Potential Upgrade - Power Amp or Pre-Amp

dr1978
dr1978 Posts: 378
edited November 2020 in Electronics
I'm thinking of making an upgrade, but I'm not sure which piece to go after. I currently have a Marantz SR5011 serving as the pre-amp in my HT setup, with a B&K Ref 2220 powering my LSiM speakers.

Appreciate any thoughts on the following...

Which piece of equipment do you think would be a better upgrade; power or pre?

What suggestions do you have on which brand/model to target considering my other equipment?

Some caveats...

- Budget would be in the $750-$1k range

- If I were to go with a pre, it would have to include HT Bypass.

- If I went with a new power amp, I could probably stretch my budget because I would be selling the B&K.

- A power amp with 3 channels would be a bonus.

- This will be for my main/HT setup, but music is the priority, and I don't necessarily need exacting detail. I don't have the most critical ear.

- I'm sure I will be upgrading both eventually. I can live with a slight synergistic mismatch for now if I know that a future upgrade will put me back on the right path.


My thought based on what I've read is that I might see more benefit by moving away from an AVR as a pre. However, the idea of taking a decent size step up with a power amp right now is enticing.


Thanks for the help!
Pro-ject 2 Experience SB, OPPO BDP-103, Marantz SR5011, Lounge LCR MKIII, McCormack DNA-HT5, Polk LSiM705, Polk LSiM706C, Polk LSiM702, SVS SB16-Ultra

Comments

  • monepolk
    monepolk Posts: 1,113
    I suggest getting a 2 channel pre with HT bypass.
  • hochpt21
    hochpt21 Posts: 5,350
    Almost certainly a preamp would make a larger impact. Are you interested in tubes? Or want to keep it solid state?

    Parasound
    PS Audio
    Bel Canto
    Musical Fidelity
    NAD
    __________________________________________________
    2 Channel
    Turntable - VPI Scout 1.1/Ortofon 2M Blue
    Amplification - Parks Audio Budgie, Dared SL2000a, McCormack DNA 0.5 Deluxe
    Speakers - GoldenEar Triton 2
    __________________________________________________
    7.1 Home Theater
    Denon AVR-X3300W; Rotel RMB-1066; Polk CS350ls, LS90's, FXi3's, RC60i; SVS PC Ultra; BenQ HT2050; Elite Screens 120"
    __________________________________________________
    Man Cave
    Turntable - Pro-Ject 2.9 Wood/Grado Gold
    Integrated Amplifier - Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum II
    CD: Cambridge Audio
    Speakers - LSiM 703; SDA 2A; Epos Epic 2
    __________________________________________________
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 9,546
    Preamp all day long and twice on Sunday.
  • decal
    decal Posts: 3,161
    If you can't hear a difference, don't waste your money.
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 9,546
    Used Parasound P6 also a solid choice.
  • ZLTFUL
    ZLTFUL Posts: 5,472
    Hey @dr1978 sending you a PM with some thoughts.
    "Some people find it easier to be conceited rather than correct."

    "Unwad those panties and have a good time man. We're all here to help each other, no matter how it might appear." DSkip
  • dr1978
    dr1978 Posts: 378
    Thanks everyone for the quick replies. Confirms my thoughts about the most appropriate path being a preamp, but I still have that power amp itch.

    Hochpt - Yes, I would consider tubes for a preamp, but my thought has always been that I'd go that route down the road when I'm looking for something to experiment with.

    Clipdat - That is right in line with what I'm thinking. If I settle on a preamp that could be the one.

    Zltful - Thanks for the heads up, I'll be replying in a bit.
    Pro-ject 2 Experience SB, OPPO BDP-103, Marantz SR5011, Lounge LCR MKIII, McCormack DNA-HT5, Polk LSiM705, Polk LSiM706C, Polk LSiM702, SVS SB16-Ultra
  • hochpt21
    hochpt21 Posts: 5,350
    edited November 2020
    The power amp itch can be an ummm..powerful thing, but the one you have is actually a great amp.

    I would go tubes and don’t look back. If you have the budget for a 1k tube pre...that will be your biggest impact by far.
    __________________________________________________
    2 Channel
    Turntable - VPI Scout 1.1/Ortofon 2M Blue
    Amplification - Parks Audio Budgie, Dared SL2000a, McCormack DNA 0.5 Deluxe
    Speakers - GoldenEar Triton 2
    __________________________________________________
    7.1 Home Theater
    Denon AVR-X3300W; Rotel RMB-1066; Polk CS350ls, LS90's, FXi3's, RC60i; SVS PC Ultra; BenQ HT2050; Elite Screens 120"
    __________________________________________________
    Man Cave
    Turntable - Pro-Ject 2.9 Wood/Grado Gold
    Integrated Amplifier - Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum II
    CD: Cambridge Audio
    Speakers - LSiM 703; SDA 2A; Epos Epic 2
    __________________________________________________
  • invalid
    invalid Posts: 574
    hochpt21 wrote: »
    The power amp itch can be an ummm..powerful thing, but the one you have is actually a great amp.

    I would go tubes and don’t look back. If you have the budget for a 1k tube pre...that will be your biggest impact by far.

    Totally agree with this statement, tube preamps crush solid state unless you have a lot of money to spend.
  • DaveHo
    DaveHo Posts: 3,024
    @dr1978 , I have a silver Parasound P5 I'll be letting go of. PM if interested.
  • verb
    verb Posts: 9,809
    Pre amp! :)
    Basement: Polk SDA SRS, Cary SLP-05 Pre with ultimate upgrade,Enlightened Audio Designs CD Transport, Northstar Designs Excelsio DAC, Cambridge 851N streamer, Marantz SA-14 SACD, McIntosh MC300 Amp, Silnote Morpheus Ref2 Digital Cables, 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, Northstar Designs Intenso DAC, 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, Shunyata Hydra 8 Power Conditioner
    Living Room: Peachtree Nova Integrated, Cambridge CXN v2 Streamer, Rotel RCD-1072 CD player, Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner, Polk RT265 In Wall Speakers, Polk DSW Pro 660wi sub
    Garage: Cambridge Audio 640A Integrated Amp, Project Box-E BT Streamer, Polk Tsi200 Bookies, Douglas Speaker Cables, Shunyata Power Conditioner
  • audioluvr
    audioluvr Posts: 3,292
    I'd look seriously at a tube pre first. There are lots of tube preamps out there under $1,000 that would put to shame any solid state pre at the same price. Then speaker / interconnect cables.
    Cambridge Audio 851N Streamer/DAC
    Belles 21A Pre modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    B&K M200 Sonata monoblocks refreshed and upgraded
    Belles 350A Reference modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    Polk SDA 1C's modded
    Wireworld Silver Eclipse IC's and speaker cables


    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
  • marvda1
    marvda1 Posts: 4,318
    here's a rogue perseus magnum preamp with ht bypass for $995 over on audiocircle.
    https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=173250.msg1830547;topicseen#new
    Amplifiers: Norma IPA 140, MasterSound Compact 845, Ayre v6xe, Consonance Cyber 800
    Preamp: deHavilland Ultraverve 3
    Transport/Dac: L.K.S MH-DA004, Cayin Venus cd-100i, Musical Paradise mp-d2 mkI,
    Musical Paradise mp-d2 mkIII
    Speakers: Rosso Fiorentino Volterra II
    Speaker Cables: Organic Audio Organic Reference 2
    Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme
    Interconnects: Argento Organic Reference 2, Argento Organic 2, Gabriel Gold Reckoning
    Power Cables by: Argento Organic Reference, Cullen Cables, 6sons Audio, Swiss Cables

  • dr1978
    dr1978 Posts: 378
    Well.....I asked for advice and got a unanimous response on which direction to go, from a fine group of people at that, and...I do the exact opposite.

    I will soon be the owner of a McCormack HT-5 power amp. I don't doubt that I would see more immediate impact by adding a pre, but if I'm playing the long game, I think this purchase sets me up well for the future. I'm set on power for all five channels now and hopefully when I'm ready to make my next move I can up my budget for a nice tube pre.
    Pro-ject 2 Experience SB, OPPO BDP-103, Marantz SR5011, Lounge LCR MKIII, McCormack DNA-HT5, Polk LSiM705, Polk LSiM706C, Polk LSiM702, SVS SB16-Ultra
  • audioluvr
    audioluvr Posts: 3,292
    Hope you like it. You might want to keep the B&k for a while to make sure...
    Cambridge Audio 851N Streamer/DAC
    Belles 21A Pre modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    B&K M200 Sonata monoblocks refreshed and upgraded
    Belles 350A Reference modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    Polk SDA 1C's modded
    Wireworld Silver Eclipse IC's and speaker cables


    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
  • dr1978
    dr1978 Posts: 378
    Ha, don't worry, keeping the B&k would be par for the course.
    Pro-ject 2 Experience SB, OPPO BDP-103, Marantz SR5011, Lounge LCR MKIII, McCormack DNA-HT5, Polk LSiM705, Polk LSiM706C, Polk LSiM702, SVS SB16-Ultra
  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 27,315
    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."
    Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self Reliance

    B)

  • dromunds
    dromunds Posts: 9,278
    One of my favorite authors.
  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 27,315
    dromunds wrote: »
    One of my favorite authors.

    yeah, mine too -- you can probably tell his writings had a pretty profound impact on my worldview :#
  • joecoulson
    joecoulson Posts: 4,944
    invalid wrote: »
    hochpt21 wrote: »
    The power amp itch can be an ummm..powerful thing, but the one you have is actually a great amp.

    I would go tubes and don’t look back. If you have the budget for a 1k tube pre...that will be your biggest impact by far.

    Totally agree with this statement, tube preamps crush solid state unless you have a lot of money to spend.

    Depends on what style of music you listen to. Tubes don’t always sound best. Distortion can ruin certain music.
  • daboyz
    daboyz Posts: 5,150
    Damn nice Dared in the FM that would give you a taste of tubes. 🙂

  • invalid
    invalid Posts: 574


    Depends on what style of music you listen to. Tubes don’t always sound best. Distortion can ruin certain music. [/quote]

    My tube preamp sounds better on all types of music than my solid state preamp did.
  • dr1978
    dr1978 Posts: 378
    daboyz wrote: »
    Damn nice Dared in the FM that would give you a taste of tubes. 🙂

    Man I am completely tapped out at the moment
    Pro-ject 2 Experience SB, OPPO BDP-103, Marantz SR5011, Lounge LCR MKIII, McCormack DNA-HT5, Polk LSiM705, Polk LSiM706C, Polk LSiM702, SVS SB16-Ultra
  • dr1978
    dr1978 Posts: 378
    Well....the fantasy football gods were kind to me this year and I won my money league. Freed up enough funds to acquire a Belles 21A!

    I can't wait to try it out with both the B&K and McCormack. The new amp took some getting used to. I don't know what the terminology is...bright or forward or whatever...but it's definitely more in my face and at first it was a little off putting. But as my ears grew more accustomed to it, I started appreciating what I was hearing.
    Pro-ject 2 Experience SB, OPPO BDP-103, Marantz SR5011, Lounge LCR MKIII, McCormack DNA-HT5, Polk LSiM705, Polk LSiM706C, Polk LSiM702, SVS SB16-Ultra
  • audioluvr
    audioluvr Posts: 3,292
    Nice score! Congratulations!
    Cambridge Audio 851N Streamer/DAC
    Belles 21A Pre modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    B&K M200 Sonata monoblocks refreshed and upgraded
    Belles 350A Reference modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    Polk SDA 1C's modded
    Wireworld Silver Eclipse IC's and speaker cables


    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
  • marvda1
    marvda1 Posts: 4,318
    edited January 4
    @dr1978 make sure you use good quiet tubes in the belles.
    here's one you can try while it's cheap.
    https://upscaleaudio.com/collections/preamp-tubes/products/ge-12au7-6189w
    i bought a pair of radiotechnique 6189w when they were $60 ea. now they are $95 ea.
    Post edited by marvda1 on
    Amplifiers: Norma IPA 140, MasterSound Compact 845, Ayre v6xe, Consonance Cyber 800
    Preamp: deHavilland Ultraverve 3
    Transport/Dac: L.K.S MH-DA004, Cayin Venus cd-100i, Musical Paradise mp-d2 mkI,
    Musical Paradise mp-d2 mkIII
    Speakers: Rosso Fiorentino Volterra II
    Speaker Cables: Organic Audio Organic Reference 2
    Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme
    Interconnects: Argento Organic Reference 2, Argento Organic 2, Gabriel Gold Reckoning
    Power Cables by: Argento Organic Reference, Cullen Cables, 6sons Audio, Swiss Cables

  • pitdogg2
    pitdogg2 Posts: 18,518
    Lots of good quiet 12au7 tubes or equivalents are to be had. A lot of the organ tubes are dirt cheap and quiet as they've been screened by both tube manufacturers and organ companies very well.

  • dr1978
    dr1978 Posts: 378
    Thanks guys, I've got some work ahead of me.
    Pro-ject 2 Experience SB, OPPO BDP-103, Marantz SR5011, Lounge LCR MKIII, McCormack DNA-HT5, Polk LSiM705, Polk LSiM706C, Polk LSiM702, SVS SB16-Ultra
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