On the fence - Pre/Pro or dedicated Preamp

ThortonThorton Posts: 1,284
edited September 2013 in 2 Channel Audio
Or maybe I just keep going in circles. I have been researching pre/pros and preamps to improve music SQ by replacing or adding onto my old AVR which I'm using as a pre. My system is listed in the sig. I was really leaning towards the Marantz AV8801 pre/pro from all the reviews and positive feedback I've heard on the unit plus I found a dealer that would significantly lower the MSRP by a lot. I currently listen with my AVR in Pure Direct with bass management engaged (no double bass). I'm not a purist. I just choose what sounds best and with my old Denon I prefer this. New Denon and Marantz do not have this option. So that would mean Pure Direct with FL and FR speakers only or stereo with or without Audyssey engaged. From what I've read, Audyssey is love or hate for music, so I'm back on the fence.

I'm looking to improve music so I could switch to pure 2 channel (no subs) for music with a dedicated pre. I'm completely fine with the HT side now so I can hold off on the pre/pro. So do I:

1.) Go for the Marantz
2.) Go used SS preamp. The Parasound P7 (with bass management) intrigues me however I never see this mentioned anywhere and I don't know how easy it would be to pick-up a used one and sell it if I don't like it. The W4S STP-SE would match up with my other components nicely. I'm open for other options.
3.) Go used tube preamp. I know many members prefer this route however I'm clueless with this approach so I'd have to read up quite a bit and ask for recommendations.

The Marantz would cost more. I would look to hopefully spend less than 1500 on a used preamp. Remote and HT bypass is required. You guys haven't steered me wrong yet so that's why I'm looking for assistance. Thanks.
Ethernet Filter: GigaFOILv4 with Keces P3 LPS
Source: Roon via ethernet to DAC interface
DAC: Bricasti M1SE
Pre/Pro: Marantz AV8805
Tube Preamp Buffer: Tortuga TPB.V1
Amp1: Nord One NC1200DM Signature, Amp2: W4S MC-5, AMP3: W4S MMC-7
Front: Salk SoundScape 8's, Center: Salk SoundScape C7
Surround: Polk FXIA6, Surround Back: Polk RTIA9, Atmos: Polk 70-RT
Subs: 2 - Rythmik F25's
IC & Speaker Cables: Acoustic Zen, Wireworld, Signal Cable
Power Cables: Acoustic Zen, Wireworld, PS Audio
Room Treatments: GIK Acoustics
Post edited by Thorton on


  • polkfarmboypolkfarmboy Posts: 5,724
    edited September 2013
    2ch, go for a used tube pre like a Dared mc7p for around $650 but for HT the difference with a dedicated preamp is just heaven and music will bea huge upgrade in comparison to an avr.
  • megasat16megasat16 Posts: 3,534
    edited September 2013
    My suggestions based on self experiences.

    1. Marantz Processor or Pioneer Elite Receivers fits your 1500 bill nicely. I would look very closely at the Pioneer Elite because of the sound quality and excellent DAC built in. Pure Direct in Elite Receivers are awesome! I don't know a lot about Marantz though.

    2. I have owned many parasound amps and pre. At one time, I tried the top of the line JC2. I sold it within a month and puts $50 profit in my pocket. And I also tried many other Parasound Processors but they don't come close to the Yamaha I had. Parasound Amps are superb though and goes very well with Polk speakers. I have them for HT duty.

    3. W4S pre also is a great idea since you have their DAC. It would match well but don't know about their sound quality. Mike (Face) would knows a lot about W4S stuff so wait till he see your post or just pm him.

    4. I have tried several tube preamp a couple of years ago and I sold all of them except Dynaco PAS-3x I bought from a member here (poee7r). This rivals many tube preamps costing a lot more in my opinion. But most modern day tube preamp (except chi-fi) to equal sound quality of a good SS preamp, you will be spending twice more on the tube preamp plus cost of tubes rolling which comes up quite more than you think. This is a touche' subject indeed and opinions highly differ.
    Trying out Different Audio Cables is a Religious Affair. You don't discuss it with anyone. :redface::biggrin:
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