so -- yeah -- active (minimalist) two-channel preamps: what do you guyses like?

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Comments

  • mhardy6647 wrote: »
    Since the topic came up elsewhere :) and I remain eternally curious to find a two-channel active line-level preamp that I like... what do you all use and like?
    Tried a variety of things -- nothing really high end (other than a couple of McIntosh products, which didn't float my boat), but have yet to find one I really liked the sound of relative to a passive TVC attenuator and source selector switch front end.

    No suggestions here but I'm wondering what Mac pre did you try that you did not like? I had an MX110 a while back and for the life of me I could not warm to it's sound either.
    modded polk 1.2tl's+dreadnaught, mcintosh c100, d100, mr7084, mvp831, bridged mc2500's+ mit cables
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 15,308
    C28. Dismal sounding piece of hardware.
    No experience with current preamps from Mac, I will admit.

    The MX110 is not bad at all -- but I don't need the tuner or most of the kerfuffle on it. Not a "transparent" sounding piece, either... not a good match for an SET amplifier IMO.

    Pretty piece of hardware but not what I need.
    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 17,874
    I like using my Benchmark DAC2 in preamp mode. Transparency with a side order of meat on the bone.
    Source: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD | Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2L | Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Kimber Hero/8TC; DH Labs D-75 | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 15,308
    ^^^ innerestin'...
    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

  • deucekazoodeucekazoo Posts: 139
    The Decware CSP3 pre-amp sounds really really good. It is tubes based.
    http://www.decware.com/newsite/CSP3.html

    The other that I have not heard but really intrigues me is Freya by Schiit Audio. You can run it Passive, in JFET Buffer mode, or in Tube Gain mode. Plus it has a remote.
    http://www.schiit.com/products/freya
    Polk S10, S8, S4
    Polk RT8
    Polk Monitor 7s
    Working on getting SDAs
  • MrBuhlMrBuhl Posts: 1,947
    edited November 20
    This one's a little out there - but I have a pretty simple (MFA circuit based) tubed preamp made by Charlie Cocci in your neck of the woods (he's in Brockton) that I think is quite good. He's not an email guy - phone only FYI. Happy to PM you the details if you wish.

    He made it for me (relatively) on the cheap, so aside from the great case, and delicious McIntosh (Alps I think) volume pot, the caps are nothing to write home about, but the sound is actually quite good IMO, and well below the price range of some of the other mentions. Quiet as a mouse, and does not get in the way of the music if that means anything.

    Circuit is designed to use the so called 6h30-dr 'supertubes' made famous by BAT, but Charlie tunes his and recommends the use of inexpensive (relatively) but still pretty well reviewed 6N6 I believe.

    Meh - just thought I would throw another option out there.

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    VA HT HK AVR20II, Sony S9000ES CD/DVD/SACD, Polk Audio RC80i / Polk Audio CSi3, 60" Panasonic Plasma, Nordost / Signal Cable A2 / Wireworld / Pangea / Magic Power
    VA 2 Channel , McCormack DNA 0.5 (SMc Gold) Amp, MFA based Cocci Tube Preamp, Polk SDA2BTL (fully modded), A/L 1000VA Dreadnought, Canare 4s11 SDA cable, Sony S9000ES CD/DVD/SACD, Music Hall mmf 5.1 Turntable, Vincent Pho-700 Phono Pre, MIT S3 IC's / MIT Shotgun S3 Speaker Cables / Pangea & Signal Cable MP power
    Noggin Schiit Valhalla, Pangea, Phillips Fidelio X1, Polk UF8000
    LA Toobs Dodd Audio 50wpc Dual Mono Amp, Eastern Electric MiniMax Preamp, Polk LSIM705, Marantz DV8300 SACD, VPI Nomad Turntable w/Ortofon 2M Bronze, MIT AVt3 Speaker & RCA Cables, Pangea & Signal Cable MP power

    Dodd Mid Level Preamp ("on the bench" w/Charlie)
    Polk SDA1c modded
    Soundcraftsmen PCR800
    Yamaha YP-D6
    Bottlehead Foreplay (modded)
    Signal Cable Silver Resolution IC's
    Audible Illusions L1 Preamp
    McCormack DNA-1 Power Drive Amp
    Eastern Electric Minimax CDP
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 15,308
    Looks nice inside to me...
    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

  • MrBuhlMrBuhl Posts: 1,947
    Not sure how useful it is to your purpose, but a quick chat with Charlie might tell you. Full disclosure, I don't pretend to even know a smidge about amps, preamps or circuits compared to what you have probably already forgotten, but I know it sounds good to me.
    VA HT HK AVR20II, Sony S9000ES CD/DVD/SACD, Polk Audio RC80i / Polk Audio CSi3, 60" Panasonic Plasma, Nordost / Signal Cable A2 / Wireworld / Pangea / Magic Power
    VA 2 Channel , McCormack DNA 0.5 (SMc Gold) Amp, MFA based Cocci Tube Preamp, Polk SDA2BTL (fully modded), A/L 1000VA Dreadnought, Canare 4s11 SDA cable, Sony S9000ES CD/DVD/SACD, Music Hall mmf 5.1 Turntable, Vincent Pho-700 Phono Pre, MIT S3 IC's / MIT Shotgun S3 Speaker Cables / Pangea & Signal Cable MP power
    Noggin Schiit Valhalla, Pangea, Phillips Fidelio X1, Polk UF8000
    LA Toobs Dodd Audio 50wpc Dual Mono Amp, Eastern Electric MiniMax Preamp, Polk LSIM705, Marantz DV8300 SACD, VPI Nomad Turntable w/Ortofon 2M Bronze, MIT AVt3 Speaker & RCA Cables, Pangea & Signal Cable MP power

    Dodd Mid Level Preamp ("on the bench" w/Charlie)
    Polk SDA1c modded
    Soundcraftsmen PCR800
    Yamaha YP-D6
    Bottlehead Foreplay (modded)
    Signal Cable Silver Resolution IC's
    Audible Illusions L1 Preamp
    McCormack DNA-1 Power Drive Amp
    Eastern Electric Minimax CDP
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 601
    edited November 20
    That Freya looks awesome! It seems too good to be true!

    I've been reading about it and the general opinion seems to be that the tubes that they provide are adequate at best, and that great improvements are noticed with better/different tubes.

    Some of the people discussing it over at HeadFi mentioned that they have had some slight "issues" with background noise while in tube mode, and/or microphonics being picked up by tapping the chassis or tubes.

    Anyone got any more thoughts/experience with the Freya?
    deucekazoo wrote: »
    The other that I have not heard but really intrigues me is Freya by Schiit Audio. You can run it Passive, in JFET Buffer mode, or in Tube Gain mode. Plus it has a remote.
    http://www.schiit.com/products/freya

    Bedroom 2 channel: NAD C316BEE, Marantz cd6004, Rotel RCD-1072, Sony SCD-CE595, Polk Audio LSiM 703, Audioquest Bedrock & King Cobra, Kimber Kable Tonik
    HT: Onkyo HT-RC360, Athena Micra 6
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