amp/preamp matching

Aaron Posts: 1,853
edited July 2002 in 2 Channel Audio
If you were setting out to purchase a new amp and preamp, would you only look for pairs from the same manufacturer or would you try to mix and match brands? It seems to me that matching the same brand makes sense, if for no other reason than aesthetics. You would think that a manufacturer’s own amp and preamp would mate well, if not the best. I can think of an example why you might want to mix and match. Some people claim that you can smooth out a solid state amp by feeding it from a tube preamp. It makes sense, but I've never tried it or heard it. Anyway, let's hear some thoughts on the this amp/preamp matching thing.

Post edited by Aaron on


  • nascarmann
    nascarmann Posts: 1,464
    edited July 2002

    My take is to stay with same manufacturer’s.....I don't think it's a really big deal though. As you said.... aesthetics mostly. When you talk about a tube pre-amp smoothing out a solid state amp....a SS amp will only do what it's asked to do....amplify the signal it is sent. The tube pre may send a different sounding signal.....but will not change the amplification of the amp. How many sources are you going to use.....if just a CD in a 2 channel rig....why not just run it sraight to the amp? No way to change the signal or color it this way. Just a little more BS from me.. ;)
    Oh, the bottle has been to me, my closes friend, my worse enemy!
  • HBombToo
    HBombToo Posts: 5,256
    edited July 2002
    I am very interested in the TUBE Thing Aaron. I think my next step will be playing around with a Tube style preamp. I have just begun researching this and it is amazing how much effort today goes into this older technology.

    I would somewhat agree with branding components if 1 did not want to really focus on compatibility issues and get up and running asap. In my case, its been fun trying to weighing options and looking at price points. I guess its just the way we look at our Hobby.

    Just think though.... Matching up old world with new world will be FUN. I am real close with a retired Motorola Engineer, he was a key player in the VHF world, we started pulling circuit diagrams together and looking at tube availability and intend on building our own tube preamp. I hope I don't BLOW MY Outlaw up when its complete:LOL: I'll let you guys know when we start. We are just in the planning stage at this point. Many different circuit configurations are available and its causing a little confusion.
  • tonyv1
    tonyv1 Posts: 365
    edited July 2002
    I'm using an Anthem PRE 2L SE tube preamp with a Parasound HCA-1500A SS amp. I used the Parasound PHP 850 SS preamp before. The tube preamp removed the edgyness of cymbals without losing the top end response. The low end remained tight. The tube preamp also added a warmth to the overall sound. Plus trying different tubes will give you a different sound. I'm playing with Sovtek 6922 (stronger bottom end) than the Brimar ECC88 that were in there. I want the high current amp power to drive my Maggies.
  • gidrah
    gidrah Posts: 3,049
    edited July 2002
    Ideally, I'd try to match as close as possible within a manufacturer to each model/line. If you can get the same brand that's been built to be mated together, this would be my first choice.
    Just because it's the same brand doesn't mean anything special. A 10yr old preamp "might" sound inferior with a new amp of the same manufacturer.

    Then again, this is optimal situation advice. If I were to upgrade any given component, I'd look for the best deal I could afford at the time. Then again, my rack goes blk, blk, silver, blk, grey, etc.
    Make it Funky! :)