On the hunt for a new preamp... suggestions!

New or used, budget can stretch to $2,500. Two must haves is HT bypass & full function remote. I'm open to both SS & tube.
My amp is the Parasound A21+, I've been looking at the Parasound JC2 BP & P6 which will mate well with the amp. Both units are well reviewed.
The Schiit Freya + seems to have pretty good reviews but I'm not a fan of the way they implement HT bypass.
I'm finding the HT bypass mode to be somewhat hard to find especially on tube units.
Open to all recommendations.

Thanks,
Phil
"2 Channel & 11.2 HT "Two Channel:Magnepan LRSSchiit Audio Freya S - SS preConsonance Ref 50 - Tube preParasound HALO A21+ 2 channel ampBluesound NODE 2i streameriFi NEO iDSD DAC Oppo BDP-93KEF KC62 sub Home Theater:Full blown 11.2 set up.

Comments

  • pearsall001
    pearsall001 Posts: 4,956
    I just got a email from PS Audio about their current sale.
    Anyone have listening experience with their gear...in particular the Gain Cell DAC. On sale for $1,519. HT bypass, DAC & full function remote. Interesting.
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "Two Channel:Magnepan LRSSchiit Audio Freya S - SS preConsonance Ref 50 - Tube preParasound HALO A21+ 2 channel ampBluesound NODE 2i streameriFi NEO iDSD DAC Oppo BDP-93KEF KC62 sub Home Theater:Full blown 11.2 set up.
  • audioluvr
    audioluvr Posts: 5,391
    So this is going in your HT system?
    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
  • Emlyn
    Emlyn Posts: 4,335
    I've had a JC2BP with a JC5 amp for a few years now after running tube preamps for a long time. The JC2 has a very low noise floor with a neutral sound quality that does indeed mate well with other Parasound products. I ran one with an A21 for a while before getting the JC5. The JC2 is still a purist design for analog which is why it's so quiet. The P6 has some digital features. If I had a system where the digital features were needed it would be something I'd take a look at but there are a lot of other contenders in that price range that do the same stuff.

    I wouldn't hesitate to order another JC2 if mine broke. Looks like the price is now below $4K for new. I understand Parasound is under new ownership so I don't know what the future holds for what they produce or if John Curl will continue to be involved in their designs.
  • VR3
    VR3 Posts: 27,880
    Musical fidelity kw hybrid preamp is in that budget, very transparent with no detectable sonic signature
    - Not Tom ::::::: Any system can play Diana Krall. Only the best can play Limp Bizkit.
  • pearsall001
    pearsall001 Posts: 4,956
    audioluvr wrote: »
    So this is going in your HT system?

    Yes...I want to take advantage of my Maggie's for both 2 channel & HT.
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "Two Channel:Magnepan LRSSchiit Audio Freya S - SS preConsonance Ref 50 - Tube preParasound HALO A21+ 2 channel ampBluesound NODE 2i streameriFi NEO iDSD DAC Oppo BDP-93KEF KC62 sub Home Theater:Full blown 11.2 set up.
  • nooshinjohn
    nooshinjohn Posts: 24,908
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Mono-blocks, 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
  • pearsall001
    pearsall001 Posts: 4,956

    I'd love to get my hands on that on that Rogue... unfortunately too far over my budget. Thanks for the heads up though.

    I did see MF M6s PRE that is well within my budget. Gonna give it a closer look.
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "Two Channel:Magnepan LRSSchiit Audio Freya S - SS preConsonance Ref 50 - Tube preParasound HALO A21+ 2 channel ampBluesound NODE 2i streameriFi NEO iDSD DAC Oppo BDP-93KEF KC62 sub Home Theater:Full blown 11.2 set up.
  • nooshinjohn
    nooshinjohn Posts: 24,908
    The RP5 is also available and at the right price…
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Mono-blocks, 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
  • GlennDog
    GlennDog Posts: 3,077

    I've wondered what the RP7 or 9 would bring to the table with my Rogue M180 monos in Dark.

    Complimentary, fo sho (same house sound) . . . but better than the Cary SLP-05 ???

    I always thought lateral move. Never saw any online comments touting one or the other when paired with the M-180s
    AC Regenerator PS Audio PerfectWave Power Plant 10
    Source Lumin U1 Mini into Lampi Baltic 4
    Pre Cary SLP-05
    Power Rogue M180 Dark monos
    Mains Salk HT2-TL
    Rythmik F12
  • nooshinjohn
    nooshinjohn Posts: 24,908
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Mono-blocks, 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
  • Joey_V
    Joey_V Posts: 8,480
    Heard jc2 back to back against a simple rotel. Honestly I would pass at that price. I would take a hard look at the Cary 98 if you want something simple and straight to the point.
    Magico, JL, Emm, ARC Ref 10 line, ARC Ref 10 phono, VPI, Lyra, Boulder, AQ Wel, SRA Scuttle Rack, Bluesound
  • stangman67
    stangman67 Posts: 2,166
    If you can find an older used Backert Rhumba or an open box/used Modwright SWL9.0 Anniversary, both would be in your price range and have HT bypass and they are awesome performers. Both have very simple remotes though. Basically volume and mute and that’s it, so may not be in your swim lane. About the only personal experience I have with stand-alone Pres
    2 Channel in my home attic/bar/man cave

    2 Channel Focal Kanta 3 I Modwright SWL9.0 Anniversary Pre I Modwright PH9.0X I Modwright KWA-150SE I VPI Prime Signature w/ Soundsmith Zephyr MIMC I Lumin U2 Mini I North Star Designs Intenso DAC I Audience OHNO ICs/Audience Furutech FP-S55N and FP-S032N Power Cables/Acoustic Zen Satori I Isotek Sirius
  • Emlyn
    Emlyn Posts: 4,335
    Bear in mind that Magnepans are not normal speakers and need to be paired with a preamp and amp that have enough current and low noise together to produce an adequate sound level without the volume control needing to go up too high to deal with the low sensitivity and current demands. They're not expensive speakers but they demand good gear to get the best out of them. Certain tube preamps simply aren't a good choice unless someone wants to find out how noisy even an expensive tube preamp can be. I learned that with my 1.7i model. They're very revealing speakers of what's upstream in part because the panels produce a big and tall sound from a large radiating surface area that produces sound from the front and the rear of the panels.
  • GlennDog
    GlennDog Posts: 3,077
    Joey_V wrote: »
    Heard jc2 back to back against a simple rotel. Honestly I would pass at that price. I would take a hard look at the Cary 98 if you want something simple and straight to the point.

    @dr1978

    IIRC, this gent bought my ruby red Cary SLP-98 with silver face plate . . . gorgeous !

    he tried selling after a period of time . . . I don't think it ever moved. No clue why. Exquisite piece of kit!

    Reach out
    AC Regenerator PS Audio PerfectWave Power Plant 10
    Source Lumin U1 Mini into Lampi Baltic 4
    Pre Cary SLP-05
    Power Rogue M180 Dark monos
    Mains Salk HT2-TL
    Rythmik F12
  • invalid
    invalid Posts: 1,240
    edited November 2023
    Emlyn wrote: »
    Bear in mind that Magnepans are not normal speakers and need to be paired with a preamp and amp that have enough current and low noise together to produce an adequate sound level without the volume control needing to go up too high to deal with the low sensitivity and current demands. They're not expensive speakers but they demand good gear to get the best out of them. Certain tube preamps simply aren't a good choice unless someone wants to find out how noisy even an expensive tube preamp can be. I learned that with my 1.7i model. They're very revealing speakers of what's upstream in part because the panels produce a big and tall sound from a large radiating surface area that produces sound from the front and the rear of the panels.

    I don't know what tube preamps you have had, but I haven't had a noise problem with my tube preamp with apogee speakers. A lot of tube preamps just simply have to much gain, that's why there is a noise problem.
  • pearsall001
    pearsall001 Posts: 4,956
    GlennDog wrote: »
    Joey_V wrote: »
    Heard jc2 back to back against a simple rotel. Honestly I would pass at that price. I would take a hard look at the Cary 98 if you want something simple and straight to the point.

    @dr1978

    IIRC, this gent bought my ruby red Cary SLP-98 with silver face plate . . . gorgeous !

    he tried selling after a period of time . . . I don't think it ever moved. No clue why. Exquisite piece of kit!

    Reach out

    Thanks for the heads up but I've dealt with him not too long ago...never again. I'll just leave it there.
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "Two Channel:Magnepan LRSSchiit Audio Freya S - SS preConsonance Ref 50 - Tube preParasound HALO A21+ 2 channel ampBluesound NODE 2i streameriFi NEO iDSD DAC Oppo BDP-93KEF KC62 sub Home Theater:Full blown 11.2 set up.
  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 1,141
    Phil, for your implementation I would steer clear of the Freya+. Not b/c it’s bad, but I think a better system match exists.

    I believe your Parasound amp has a high input impedance which is good when mating to a tube preamp (most tube preamps have high output impedances and require a high input impedance on the amp to avoid roll-off at the frequency extremes).

    However, as an owner of the Freya+, I can tell you that even with proper matching, you will find that the volume pot will need to be run from 11 o’clock (to reach audibility) or higher to reach satisfying listening levels. Your Maggies already have relatively low sensitivity which may exacerbate SPL frustration with this preamp (I have gotten near the top of the entire range of the volume pot before).

    Also despite what is advertised, the Schiit Freya+ doesn't allow precise volume adjustment with the remote; a quick button press goes through 2-3 volume relay clicks on average. For this reason alone I’d take the Alps Blue Velvet volume pot since it is quieter, if I’m going to give up volume precision.

    That said, I think you could do well with a PrimaLuna Tube Pre with ht bypass, as I think its sonics are akin to Parasound Halo; slightly warm, with some nice detail/texture.

    I’ve seen some Dialogue Premium pres in your price range lately. These were the best PrimaLuna made, imo, b/c they had Mundorf caps in them. Also look for Prologue Premium pre for lower cost. Either should be a good match.

    Try before you buy, as always.

    Good luck.

    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.
  • pearsall001
    pearsall001 Posts: 4,956
    jbreezy5 wrote: »
    Phil, for your implementation I would steer clear of the Freya+. Not b/c it’s bad, but I think a better system match exists.

    I believe your Parasound amp has a high input impedance which is good when mating to a tube preamp (most tube preamps have high output impedances and require a high input impedance on the amp to avoid roll-off at the frequency extremes).

    However, as an owner of the Freya+, I can tell you that even with proper matching, you will find that the volume pot will need to be run from 11 o’clock (to reach audibility) or higher to reach satisfying listening levels. Your Maggies already have relatively low sensitivity which may exacerbate SPL frustration with this preamp (I have gotten near the top of the entire range of the volume pot before).

    Also despite what is advertised, the Schiit Freya+ doesn't allow precise volume adjustment with the remote; a quick button press goes through 2-3 volume relay clicks on average. For this reason alone I’d take the Alps Blue Velvet volume pot since it is quieter, if I’m going to give up volume precision.

    That said, I think you could do well with a PrimaLuna Tube Pre with ht bypass, as I think its sonics are akin to Parasound Halo; slightly warm, with some nice detail/texture.

    I’ve seen some Dialogue Premium pres in your price range lately. These were the best PrimaLuna made, imo, b/c they had Mundorf caps in them. Also look for Prologue Premium pre for lower cost. Either should be a good match.

    Try before you buy, as always.

    Good luck.

    Thanks for the info. I did wonder about the volume control on the Freya +. The Prima Luna line looks interesting though. I never really had them on my radar.
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "Two Channel:Magnepan LRSSchiit Audio Freya S - SS preConsonance Ref 50 - Tube preParasound HALO A21+ 2 channel ampBluesound NODE 2i streameriFi NEO iDSD DAC Oppo BDP-93KEF KC62 sub Home Theater:Full blown 11.2 set up.