Cheap Preamp

aiconnaiconn Registered UserPosts: 205
I'm ready to replace my Pioneer SC-1222k receiver as my preamp. I've been looking around the under $300 market, and have found several interesting options. I'd like some input from folks that have heard these preamps to get an idea of their sound. It will be paired with a Parasound HCA-1000a. Polk LSiM 703s, and a Martin Logan 700W. The options I've seen are:

B&K Reference 30/50
Outlaw Audio 990
Adcom GTP 555
Emotiva UMC-200
«1

Comments

  • deronb1deronb1 Posts: 4,671
    Do all the pre's listed have a sub out?
  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 3,256
    I would vote for the Adcom. Straight forward design and fairly high quality of sound at its price point. Keep in mind that most of your choices are showing signs of aging and may require some cap replacement in the not to distant future.
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII Upgraded by Rich Brkich Pre
    Butler Audio TBD 2250 Amp
    PS Audio DirectStream DAC and MemoryPlayer Transport
    LSA-1 Statement
    SVS SB4000 & 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

    Backup Gear:
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
  • IrrenhausIrrenhaus Posts: 847
    How about a Schiit Saga new for only $300.00 no Sub Out but it has 2 pairs of RCA outputs.

    If this is for 2ch only I will go for the Adcom also.

    Cheers
    HT
    AVR-Pioneer SC99
    Adcom 585
    RTi12s
    Rear- RT150
    Center-CSi5
    Sub-Rythmik audio F25
    Player- Oppo BDP-103


    Living room 2ch rig:
    Peach Tree Decco, Onkyo CS-5VL SACD and Linn Kelidh

    Bedroom 2ch rig.
    Cary AE-3, Parasound 2125, Marantz SA8005, Usher V-601 or SDA 1C, SVS SB12-NSD, Intel NUC PC and Panamax MX5105

    Headphone rig;
    Little DOT MK II with upgraded tube's and Sennheisers HD650.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,114
    A couple of those are really HT pre/pro's.....is this for a dedicated 2 channel system or are you planning to add it to a HT system ?

    Does you sub have line level inputs/outputs ?
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 6,934
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,114
    A peachtree Nova can be had for about 400 also.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • aiconnaiconn Registered User Posts: 205
    edited July 29
    tonyb wrote: »
    A couple of those are really HT pre/pro's.....is this for a dedicated 2 channel system or are you planning to add it to a HT system ?

    Does you sub have line level inputs/outputs ?

    It's for 2 channel listening. Also, the sub only has line level inputs. I"d love to try a Peachtree, but my budget is tight.
  • deronb1deronb1 Posts: 4,671
    Parasound p/ld 1100 to go with your amp. I had one with an HCA1500a and it was great. Should have no impedence issues going that route.
  • teekay0007teekay0007 Posts: 2,130
    One of my 2-channel setups consists of LSiM 703s, ML 700W sub and a B & K Reference 50 along with amplification (interchangeable) by Adcom, Rotel or a Parasound amp. The 703s are on 28” Sanus Ultimate Foundation stands. It makes a very sweet sounding system! I get lots of compliments on its presentation. I got the Ref 50 to replace my Ref 30 ONLY to try balanced interconnects. I believe you’d be hard pressed to find a better sounding preamp at the B & K price point. They do quite a fine job with the same equipment you’re using. I have the original remote for the Ref 50, but a universal (Logitech 650) worked great with the Ref 30.

    Another budget pre that I tried and liked with the listed gear was a Rotel RC1070. However, the Rotel doesn’t have digital inputs and I did want them. It does have a phono input though, if that’s important to you. No phono input on the B & K pre’s, but several digital inputs there. The universal remote also worked well with the Rotel.
  • rburgess714rburgess714 Posts: 434
    teekay0007 wrote: »
    One of my 2-channel setups consists of LSiM 703s, ML 700W sub and a B & K Reference 50 along with amplification (interchangeable) by Adcom, Rotel or a Parasound amp. The 703s are on 28” Sanus Ultimate Foundation stands. It makes a very sweet sounding system! I get lots of compliments on its presentation. I got the Ref 50 to replace my Ref 30 ONLY to try balanced interconnects. I believe you’d be hard pressed to find a better sounding preamp at the B & K price point. They do quite a fine job with the same equipment you’re using. I have the original remote for the Ref 50, but a universal (Logitech 650) worked great with the Ref 30.

    Another budget pre that I tried and liked with the listed gear was a Rotel RC1070. However, the Rotel doesn’t have digital inputs and I did want them. It does have a phono input though, if that’s important to you. No phono input on the B & K pre’s, but several digital inputs there. The universal remote also worked well with the Rotel.

    Glad to hear the Reference 50 is working out for you.
    Living Room
    Yamaha Aventage RX-A 1060, Parasound P5, Parasound A23, Yamaha BD-S681, Cambridge Audio Azur 851N, Polk S60, Polk S30, Samsung 60" LED

    Office
    Yamaha A-S501, Auralic Aries Mini, LSiM 703s

    Douglas Connection ICs and Cables
  • verbverb Posts: 6,811
    Basement: Polk SDA SRS, Cary SLP-05 Pre, Enlightened Audio Designs CD Transport, Northstar Designs Excelsio DAC, Silnote Morpheus Ref2 Digital Cable, Marantz SA-14 SACD, McIntosh MC300 Amp, Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner, Pangea Power Cables, Wireworld Oasis 8 RCA IC's, MIT Shotgun S3 IC's, MIT Shotgun S1 Bi-Wire speaker cables
    Office: PC, EAR Acute CD Player, EAR 834L Pre, PASS ACA Monoblocks, Denon UDR-F10 Cassette, Acoustic Technologies Classic FR Speakers, SVS SB12 Plus sub, MIT AVt2 speaker cables, IFI Purifier2, AQ Cinnamon USB cable, Groneberg Quatro Reference IC's
    Spare Room: , Antique Sound Labs Wave AV-8 Monoblocks, Tisbury Mini Passive Pre, Tjoeb 99 tube CD player (modified Marantz CD-38), Analysis Plus Oval 9's, Zu Jumpers, AudioEngine B1 Streamer, Klipsch RB-61 v2, SVS PB1000 sub, Blue Jeans RCA IC's
    Living Room: Peachtree Nova Integrated, Cambridge CXN v2 Streamer, Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner, Polk RT265 In Wall Speakers, Polk DSW Pro 660wi sub
  • aiconnaiconn Registered User Posts: 205
    I also need the digital inputs so the B&K is looking like the way to go. I'm not looking at getting into tubes as my rabbit hole is pretty shallow.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,114
    Well then, if you need digital inputs, a HT pre/pro is your solution in that price point. Hard to beat the B&k for that price to sound ratio.

    Others worth a look see are older pre/pro's from the likes of Cary, Conrad Johnson, Anthem, and Outlaw.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 3,256
    Caution on the 50, make sure you see and hear it work. I have one that the software is not functioning on, and, it's a paper weight now. There were issues with that on some if these. Nice sounding piece if they work, but, B&K is no longer around and I'm not sure there is anyone doing that kind of service any longer.
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII Upgraded by Rich Brkich Pre
    Butler Audio TBD 2250 Amp
    PS Audio DirectStream DAC and MemoryPlayer Transport
    LSA-1 Statement
    SVS SB4000 & 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

    Backup Gear:
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,114
    True Kerry, though I do believe someone has bought up the company and is planning a return.

    Aside from that, 300 bucks is a throw away piece anyway when it stops working. Cost ya more to fix 'em.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • aiconnaiconn Registered User Posts: 205
    tonyb wrote: »
    True Kerry, though I do believe someone has bought up the company and is planning a return.

    Aside from that, 300 bucks is a throw away piece anyway when it stops working. Cost ya more to fix 'em.

    It's not throwaway for me. That's a good chunk of my yearly audio budget.
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 15,955
    aiconn wrote: »
    tonyb wrote: »
    True Kerry, though I do believe someone has bought up the company and is planning a return.

    Aside from that, 300 bucks is a throw away piece anyway when it stops working. Cost ya more to fix 'em.

    It's not throwaway for me. That's a good chunk of my yearly audio budget.

    He was saying if it breaks and cost $300, its not worth fixing at that point. You'll easily surpass the value of the item with a few hours work. I don't think he intended to disrespect the price point.
  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 3,256
    The above is why I would look for something like the Adcom. Pretty good SQ to start out with, and, has a straightforward design that could easily be upgraded later.
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII Upgraded by Rich Brkich Pre
    Butler Audio TBD 2250 Amp
    PS Audio DirectStream DAC and MemoryPlayer Transport
    LSA-1 Statement
    SVS SB4000 & 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

    Backup Gear:
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
  • aiconnaiconn Registered User Posts: 205
    Ok. I gotcha now. So what's the pecking order for Adcoms since I know very little about them?
  • skrolskrol Posts: 2,751
    Parasound also has some preamps that pair very well with your HCA-1000A.
    Stan

    Main 2ch:
    Polk LSi15 (DB840 upgrade), Parasound: P/LD-1100, HCA-1000A; Denon: DVD-2910, DRM-800A; Monster HTS3600-MKII, Grado SR-225i

    HT:
    Denon AVR-888, Polk: RTA11TL (RDO198-1, XO and Damping Upgrades), S4, CS250, PSW10, Marantz UD5005, Panasonic TC-P42S60

    Other stuff:
    Denon: DRA-835R, DCD-660, DRM-700A, DRR-780; Polk: S8, Monitor 5A, TSi100; Pioneer: CT-6R, PL-530; Onkyo CP-1046F; Ortofon OM5E, Marantz: PM5004, CD5004, Polk: RM7, Parasound C/PT-600, HCA-800ii
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,114
    DSkip wrote: »
    aiconn wrote: »
    tonyb wrote: »
    True Kerry, though I do believe someone has bought up the company and is planning a return.

    Aside from that, 300 bucks is a throw away piece anyway when it stops working. Cost ya more to fix 'em.

    It's not throwaway for me. That's a good chunk of my yearly audio budget.

    He was saying if it breaks and cost $300, its not worth fixing at that point. You'll easily surpass the value of the item with a few hours work. I don't think he intended to disrespect the price point.

    Exactly. When buying older audio gear, that possibility of something going south increases with age. The costs to work on this stuff isn't all that cheap either, so something to consider is all I'm saying.

    Good suggestion on the HCA 1000 too, if one can find them.

    Something newer, isn't going to have digital inputs, especially at that price point. Trade offs....decide which your willing to cope with.

    Might help if we know what the musical source would be also, and why the need for digital inputs.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • aiconnaiconn Registered User Posts: 205
    tonyb wrote: »
    Might help if we know what the musical source would be also, and why the need for digital inputs.

    For now my sources are a Denon 2910, Vizio M Series TV, and computer based audio. I don't have a dac for the computer so it uses HDMI to the TV, and then optical out to my receiver. I guess if I can find one cheap enough I could pickup something like an Audioquest Dragonfly to remove the TV from the scenario.
  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 3,256
    edited August 1
    aiconn wrote: »
    tonyb wrote: »
    Might help if we know what the musical source would be also, and why the need for digital inputs.

    For now my sources are a Denon 2910, Vizio M Series TV, and computer based audio. I don't have a dac for the computer so it uses HDMI to the TV, and then optical out to my receiver. I guess if I can find one cheap enough I could pickup something like an Audioquest Dragonfly to remove the TV from the scenario.

    Or, find a decent dac on the used market that will fit your needs...any pre in this price point is probably not going to have a digital side worth talking about. Which is why I would choose something simple and straightforward like the Adcom (or similar piece) that has decent design and SQ, and, then add a dac that checks the boxes for your digital needs.
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII Upgraded by Rich Brkich Pre
    Butler Audio TBD 2250 Amp
    PS Audio DirectStream DAC and MemoryPlayer Transport
    LSA-1 Statement
    SVS SB4000 & 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

    Backup Gear:
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,114
    Running your receiver into a pre amp isn't going to gain you much of anything and may even sound worse. Same with the TV.

    I think your putting the cart before the horse in this scenario.

    You want a 2 channel pre amp that integrates with the HT system. Your going to need a dac as well. Ideally, you want to keep the HT side separate from the 2 channel side for music.

    Dacs have a variety of connections, some with HDMI even, and some can even be used as a pre amp also.

    Other option is to stream your music from the computer, but that's another can of worms.

    A pre amp isn't going to replace a receiver. You'd need to buy all the separate components a receiver has in it.

    The easiest solution is the HT pre/pro, because it has all the connections you'd need, except the amp part, AND older pre/pro's won't have HDMI. Do you have a separate amp ?

    Keep the receiver for the HT side and TV watching. The front left and right preouts on the receiver should run into the front left and right inputs on a pre amp. Then from the pre amp you run that into an amp. Music sources ideally would be plugged into the pre amp, not the receiver.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • aiconnaiconn Registered User Posts: 205
    I'm looking to replace the receiver and not to set it up for HT. It's developed a nasty hum that I notice all the time. So long story short I'm looking to go from computer, tv, and 2910 into the preamp, and then out to the Parasound 1000a to power the LSiM 703s.

    I had a similar setup years ago with an Arcam Alpha 7 preamp, Parasound HCA 1200, and Totem Rainmakers that regret selling. That combo had great synergy, and I'd put that back together in a heartbeat, but that preamp is very hard to find and my discretionary income is much more limited due to the cost of college tuition for my youngest.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,114
    Gotcha, but....why have the receiver at all then ? A hum is probably a ground loop issue, possibly not the receiver at all.

    My question is....are you looking to remove the receiver from the system, or keep it for the processing part ? Do you need HT decoding ?

    If not, a dedicated 2 channel pre and dac is the better route for SQ improvements.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • aiconnaiconn Registered User Posts: 205
    I'm removing the receiver. The hum isn't happening through the speakers. It;s the receiver. I've tried it with nothing, including speakers, connected and it still hums.
  • aiconnaiconn Registered User Posts: 205
    An Adcom GTP-600 popped up locally on FB marketplace. I figured I'd try it for a c-note. Hopefully it will sound good.
  • IrrenhausIrrenhaus Posts: 847
    HT
    AVR-Pioneer SC99
    Adcom 585
    RTi12s
    Rear- RT150
    Center-CSi5
    Sub-Rythmik audio F25
    Player- Oppo BDP-103


    Living room 2ch rig:
    Peach Tree Decco, Onkyo CS-5VL SACD and Linn Kelidh

    Bedroom 2ch rig.
    Cary AE-3, Parasound 2125, Marantz SA8005, Usher V-601 or SDA 1C, SVS SB12-NSD, Intel NUC PC and Panamax MX5105

    Headphone rig;
    Little DOT MK II with upgraded tube's and Sennheisers HD650.
  • Rich502Rich502 Posts: 108
    aiconn wrote: »
    Ok. I gotcha now. So what's the pecking order for Adcoms since I know very little about them?

    For Adcoms of the Era, would prefer a Gfp series preamps as opposed to the GTP or home theater series for both sound a reliability of the simple design, as someone else already pointed out.
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