Hey all! New SDA-2A owner looking for preamp help

Hi everyone!

I'm fairly new to the Polk world, and very new to the SDA side of it, but wanted to introduce myself and my setup, with hopes of maybe also getting some advice.

First, a brief history: I have been doing the whole proper stereo system thing for all of... 18 months. It started with a Sony mid-fi receiver from the 90's and some cheap technics, then upgraded to an Adcom GFA 535II and GFP 555 and Energy 3.1e's. And then on a whim I bought a set of Polk Monitor 5's, expecting nothing and getting everything in return. I had them for the last 11 months or so, with the thought process of upgrading to Monitor 7's, and then I learned about the SDA line and my desire to hear them went crazy. Luckily, about 3 weeks ago I found a set of SDA-2A's on Facebook Marketplace that were in great condition but missing a tweeter without a price. Messaged the seller, offered $65, he accepted and week and a half later I went and picked them up. Pulled the tweeter out of my Monitor 5 and it sounded great. I also picked up an Adcom 545II around the same time, and thankfully I did as the extra power seems to be needed to drive these. My SDA cord should be here later today so I'm excited to finally properly hear em.

Now, onto my preamp question. I know the GFP 555 isn't exactly the most musical preamp. It is fine, just a bit... boring in my opinion, and it's the next piece in my set I'm looking to upgrade. Ideally I'd like to spend in the $300 range. I've read the Adcom GFP 750 pairs very well with this amp, but I can't really find one anywhere. What else can I expect to find in this price range?

Also, I'll post some pictures later tonight when I get home!

Comments

  • NightfallNightfall Posts: 8,505
    edited October 18
    B&K
    Parasound
    afterburnt wrote: »
    They didn't speak a word of English, they were from South Carolina.

    Village Idiot of Club Polk
  • JGaphJGaph Posts: 15
    Nightfall wrote: »
    B&K
    Parasound

    Any specific models you'd recommend?
  • pkquatpkquat Posts: 677
    I have a Parasound P5 Paired with a Parasound amp. People say Parasound and Polk and a good match and I would agree. The Halo P5 includes an built in DAC. Used they can be found for around $500. The Halo P3 is in the same family but does not have the DAC. I would assume it has a similar sound. There is also the NewClassic 2100. The NewClassic line is one step down from the Halo P series, although still very good. I have not heard one however so I can't say for sure. I do have a NewClassic amp and a Halo amp. The NewClassic has more power and sounds fantastic. The Halo has less power and slightly less punch for larger speakers, but IMO does sound slightly better.

    People also like the older HCA series amps. I am not sure about those pre-amps, but I think the HCA line was the older Halo line for comparison.

    NAD also pairs will with Polk according to members, but I have not heard any specific models to make a recommendation.

    Maybe before a pre-amp, or at the same time, myself and others will strongly recommend replacing the tweeters as well with the newer RD-0194. They are a drop in replacement, much smoother sounding and less fatiguing. Next would be rebuilding the crossovers. That does make a noticeable difference. You may find you get more out of those changes than a change of pre-amp, or at least a more noticeable change when you do change pre-amps.
  • JGaphJGaph Posts: 15
    pkquat wrote: »
    I have a Parasound P5 Paired with a Parasound amp. People say Parasound and Polk and a good match and I would agree. The Halo P5 includes an built in DAC. Used they can be found for around $500. The Halo P3 is in the same family but does not have the DAC. I would assume it has a similar sound. There is also the NewClassic 2100. The NewClassic line is one step down from the Halo P series, although still very good. I have not heard one however so I can't say for sure. I do have a NewClassic amp and a Halo amp. The NewClassic has more power and sounds fantastic. The Halo has less power and slightly less punch for larger speakers, but IMO does sound slightly better.

    People also like the older HCA series amps. I am not sure about those pre-amps, but I think the HCA line was the older Halo line for comparison.

    NAD also pairs will with Polk according to members, but I have not heard any specific models to make a recommendation.

    Maybe before a pre-amp, or at the same time, myself and others will strongly recommend replacing the tweeters as well with the newer RD-0194. They are a drop in replacement, much smoother sounding and less fatiguing. Next would be rebuilding the crossovers. That does make a noticeable difference. You may find you get more out of those changes than a change of pre-amp, or at least a more noticeable change when you do change pre-amps.

    I am definitely doing the tweeter replacement as well. The preamp replacement was going to happen regardless, I just feel like now that my speakers are set I want to do something that pairs best.

    I’m not sure of my competence yet when it comes to this sort of thing, specifically as I’ve never soldered anything in my life, so I haven’t given much thought to the crossovers. I did visually inspect everything when I took them apart to make sure the cabs were good and the wiring was clean and I got the suspicion that some work may have been done considering how fresh the boards look, but I can’t confirm that.
  • JGaphJGaph Posts: 15
    So hooked my SDA cable up annnnnd... the SDA drivers are seized. Probably should’ve checked that originally but I didn’t have the cable so I never thought about it. :( Before I order another pair, I do have a pair Of 6502 drivers on hand. Can those be used to replace?
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 14,715
    edited October 19
    No they need mw6510 plenty on eBay. You'll be hard pressed to find a Adcom GFP750 for less than 800.00. they've held their value very well. For 300 look for an Adcom GFP 565 dang good pre. Looks like 555/555 ii but vastly different build. They just used the same chassis to keep cost down. Lots better than both earlier pre amps

    A word about the SDA2a. They start at 4ohm and they drop much lower so make sure your amp can handle low 3 ohm loads.
  • JGaphJGaph Posts: 15
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    No they need mw6510 plenty on eBay. You'll be hard pressed to find a Adcom GFP750 for less than 800.00. they've held their value very well. For 300 look for an Adcom GFP 565 dang good pre. Looks like 555/555 ii but vastly different build. They just used the same chassis to keep cost down. Lots better than both earlier pre amps

    A word about the SDA2a. They start at 4ohm and they drop much lower so make sure your amp can handle low 3 ohm loads.

    Considering their high efficiency and the conservative power rating on the 545II I think it should do well with this. Eventually I’d like to bump up to the 555 but for now I think this will work.
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 14,715
    JGaph wrote: »
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    No they need mw6510 plenty on eBay. You'll be hard pressed to find a Adcom GFP750 for less than 800.00. they've held their value very well. For 300 look for an Adcom GFP 565 dang good pre. Looks like 555/555 ii but vastly different build. They just used the same chassis to keep cost down. Lots better than both earlier pre amps

    A word about the SDA2a. They start at 4ohm and they drop much lower so make sure your amp can handle low 3 ohm loads.

    Considering their high efficiency and the conservative power rating on the 545II I think it should do well with this. Eventually I’d like to bump up to the 555 but for now I think this will work.

    Just a word of caution is all.
  • GlennDogGlennDog Posts: 2,046
    Welcome aboard, Gaph!

    You might find this Adcom GFP-750 thread of interest . . .

    https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/keep-adcom-gfp-750-or-replace
    Power Rogue M180 monos & Adcom GFA 5802
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    Pre/Pro Integra DHC 40.1
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    Wires WW & MIT
  • dromundsdromunds Posts: 8,334
    While your woofer is out check and see if you have two crossover boards. I seem to recall my SDA-2A’s did and therefore crossover rebuild very expensive. It’s been a long time but I seem to recall 2B’s had the single crossover board.
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 14,715
    dromunds wrote: »
    While your woofer is out check and see if you have two crossover boards. I seem to recall my SDA-2A’s did and therefore crossover rebuild very expensive. It’s been a long time but I seem to recall 2B’s had the single crossover board.

    Good point you may have early studio model SDA2b. If yours has both mw6510 in the speaker it is 2a. If it is 1 mw6503 and 1 mw6511 early 2b.
    Do not forget which side they go in ;)
  • JGaphJGaph Posts: 15
    dromunds wrote: »
    While your woofer is out check and see if you have two crossover boards. I seem to recall my SDA-2A’s did and therefore crossover rebuild very expensive. It’s been a long time but I seem to recall 2B’s had the single crossover board.

    Mine do yes. I pulled everything apart when I first got them EXCEPT for the SDA woofers (no idea why) to make sure everything was in good shape.
  • JGaphJGaph Posts: 15
    GlennDog wrote: »
    Welcome aboard, Gaph!

    You might find this Adcom GFP-750 thread of interest . . .

    https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/keep-adcom-gfp-750-or-replace

    Thank you, it was! The Freya was something I was considering as well but this is good to know. I’m going to have to audition a few pre’s I think and just make a decision. Also looks like I’m going to have to up my budget a bit.
  • NightfallNightfall Posts: 8,505
    edited October 19
    Forget my original post, I thought we were talking about amps.

    Vacuum tube preamp + solid state amp is a nice combo. I don't think you're going to get a decent tube preamp for $300 though. I'd keep saving.
    afterburnt wrote: »
    They didn't speak a word of English, they were from South Carolina.

    Village Idiot of Club Polk
  • SchurkeySchurkey Posts: 1,896
    https://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649559523-acurus-l10-line-preamplifier-excellent/

    About $300 Canadian, given the exchange rate, you might get it shipped to you for $300 American.

    No relation.
  • hauxonhauxon Posts: 135
    edited October 22
    I think it is a good idea to get a preamp with a built in dac (like the Halo P5). I do use my NAD M51 dac in preamp mode connected directly to a poweramp. Most dacs have multiple inputs. I have Chromecast Audio (toslink) for direct streaming, RasberryPi with RoPieee for Roon connected via USB and the TV connected through a optical-coaxial converter. I still have an extra USB port free and two HDMI inputs.

    If I was to add a preamp (for analog) it would be a valve preamp, Probably Schiit since they seem like bang for the buck or something used ..or something Chinese. The Vincent SA-T7 looks sexy (but costs $2000+) :P
    SRS 1.2 TL | SDA 2B Studio TL | NAD M51 preamp/dac | NAD C272 power amp | Chromecast Audio | RoPieee Roon Raspberry Pi endpoint
  • JGaphJGaph Posts: 15
    hauxon wrote: »
    I think it is a good idea to get a preamp with a built in dac (like the Halo P5). I do use my NAD M51 dac in preamp mode connected directly to a poweramp. Most dacs have multiple inputs. I have Chromecast Audio (toslink) for direct streaming, RasberryPi with RoPieee for Roon connected via USB and the TV connected through a optical-coaxial converter. I still have an extra USB port free and two HDMI inputs.

    If I was to add a preamp (for analog) it would be a valve preamp, Probably Schiit since they seem like bang for the buck or something used ..or something Chinese. The Vincent SA-T7 looks sexy (but costs $2000+) :P

    I currently use a dragonfly red as my DAC for streaming TIDAL. I’m very satisfied so far with it, but I’ll keep this in mind.

    Spoke to someone today with a Kenwood Basic C2 that I’m going to pickup this weekend I think. It looks to be a good pair with the adcom and like the current GFP 555 has an excellent phono stage.

  • SchurkeySchurkey Posts: 1,896
    hauxon wrote: »
    I think it is a good idea to get a preamp with a built in dac
    Consider buying an older Preamp/Processor (Pre/Pro).

    You could pick up an Aragon Stage One; 7.1 processor with Dolby Digital, DTS, THx certification, etc (but missing many newer formats and an inability to do high-rez)

    However, 2-channel is superb, including the Crystal D-A conversion. Uses a Philips Pronto universal remote; and can often be had used for under $500.

    No doubt there are similar "obsolete" processors from other brands with comparable features and abilities in that price range.


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