$300'ish and under preamp suggestions?

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I want to change my setup to a dedicated preamp to control my devices.

I have a budget.

I don't mind used equipment. Nor do I mind chi-fi items.

At the moment, the Schitt stuff looks interesting. I've got my DAC options narrowed down to other manufacturers, but finding a $300'ish pre that I think will be better than the non-optimal setup I have right now is hard. I'm way outta the loop on this.

Thoughts, hive mind?
The Thrifty Setups in Mah House Big thrifty stereo in the basement w/ my custom SDA-1C (built with help from kind forum members) * Beautiful 1966 MCM GE console upgraded w/ Bluetooth, Dual turntable, and Paradigm speakers in family room * Swanky 1980 Realistic system and great TEAC eq with dancing colored lights in the living room * custom 5B on a system for my Dad * Ye Olde college stereo in the garage

Comments

  • skipshot12
    skipshot12 Posts: 1,070
    edited February 2023
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    Since I have zero experience with the newer stuff I can only make suggestions of vintage gear.

    I assume you’re talking strictly two channel…
    Have a question first, what will you be plugging into your preamp, mostly analog, mostly digital or a combination of both?
  • WLDock
    WLDock Posts: 3,073
    edited February 2023
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    There's stuff out there in the new or used $150-$300 per component price if you look and stay diligent with your search (ebay, hifishark.com, search tempest.com, audio forums, etc.). Can piece together a decent system (Preamp, Amp, DAC, Streamer) in the $600 - $1000 range.... or can find an integrated.
    I've seen the following items at these prices over the last several months, just to show whats possible piecing together an under $600 system > Saga preamp-$150 / Geshelli Labs J2 dac - $150 / B&K ST3030 amp - $180 / WiiM Mini streamer - $77

    PREAMPS
    Schiit Saga, Saga+, Saga S
    B&K PT5 or REF 5 S2, PRO-5
    Anthem TLP-1

    DACs
    Geshelli Labs
    Topping

    AMPS
    B&K
    Parasound
    Rotel

    STREAMER
    WiiM Mini
    WiiM Pro

    INTEGRATED
    Musical Fidelity M2si, M3si, etc.
    Cambridge Audio CXA60, CXA61, CXA80
    Audio Lab 6000a
    Music Hall
    Rega Brio

    2.2 Office Setup | LG 29UB55 21:9 UltraWide | HP Probook 630 G8 | Dell Latitude | Cabasse Stream Amp 100 | Boston Acoustics VS 240 | AUDIORAX Desk Stands | Mirage Omni S8 sub1 | Mirage Omni S8 Sub2
  • plastic_avatar
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    @skipshot12

    Alrighty. Here's what I've got:

    - My favorite CD player has a coax digital (which I'd rather use than the analog out)... but, [thinks]... that doesn't matter because it'll go through the DAC.
    - My turntable(s) go through ye olde Realistic phono pre.
    - The DAC will have whatever output I need.
    - I have a tape deck for archiving stuff.

    The ultimate would be something that allows me to use my Audiosource EQ, if I want to. But I know monitor loops are hard to find nowadays on equipment =(
    The Thrifty Setups in Mah House Big thrifty stereo in the basement w/ my custom SDA-1C (built with help from kind forum members) * Beautiful 1966 MCM GE console upgraded w/ Bluetooth, Dual turntable, and Paradigm speakers in family room * Swanky 1980 Realistic system and great TEAC eq with dancing colored lights in the living room * custom 5B on a system for my Dad * Ye Olde college stereo in the garage
  • plastic_avatar
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    @WLDock

    Wow. I'll go look that list over after work. Thank you!

    The Geshelli is one a forum friend picked up.

    Do you prefer a dedicated streaming device to outputting via computer to DAC?
    The Thrifty Setups in Mah House Big thrifty stereo in the basement w/ my custom SDA-1C (built with help from kind forum members) * Beautiful 1966 MCM GE console upgraded w/ Bluetooth, Dual turntable, and Paradigm speakers in family room * Swanky 1980 Realistic system and great TEAC eq with dancing colored lights in the living room * custom 5B on a system for my Dad * Ye Olde college stereo in the garage
  • WLDock
    WLDock Posts: 3,073
    edited February 2023
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    @WLDock

    Wow. I'll go look that list over after work. Thank you!

    The Geshelli is one a forum friend picked up.

    Do you prefer a dedicated streaming device to outputting via computer to DAC?

    Do what works for you! However, the WiiM products have easy to use software, constantly supported and updated, and are low cost.... even lower than a used Bluesound unit. I have the WiiM Pro in my main system but use either my computer or stream amp in my desktop system.
    2.2 Office Setup | LG 29UB55 21:9 UltraWide | HP Probook 630 G8 | Dell Latitude | Cabasse Stream Amp 100 | Boston Acoustics VS 240 | AUDIORAX Desk Stands | Mirage Omni S8 sub1 | Mirage Omni S8 Sub2
  • nooshinjohn
    nooshinjohn Posts: 25,252
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    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Mono-blocks, Mcintosh C2300 Arcam AVR20, Oppo UDP-203 4K Blu-ray player, Sony XBR70x850B 4k, Polk Audio Legend L800 with height modules, L400 Center Channel Polk audio AB800 "in-wall" surrounds. Marantz MM7025 stereo amp. Simaudio Moon 680d DSD

    “When once a Republic is corrupted, there is no possibility of remedying any of the growing evils but by removing the corruption and restoring its lost principles; every other correction is either useless or a new evil.”— Thomas Jefferson
  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 1,141
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    You can probably find a used B&K Ref 50 for about $350. If you don’t plan to use subs, you can configure “direct” mode to evade processing. It’s a really nice pre.
    @skipshot12

    Alrighty. Here's what I've got:

    - My favorite CD player has a coax digital (which I'd rather use than the analog out)... but, [thinks]... that doesn't matter because it'll go through the DAC.
    - My turntable(s) go through ye olde Realistic phono pre.
    - The DAC will have whatever output I need.
    - I have a tape deck for archiving stuff.

    The ultimate would be something that allows me to use my Audiosource EQ, if I want to. But I know monitor loops are hard to find nowadays on equipment =(

    If you want to run EQ, you just connect xlr/rca from pre-out to line-in on your EQ; then you run line-out to amp-in. Done! 🙃

    Would upgrade your phono pre if funds allow.
    CD Players: Sony CDP-211; Sony DVP-S9000ES; Sony UDP-X800M2 (x2); Cambridge Audio CXC

    DACs: Jolida Glass FX Tube DAC III (x2); Denafrips Ares II (x2)

    Streamers: ROKU (x3); Bluesound Node 2i and Node N130 w/LHY LPS // Receivers: Yamaha RX-V775BT; Yamaha RX-V777

    Preamps: B&K Ref 50; B&K Ref 5 S2; Classe CP-800 MkII; Audio Research SP16L (soon)

    Amps: Niles SI-275; B&K ST125.7; B&K ST125.2; Classe CA-2300; Butler Audio TDB-5150

    Speakers: Boston Acoustics CR55; Focal Chorus 705v; Wharfedale Diamond 10.2; Monitor Audio Silver-1; Def Tech Mythos One (x4)/Mythos Three Center (x2)/Mythos Two pr.; Martin Logan Electromotion ESL; Legacy Audio Victoria/Silverscreen Center; Gallo Acoustics Reference 3.1; SVS SB-1000 Pro; REL HT-1003; B&W ASW610; HifiMan HE400i

    Turntable: Dual 721 Direct-Drive w/Audio Technica AT-VM95e cart

    Cables: Tripp-lite 14ga. PCs, Blue Jeans Cable ICs, Philips PXT1000 ICs; Kimber Kable DV30 coaxial ICs; Canare L-4E6S XLR ICs; Kimber Kable 8PR & 8TC speaker cables.
  • audioluvr
    audioluvr Posts: 5,492
    Options
    Gustard X26 Pro DAC
    Belles 21A Pre modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    B&K M200 Sonata monoblocks refreshed and upgraded
    Polk SDA 1C's modded / 1000Va Dreadnaught
    Wireworld Silver Eclipse IC's and speaker cables
    Harman Kardon T65C w/Grado Gold. (Don't laugh. It sounds great!)


    There is about a 5% genetic difference between apes and men …but that difference is the difference between throwing your own poo when you are annoyed …and Einstein, Shakespeare and Miss January. by Dr. Sardonicus
  • audioluvr
    audioluvr Posts: 5,492
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    Where are you located? Maybe we can help you find something local but IMHO you'd be better off saving up and getting something decent.
    Gustard X26 Pro DAC
    Belles 21A Pre modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    B&K M200 Sonata monoblocks refreshed and upgraded
    Polk SDA 1C's modded / 1000Va Dreadnaught
    Wireworld Silver Eclipse IC's and speaker cables
    Harman Kardon T65C w/Grado Gold. (Don't laugh. It sounds great!)


    There is about a 5% genetic difference between apes and men …but that difference is the difference between throwing your own poo when you are annoyed …and Einstein, Shakespeare and Miss January. by Dr. Sardonicus
  • DaveHo
    DaveHo Posts: 3,489
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    Check out the Parasound PHP-850. I think it'll fulfill all your wants including a tape monitor loop. Just so happens I have one that I'd be willing to part with. I really like it, but it's not getting any play with me. Price would be far less than your $300 budget. Shoot me a PM and I can send you pics and answer any questions you have.
  • PSOVLSK
    PSOVLSK Posts: 5,141
    edited February 2023
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    DaveHo wrote: »
    Check out the Parasound PHP-850. I think it'll fulfill all your wants including a tape monitor loop. Just so happens I have one that I'd be willing to part with. I really like it, but it's not getting any play with me. Price would be far less than your $300 budget. Shoot me a PM and I can send you pics and answer any questions you have.

    I need to research this to make sure I’m not lying, but I’m pretty sure this is the pre- that got me started with separates. Fantastic little unit. I’d be all over this offer. Though I’ve never had any personal dealings with @DaveHo, I know he’s a trustworthy seller.
    Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.-John Wooden
  • plastic_avatar
    Options
    I swear to (the) G/god(s), sometimes the advice, help, and EVERYTHING from you guys just blows me away.

    I did a little bit of forum participation after I joined up, then years of mostly lurking before my Polk projects started in earnest 3 years ago. Just sayin', I really do appreciate this place and the people here.

    For future reference, @audioluvr, I'm about an hour South of Pittsburgh, in WV.
    The Thrifty Setups in Mah House Big thrifty stereo in the basement w/ my custom SDA-1C (built with help from kind forum members) * Beautiful 1966 MCM GE console upgraded w/ Bluetooth, Dual turntable, and Paradigm speakers in family room * Swanky 1980 Realistic system and great TEAC eq with dancing colored lights in the living room * custom 5B on a system for my Dad * Ye Olde college stereo in the garage
  • audioluvr
    audioluvr Posts: 5,492
    Options
    Gustard X26 Pro DAC
    Belles 21A Pre modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    B&K M200 Sonata monoblocks refreshed and upgraded
    Polk SDA 1C's modded / 1000Va Dreadnaught
    Wireworld Silver Eclipse IC's and speaker cables
    Harman Kardon T65C w/Grado Gold. (Don't laugh. It sounds great!)


    There is about a 5% genetic difference between apes and men …but that difference is the difference between throwing your own poo when you are annoyed …and Einstein, Shakespeare and Miss January. by Dr. Sardonicus
  • halo71
    halo71 Posts: 4,589
    Options
    I know its more than what you said your budget is. But there is a nice Anthem tube preamp with external power supply on Audiokarma for $550.
    --Gary--
    Onkyo Integra M504, Bottlehead Foreplay III, Denon SACD, Thiel CS2.3, NHT VT-2, VT-3 and Evolution T6, Infinity RSIIIa, SDA1C and a few dozen other speakers around the house I change in and out.
  • skipshot12
    skipshot12 Posts: 1,070
    Options
    For vintage I'd recommend these but, I'm a Bob Carver fan...
    Phase Linear 3500 Series II. Best pre they built up to that point. May be able to find one around $500 but it would probably need gone thru.
    Carver C-1 or C-4000. Both would be around the 500 dollar mark original and gone thru.

    Newer...
    There are some nice Parasound Pre's for sale @ https://www.usaudiomart.com
    $350 John Curl design Class A Preamplifier from Parasound model P / LD - 1100
    $350 Parasound Zpre3
    $250 Parasound Zpre2
    $550 Parasound Model 2100
    A tad more than your number $800 Parasound Processor preamp p/sp 1500

    Can't go wrong with anything John Curl designed.
  • plastic_avatar
    Options
    We have a winner!

    I'm taking DaveHo up on his generous offer on the P/HP-850.

    Thank you, everyone, for the help! I spent a lot of time the past 2 days diving in and reading about every one of your suggestions. Amazing stuff. I learned quite a bit. It's info I get to share with my 2 audio-interested friends with deeper pockets, too!

    I hope other people will find this thread for some info that will help them.

    I'll report back on how things go after I get it hooked up. I'll have a bona fide great pre for the first time. It's exciting.

    I also learned who John Curl is, that Anthem and Vincent are sweet, if I'd had the budget a crazy combo unit Emotiva can be had in the $400 range, and much more.

    Thank you, again, guys.
    The Thrifty Setups in Mah House Big thrifty stereo in the basement w/ my custom SDA-1C (built with help from kind forum members) * Beautiful 1966 MCM GE console upgraded w/ Bluetooth, Dual turntable, and Paradigm speakers in family room * Swanky 1980 Realistic system and great TEAC eq with dancing colored lights in the living room * custom 5B on a system for my Dad * Ye Olde college stereo in the garage
  • Navy_Goat
    Options
    You clearly stated a budget and your goals and normally I would stick to that ...but today I am going the be THAT guy.

    This option blows your budget, but it is right up your alley. I recently built an AkitikA preamp (PR-102). The kit comes with everything you will need for a basic preamp. The build took a few days and was extremely well thought-out and packaged. It comes with a great color assembly instruction book that eliminates all stress. You can even add a phono pre or headphone amp later if you wish. It sounds fantastic and is available with a well integrated remote. It is awesome!

    I also have a Anthem TLP-1 and it is a great option too. You should be able to find one of these within your budget.
    SDA SRS 2.3tl, SDA 1C, SDA 2B (TL mod), Reserve 200
  • plastic_avatar
    plastic_avatar Posts: 694
    edited February 2023
    Options
    Navy_Goat wrote: »
    ...but today I am going the be THAT guy.
    sonofa...
    This option blows your budget, but it is right up your alley. I recently built an AkitikA preamp (PR-102)....It is awesome!

    I've had that bookmarked for a year! I haven't known anyone who had heard one, until today
    [laughs].

    So the DAC options I've got + the 850 pre mean I can take a breather in a few months.

    Tell us:

    - did any of the assembly trip you up

    - did you need some helping hand clips

    - what do you like best about the sound?
    The Thrifty Setups in Mah House Big thrifty stereo in the basement w/ my custom SDA-1C (built with help from kind forum members) * Beautiful 1966 MCM GE console upgraded w/ Bluetooth, Dual turntable, and Paradigm speakers in family room * Swanky 1980 Realistic system and great TEAC eq with dancing colored lights in the living room * custom 5B on a system for my Dad * Ye Olde college stereo in the garage
  • plastic_avatar
    Options
    Daveho packs to ship like no one I've known.

    Precise.

    EVERYTHING was precise.

    The wrap, the tape, the styrofoam cut to fit. Amazing. I was so stunned I didn't take more pictures.

    Hope to hear it tomorrow or Thursday.

    Thanks, all. I appreciate everyone's input (and Daveho's generosity!).

    sbyxtgwqcges.jpeg
    nbdbdcmorpg7.jpeg

    The Thrifty Setups in Mah House Big thrifty stereo in the basement w/ my custom SDA-1C (built with help from kind forum members) * Beautiful 1966 MCM GE console upgraded w/ Bluetooth, Dual turntable, and Paradigm speakers in family room * Swanky 1980 Realistic system and great TEAC eq with dancing colored lights in the living room * custom 5B on a system for my Dad * Ye Olde college stereo in the garage
  • Navy_Goat
    Navy_Goat Posts: 375
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    - did any of the assembly trip you up

    - did you need some helping hand clips

    - what do you like best about the sound?

    Assembly was fine. I had already put the the matching amp together and this kit was just more of the same. I didn't rush and everything went together smoothly.

    I do have a small assembly tray with four adjustable clips. I used them a few times most notably for tinning stripped wires.

    I really sounds great paired with the matching amp. I have it connected to some Zu Audio Omen DW mk II and the combination is money. I added the phono pre (which is also excellent).

    Lots more details HERE.

    I still have at least one expansion slot open on the kit and I would love to integrate a decent DAC at some point, but this time of year I am concentrating on other hobbies.
    SDA SRS 2.3tl, SDA 1C, SDA 2B (TL mod), Reserve 200
  • plastic_avatar
    Options
    @Navy_Goat Wow. Good read. That amp/pre setup seems great to me. And I like the maker. You've made it so that amp is further up in my 'I'll update my amp eventually...' list. Thank you very much for the extra info.
    The Thrifty Setups in Mah House Big thrifty stereo in the basement w/ my custom SDA-1C (built with help from kind forum members) * Beautiful 1966 MCM GE console upgraded w/ Bluetooth, Dual turntable, and Paradigm speakers in family room * Swanky 1980 Realistic system and great TEAC eq with dancing colored lights in the living room * custom 5B on a system for my Dad * Ye Olde college stereo in the garage