Help me purchase my first preamp

la2vegasla2vegas Posts: 2,634
edited July 16 in 2 Channel Audio
Well the title says it all. I need suggestions from the audio gurus that reside on this site. Now I'll start by realizing that some of you will want to suggest items that may cost a few thousand dollars, but unfortunately my budget will permit the purchase of a piece that only costs a few hundred. Yeah I know, I wish I had more to spend too.

A couple of weeks ago I was virtually gifted some Infinity RS5B's from our very own @MrBuhl, thanks again Ed. Around the same time I also purchased an Adcom GFA545 through a local seller, and I've been kicking around the idea of trying these items together.

Now for a preamp I'm open to suggestions that primarily fit my limited budget. What are some suggestions? I am definitely willing to buy used and lack of remote is not a deal breaker.
2.3TL, 3.1TL, SDA 2B, SDA II, 7B, 7C, 7 series 2, 10B, 5JR+, 5JR, 5A, 4.5, 4, RTA 11T X2 pairs, RTA 8T, LSI9, LSI7, RTI A7, RTI A3, CSI A4, CSI A6, F/XI A4, RTI4. That's all for now.
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Comments

  • gmcmangmcman Posts: 1,119
    You can find a B&K Reference 50 for about $2-300 used, great bang for the buck. There are other options, but if you have to make a quick decision, it will serve you well. I used one for a couple years and it was hard to find a replacement at an affordable price.

    You will need the remote.

  • nooshinjohnnooshinjohn Posts: 17,870
    Carver c16... there is a very nice Pioneer Elite c72 on Craigslist here in los angeles
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Mono-blocks, TriangleArt Reference SE with PS Audio NuWave Phono converter, Walker Precision Motor Drive, ClearAudio Stradivari v2 cartridge and Origin Conquerer Mk3c tonearm, Polk Audio "Signature" Reference Series 1.2TL with complete mods, Pass Labs X1 two channel preamplifier Signed by Poppa himself, PS Audio PerfectWave DAC MkII, Krell Evolution 525a CD Player, Pioneer Elite SC-65, Oppo UDP-205 Blu-ray , Sony XBR70x850B 4k, Polk audio AB700/800 "in-wall" surrounds

  • maxwardmaxward Posts: 117
    The above is a good recommendation and, as he said, there are other good choices used. Adcom made a couple that you might consider, given that you have an Adcom amp. New for $349 is the Schiit Saga. Plenty of recent reviews and comments on the usual forums and it has a remote.
    Thorens TD-160C; Sumiko Talisman S; Jolida JD9; Marantz CD-53; Micromega Mydac
    Joule-Electra LA-100; Balanced Power Technology AC conditioner;
    Odyssey Khartago monos (with most factory upgrades); Magnepan MG 3.6R
  • la2vegasla2vegas Posts: 2,634
    I know this is a low level preamp that I am looking for, but is there any real differences from one manufacturer to another. Do most have subwoofer connectivity in the case that I'd like to incorporate a sub?



    2.3TL, 3.1TL, SDA 2B, SDA II, 7B, 7C, 7 series 2, 10B, 5JR+, 5JR, 5A, 4.5, 4, RTA 11T X2 pairs, RTA 8T, LSI9, LSI7, RTI A7, RTI A3, CSI A4, CSI A6, F/XI A4, RTI4. That's all for now.
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 10,261
    la2vegas wrote: »
    I know this is a low level preamp that I am looking for, but is there any real differences from one manufacturer to another. Do most have subwoofer connectivity in the case that I'd like to incorporate a sub?



    No most 2ch. do not
  • NightfallNightfall Posts: 7,529
    The Dared MC-7P has dual preouts so you can use a sub. It's on the upper end of what qualifies as several hundred dollars though and you'd also be in the tube rabbit hole.
    afterburnt wrote: »
    They didn't speak a word of English, they were from South Carolina.
  • NightfallNightfall Posts: 7,529
    As an aside I tried a B&K PT3 I think it was and it did not sound great. I don't know if all B&K preamps sound as bad as that one but I would not entertain the idea of getting one or the PT5 again. IMO of course.
    afterburnt wrote: »
    They didn't speak a word of English, they were from South Carolina.
  • la2vegasla2vegas Posts: 2,634
    Nightfall wrote: »
    The Dared MC-7P has dual preouts so you can use a sub. It's on the upper end of what qualifies as several hundred dollars though and you'd also be in the tube rabbit hole.

    Baby steps, baby steps. God knows I don't have enough cash to start fiddling with tubes.

    Saw this locally. Of course I don't know if it's any good. 0zmnkt34gvrw.jpghttps://orangecounty.craigslist.org/ele/d/lexicon-dc-1-preamplifier-pre/6637737596.html
    2.3TL, 3.1TL, SDA 2B, SDA II, 7B, 7C, 7 series 2, 10B, 5JR+, 5JR, 5A, 4.5, 4, RTA 11T X2 pairs, RTA 8T, LSI9, LSI7, RTI A7, RTI A3, CSI A4, CSI A6, F/XI A4, RTI4. That's all for now.
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,248
    Got Dayens?
  • nooshinjohnnooshinjohn Posts: 17,870
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Mono-blocks, TriangleArt Reference SE with PS Audio NuWave Phono converter, Walker Precision Motor Drive, ClearAudio Stradivari v2 cartridge and Origin Conquerer Mk3c tonearm, Polk Audio "Signature" Reference Series 1.2TL with complete mods, Pass Labs X1 two channel preamplifier Signed by Poppa himself, PS Audio PerfectWave DAC MkII, Krell Evolution 525a CD Player, Pioneer Elite SC-65, Oppo UDP-205 Blu-ray , Sony XBR70x850B 4k, Polk audio AB700/800 "in-wall" surrounds

  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 2,411
    edited July 17
    This Usher might be a good candidate if you could stretch the budget just a bit. Dual pre outs, separate PS.

    https://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649420503-usher-p307-preamplifier/


    Here's one for a bill less:

    https://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649444145-usher-p307a-solid-state-preamplifier/


    Or, this Adcom:


    https://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649449649-adcom-gfp-750-preamp/images/1938956/
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
    Dual SVS SB2000
    Wireworld Equinox 7 bi-wire, Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7 IC

    Secondary Rig:
    Parasound P5, Audio Electronics by Cary Constellation
    Marsh a200s, Audio Elecrtonics by Cary Hercules
    Pioneer Elite DV-45a, Denon DVD-2910
    Klipsch Epic CF-1, Vandersteen 3CE sig
    Analysus Plus Oval

  • marvda1marvda1 Posts: 3,131
    Amplifiers: MasterSound Compact 845, Ayre v6xe, Consonance Cyber 800, Usher R1.5
    Preamp: deHavilland Ultraverve 3
    Transport/Dac: Cayin Venus cd-100i, Musical Paradise mp-d2 mkI
    Speakers: Rosso Fiorentino Volterra
    Speaker Cables: Analysis Plus Black Mesh Oval 9, Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme
    Interconnects: Analysis Plus Copper Oval-In Micro, MG Audio Design Planus Cu2,
    Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme
    Power Cables by: Cullen Cables, 6sons Audio, Swiss Cables
  • motorhead43026motorhead43026 Posts: 2,608
    How about a Parasound P5, $625.00 plus shipping. I own it, bought new.
    2 channel: Anthem 225 Integrated amp; Parasound Ztuner; TechnicsTT SL1350; Vincent PHO-8 phono pre; Marantz CD6005 spinner; Polk Signature S60's;Cables: Wireworld Eclipse IC; Audioquest Big Sur IC; Zu Audio Mission speaker cables; PS Audio AC-3 power cords, all into a PS Audio Dectet Power center.

    All TV's sound enhanced by Polk Magnfi Mini's.

    Other; SDA2BTL's, M10 series II, M7C's, Hafler XL600 amp, RB-980BX, Parasound HCA-1500 amp , P5 preamp, all in storage.

    Political memes posted as fact and accepted as fact, are sign language of the ignorant, for the ignorant

    tonyb said " but even socialists can do a good thing here and there
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 10,261
  • motorhead43026motorhead43026 Posts: 2,608
    Pit, 10,000 posts, get a life man.....lol.
    2 channel: Anthem 225 Integrated amp; Parasound Ztuner; TechnicsTT SL1350; Vincent PHO-8 phono pre; Marantz CD6005 spinner; Polk Signature S60's;Cables: Wireworld Eclipse IC; Audioquest Big Sur IC; Zu Audio Mission speaker cables; PS Audio AC-3 power cords, all into a PS Audio Dectet Power center.

    All TV's sound enhanced by Polk Magnfi Mini's.

    Other; SDA2BTL's, M10 series II, M7C's, Hafler XL600 amp, RB-980BX, Parasound HCA-1500 amp , P5 preamp, all in storage.

    Political memes posted as fact and accepted as fact, are sign language of the ignorant, for the ignorant

    tonyb said " but even socialists can do a good thing here and there
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 10,261
    Pit, 10,000 posts, get a life man.....lol.

    No kidding i do not see them on my phone. :p

  • tonybtonyb Posts: 29,329
    Nightfall wrote: »
    As an aside I tried a B&K PT3 I think it was and it did not sound great. I don't know if all B&K preamps sound as bad as that one but I would not entertain the idea of getting one or the PT5 again. IMO of course.

    That one is their worst sounding pre amp. The ref series is where ya want to be in B&k pre's. Btw...the ref series have subwoofer outputs also.

    The older higher end HT processors make excellent 2 channel pre's and are a steal for a few hundies. B&k Ref 30 or 50, look for an Outlaw processor as well as an older Proceed, Classe, Anthem. They all will have subwoofer outputs.

    HT SYSTEM-
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    Tad 803 bookies
    Polk 500 surrounds
    Polk s35 center
    SVS SB-2000
    Sonos

    Music-

    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k 1403 amp
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    ERA D5 bookies

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 10,261
    la2vegas wrote: »
    Nightfall wrote: »
    The Dared MC-7P has dual preouts so you can use a sub. It's on the upper end of what qualifies as several hundred dollars though and you'd also be in the tube rabbit hole.

    Baby steps, baby steps. God knows I don't have enough cash to start fiddling with tubes.

    Saw this locally. Of course I don't know if it's any good. 0zmnkt34gvrw.jpghttps://orangecounty.craigslist.org/ele/d/lexicon-dc-1-preamplifier-pre/6637737596.html

    Lexicon made good stuff.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 29,329
    https://orangecounty.craigslist.org/ele/d/rotel-rsp-1066-pre-amplifier/6630164433.html

    You also have a Parasound pre, Outlaw for under 300 in your neck of the woods.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    Tad 803 bookies
    Polk 500 surrounds
    Polk s35 center
    SVS SB-2000
    Sonos

    Music-

    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k 1403 amp
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    ERA D5 bookies

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable
  • george danielgeorge daniel Posts: 11,940
    Dodd ELP if you can find one
    JC approves....he told me so. (F-1 nut)
  • msgmsg Posts: 4,207
    edited July 17
    tonyb wrote: »
    Nightfall wrote: »
    As an aside I tried a B&K PT3 I think it was and it did not sound great. I don't know if all B&K preamps sound as bad as that one but I would not entertain the idea of getting one or the PT5 again. IMO of course.

    That one is their worst sounding pre amp. The ref series is where ya want to be in B&k pre's. Btw...the ref series have subwoofer outputs also.

    The older higher end HT processors make excellent 2 channel pre's and are a steal for a few hundies. B&k Ref 30 or 50, look for an Outlaw processor as well as an older Proceed, Classe, Anthem. They all will have subwoofer outputs.
    The Ref 5 preamp is nice, too, if you have a separate DAC already and want simple. Geppy's got one for sale over in the FS section.
    http://forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/182723/b-k-refenrence-5-preamp-tuner-w-remote

    I was running one of these with a Parasound amp and Squeezebox Touch with some Monitor 10s when I first got started with better interconnects and speaker cables cables, and was a beautiful combination. Like Tony, I'm also a big fan of the Reference line, and also the AVR series, like the 507.

    I'm not sure the Reference 5 offers adjustable bass management, though, unlike the Reference 50 or 30 processors do. On the Reference 5, it may be set at 80Hz.

    I also enjoy the simple presentation and ergonomics. At first, I hated it, because it was so plain, but now I really love it. Customizable, too.

    Always wondered about the Outlaw stuff, as well...
  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 2,411
    How about a Parasound P5, $625.00 plus shipping. I own it, bought new.

    Hard to beat at this price point. Have owned one. You get a lot for the money spent.
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
    Dual SVS SB2000
    Wireworld Equinox 7 bi-wire, Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7 IC

    Secondary Rig:
    Parasound P5, Audio Electronics by Cary Constellation
    Marsh a200s, Audio Elecrtonics by Cary Hercules
    Pioneer Elite DV-45a, Denon DVD-2910
    Klipsch Epic CF-1, Vandersteen 3CE sig
    Analysus Plus Oval

  • la2vegasla2vegas Posts: 2,634
    Wow, so much welcomed advice! You guys are great.
    I have reached out to a few sellers and am awaiting responses. In the meantime I'll try to evaluate each potential preamp with the hope of making a final decision in the near future.
    2.3TL, 3.1TL, SDA 2B, SDA II, 7B, 7C, 7 series 2, 10B, 5JR+, 5JR, 5A, 4.5, 4, RTA 11T X2 pairs, RTA 8T, LSI9, LSI7, RTI A7, RTI A3, CSI A4, CSI A6, F/XI A4, RTI4. That's all for now.
  • TEAforONETEAforONE Posts: 35
    In your price range,you can probably find a NAD C160,or a 162. I owned a 160 a few years ago,and found it to be quite competent. Also they are loaded with features,and a pretty good phono stage too. Enjoy the hunt!!
    First Watt,Monarchy Audio,Aric Audio,Promitheus Audio,Pro-Ject,Hornshoppe,Nola,HSU,Onkyo.
  • zuulzuul Posts: 255
    edited July 18
    TEAforONE wrote: »
    In your price range,you can probably find a NAD C160,or a 162. I owned a 160 a few years ago,and found it to be quite competent. Also they are loaded with features,and a pretty good phono stage too. Enjoy the hunt!!

    Agreed... if you are just getting started with separates then NAD is a great entry into the audiophile world... they are still affordable and i think on the used market $ for $ they are hard to beat...

    however.. you'll notice in my signature that the adcom gfp-555 II is in my hall of fame. in my opinion it's a step above the NAD and if you're using a turntable i think the adcom phono section is better than NAD phono sections. (i've had both NAD and Adcom preamps at various times.) you can still find those adcom's around for less than $300 bucks. the adcom gfp-565 is considered the pinnacle of their output and if you can find one in your price range those are holy grail pieces for some people. but you can't go wrong with the 555 which are more common and typically priced much more affordably.

    http://www.tonepublications.com/old-school/adcom-gfp-555-preamplifier/

    neither the adcom or the NAD is going to lose it's used sale value so if you get one and hate it... flip it and try the other...

    i know for a fact that the adcom has 2 pre outputs so you can run one to an amp and the other to a powered sub if you so desire... one of my NAD's had 2 and the other had 1.... so worth researching before you pull the trigger on something...

    i used one of these NAD 1600's (see below for link) for a preamp for a few years... this is in your price range and in your hood... bonus... you get a remote, really good tuner on-board, a great phono section and by using it as a preamp you're putting no hours on the amp section if you want to use it later in an office or garage set up as a stand alone integrated amp. i think $280 is a good price especially if it's in as described excellent condition

    https://orangecounty.craigslist.org/ele/d/nad-1600-preamplifier-am-fm/6637661631.html

    best of luck on your search!
    speakers:
    bowers & wilkins 685 S2
    polk psw-10
    components:
    sonic frontiers line 1 preamp
    sonic frontiers anthem amp 1
    mac mini w/ audioquest jitterbug
    teac ud-501 digital to analog converter
    oppo dv-980h dvd/cd
    interconnects:
    guzi rca
    monoprice onix series digital coaxial
    transparent performance USB
    transparent perfect image HDMI
    speaker wire
    audioquest type 4
    power:
    rhino-tek 1000w 15amp voltage regulator
    vansevers 211 power cord
    pangea ac-14 power cord
    tubes:
    amplifier: (2) NOS 1960 philco/lansdale 12AU7 (super rare!), (1) NOS 1967 mullard 12AX7, (4) 2016 svetlana hard blue EL-34
    pre-amp: (6) E88CC/6922 ??? (haven't cracked the case yet to see what previous owner was running...) so for now they are mystery tubes.
    misc:
    JRiver Media Center 24
    sanus 24" speaker stands
    auralex acoustics subdude II
    DeMoude Audio cylindrical bass traps
    rf/emi/noise reduction caps for empty rca inputs.
    Hall of Fame: [retired/sold]
    polk monitor series 5jr+ w/ RDO194-1 upgraded tweeters
    polk monitor series RTA 8T
    kenwood kd-550 w/ SME 3009 Series III tonearm grado gold cartridge
    adcom gfp-555II
    marantz 2238b
    luxman M-120A
    technics sl-b10
  • la2vegasla2vegas Posts: 2,634
    Well I can get an Adcom GFP-565 for $350 or a Nad C-162 for $175. Not really sure which to get. Does anyone know if they are somewhat comparable to one another, or is one way better than the other?
    2.3TL, 3.1TL, SDA 2B, SDA II, 7B, 7C, 7 series 2, 10B, 5JR+, 5JR, 5A, 4.5, 4, RTA 11T X2 pairs, RTA 8T, LSI9, LSI7, RTI A7, RTI A3, CSI A4, CSI A6, F/XI A4, RTI4. That's all for now.
  • zuulzuul Posts: 255
    like i said above... the 565 is the holy grail of vintage adcom. if you can get one for $350 i say don't hesitate. you will make money if you decide you don't like it and want to flip it. $350 is on the low end for those these days. they usually sell for north of $500 on ebay and in retail environments.

    https://www.stereophile.com/content/adcom-gfp-565-preamplifier

    https://www.stereophile.com/content/adcom-gfp-565-preamplifier-followup-october-1990

    http://www.audioreview.com/product/amplification/preamplifiers/adcom/gfp-565.html

    I believe it to be superior to the NAD in every conceivable category.
    speakers:
    bowers & wilkins 685 S2
    polk psw-10
    components:
    sonic frontiers line 1 preamp
    sonic frontiers anthem amp 1
    mac mini w/ audioquest jitterbug
    teac ud-501 digital to analog converter
    oppo dv-980h dvd/cd
    interconnects:
    guzi rca
    monoprice onix series digital coaxial
    transparent performance USB
    transparent perfect image HDMI
    speaker wire
    audioquest type 4
    power:
    rhino-tek 1000w 15amp voltage regulator
    vansevers 211 power cord
    pangea ac-14 power cord
    tubes:
    amplifier: (2) NOS 1960 philco/lansdale 12AU7 (super rare!), (1) NOS 1967 mullard 12AX7, (4) 2016 svetlana hard blue EL-34
    pre-amp: (6) E88CC/6922 ??? (haven't cracked the case yet to see what previous owner was running...) so for now they are mystery tubes.
    misc:
    JRiver Media Center 24
    sanus 24" speaker stands
    auralex acoustics subdude II
    DeMoude Audio cylindrical bass traps
    rf/emi/noise reduction caps for empty rca inputs.
    Hall of Fame: [retired/sold]
    polk monitor series 5jr+ w/ RDO194-1 upgraded tweeters
    polk monitor series RTA 8T
    kenwood kd-550 w/ SME 3009 Series III tonearm grado gold cartridge
    adcom gfp-555II
    marantz 2238b
    luxman M-120A
    technics sl-b10
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 18,423
    pitdogg2 wrote: »

    price is certainly right.
    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • lightman1lightman1 Posts: 9,703
    GFP-565....

    Done deal.
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