around. Whatever I buy it will be assembled ready to just plug into the existing system that is for sure on this time. Also I looked wrong I thought the mentioned pre amp had a phono section. It should be mandatory to have a decent phono stage but that is me rambling as usual. Always feel cheated now that it is a add on the phono everyone I know listens to LPs ahhh OK
    Canton
     
  9. savatage1973

    savatage1973 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    That is a "double-edged sword"--do you want to pay extra to have a built-in phono preamp, and then find yourself wanting to upgrade beyond its capabilities, or do you want to do without and choose your own external unit to meet your (perhaps changing) needs?
     
  10. GordonW

    GordonW Speakerfixer Subscriber

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    You can easily find a Rogue Audio preamp in that price range. They are extremely good. A Perseus, RP-1, 66 Magnum, or 99 Magnum preamp would be extremely good, and they all have nice phono preamps.

    Regards,
    Gordon.
     
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  11. canton

    canton Well-Known Member

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    548
    I hear you sava if I had to think about it I couldnt pull the trigger again so a good sounding phono built in always allows me to have it there and I can always by phono stages at will. As needed but at least I know one is there at all times if that makes cents to anyone other then me. Not a debate just my thoughts.
    Canton
     

     

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  12. No Money

    No Money AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I have the VTA SP14 which I built from the kit, but used a different chassis and for the money I think you would be hard pressed to do better. I have taken it to a few friends with very high end systems and has yet to fail to embarrass pre amps that cost much, much more.

    As to a phono pre, I run a muffsy into it. Small foot print, good pre.
     
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  13. Lavane

    Lavane AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I've thought about building a Muffsy phone preamp run off a couple 9v batteries. Ya, can't get much quieter.
     
  14. No Money

    No Money AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I run mine off a wall wart, no complaints. Then again, I'm sure batteries would be better still.
     
  15. prisoners

    prisoners AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Rogue is the answer as far as I'm concerned. I've owned several tube preamps in that price area and all have been at least good, some very good.

    AES AE-3: good sound, output level lower than others I've owned so careful amp matching is required. Three line level inputs, no remote, no headphone amp.
    Cary SLP-88: great sound, huge out put level. four line level inputs, remote, headphone amp. Was very happy with this but had to sell before I could find a matching Cary power amp.
    Melos SHA-1: classified as a headphone amp but was a great preamp too. Three line level, great sound. On loan to a buddy because I never use my headphones.
    Audible Illusions Modulus 3A; agree on all points with Trinhsman above, but will add the dual independent volume controls are handy to fix room imbalances can be a PITA to use. Also the push button selectors instead of a rotary knob were not to my liking. The sound was indeed fantastic though.

    My current Rogue Metis Magnum: I love the thick sound, remote (volume only), and usability: three line level inputs and a pretty nice solid state phono stage and headphone out. My only gripe is the overall build quality seems a bit below the Cary and Audible Illusions. There's nothing to really criticize about it, and it is the entry level piece from them. Sound is really nice with strong output level. It's a nice match to my Rogue ST-100, and at this point the only upgrade I can foresee MAYBE happening is moving up the Rogue chain.
     
  16. canton

    canton Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    548
    Once again I appreciate all kicking in there experience with the pre's kind of narrows it down a lot which is what I was hoping for. One thing to keep in mind is I plan on buying new as in no kits this time. Got good reasons nothing personal about kits or rebuilds I could go that way (rebuilds) but not in the cards at the moment. Has anyone bought a pre that just knocked them out bought it, kept it, never looked back? Ahh that don't happen in audio I forgot. Always something more interesting down the road I should not have asked.

    It is all in the hunt or at least just as much fun until bam I pull the trigger again.

    Canton
     

     

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  17. savatage1973

    savatage1973 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Makes total sense to me--no debate here. I have integrateds, receivers, and preamps with decent phono stages, and external SUTs and phono pre's, as well. Go with what works. I guess (kind of my point) was that the lack of an on-board phono stage is not a "deal-killer" for me--I can hook up whatever I want to get where I'm going--someday, maybe, I'll figure out where "that" is... ;)
     
  18. canton

    canton Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    548
    You have any favorite phono stages in your tube intergrated amps? Was curious as to what you think of the Fisher phono stages like say the one in the Model X-101 - B. or any others you may be familar with.
    Canton
     
  19. Wildcat

    Wildcat Audio Sommelier Subscriber

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    I agree with others--Rogue hits a sweet spot in sound quality and value. A solid product and a great company behind it.

    Here's another option. I personally have gone with used Conrad-Johnson components. Top notch sound to my ears, easy to listen to for hours without that "mushy" tube sound, yet still have that liquid midrange everyone raves about, and plenty of detail on top and some good bass slam when needed. They use simple circuitry and are well-built, and I believe anything under 20-25 years old will have no electrolytic capacitors to take a dump. Mine are well over 15 years old with no issue whatsoever. One of their Premier preamps would be within your budget, albeit without phono stage.

    Any tube separates can be an issue though. In this era of digital and vinyl, owning a preamp with a built-in phono stage is a double-edged sword. In many cases, you have to buy a separate phono stage, and there are all kinds of options out there--having the phono stage built in is a convenience. Yet if you buy a preamp with a phono stage, and listen to both digital and vinyl, consider that you are "burning" your tubes needlessly. I go days without spinning vinyl, meaning that over the course of a year, it would be hundreds of hours on phono stage tubes that were unused. So I'm more a fan of a separate phono stage at this point. Just to use C-J's older preamps as an example, it's possible that anywhere from two to four of the tubes are dedicated to the phono section alone. (My C-J phono stage uses four.) And in the digital age, I can't think of any manufacturer who offers a separate power switch for the phono section (although I've never really looked to see if any of them power down the phono section when other sources are selected).
     
  20. canton

    canton Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    548
    So for consideration what do you use for phono stages? And at what cold? Just running it over in my head right now.
    Canton
     

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