Need an audiophile quality preamp that won't break the bank.

kevinp

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Thread Starter
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May 4, 2020
Messages
32
Location
Orange County California
More  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
Onkyo TX-NZ50
Main Amp
Onkyo TX-NZ50
Additional Amp
Mark Levinson ML-3
Other Amp
2 x Behringer NX6000D
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Samsung UBD-K8500, Sony
Front Speakers
M&K S150-THX,
Center Channel Speaker
M&K S150-THX
Surround Speakers
M&K S-100B
Front Height Speakers
Klipsch CST-5800-C II
Subwoofers
2 x GSG BTS 21" with miniDSP 2x4 HD
Other Speakers or Equipment
Apogee Duetta II, Klipsch Heresy, Jamo ART
Video Display Device
Pioneer Pro-FPJ1
Screen
120" Draper Premier M1300
Streaming Equipment
Apple TV
Other Equipment
Hisense 100U8K flat panel television
I have a simple 2 channel setup that I'm currently running through an Onkyo TX-NR1030 AVR and would like to update to a nice preamp that I can connect a CD transport to and maybe a streamer in the future. The speakers/amp combination I'm using are incredibly reveling and really deserve a good preamp to get the most from them. I'm thinking of trying something from Schitt but any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks!
 

Tim Hector

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Jul 5, 2018
Messages
44
Location
St. Charles Missouri
More  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
SST Ambrosia and Accuphase Clone
Main Amp
Sumo Nine (Rebuilt with outstanding parts)
Additional Amp
SST AMBROSIA Preamp
Other Amp
DIY Jeff Rowland 535.... found original boards
Computer Audio
Dedicated laptop optimized for music
DAC
Denafrips Enyo
Front Speakers
DIY - 2 Channel
Subwoofers
Velodyne (when used), Klipsch
Other Speakers or Equipment
DIY
Streaming Subscriptions
DIY DAC, ES9018, ES9038Q2M, AD1862 all Comp Audio
Satellite System
Living room: Marantz SR19 Receiver / SLS Q line mtm fronts, polk center channel, JBL Subwoofer
Nothing wrong with Schiit. If the Kara is affordable, I'd head that way, hard to beat for $699. If you need a bit less expensive, there are some decent used pre's on usaudiomart for $300 to $400 and there are some decent chinese pre's on Ali Express. If you want me to take a look, let me know.
 

kevinp

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Staff member
Thread Starter
Joined
May 4, 2020
Messages
32
Location
Orange County California
More  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
Onkyo TX-NZ50
Main Amp
Onkyo TX-NZ50
Additional Amp
Mark Levinson ML-3
Other Amp
2 x Behringer NX6000D
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Samsung UBD-K8500, Sony
Front Speakers
M&K S150-THX,
Center Channel Speaker
M&K S150-THX
Surround Speakers
M&K S-100B
Front Height Speakers
Klipsch CST-5800-C II
Subwoofers
2 x GSG BTS 21" with miniDSP 2x4 HD
Other Speakers or Equipment
Apogee Duetta II, Klipsch Heresy, Jamo ART
Video Display Device
Pioneer Pro-FPJ1
Screen
120" Draper Premier M1300
Streaming Equipment
Apple TV
Other Equipment
Hisense 100U8K flat panel television
Thanks Tim. The Schiit Kara and Freya (used) seem like good possibilities but I may look for something with a sub out. Do you have any thoughts on the Parasound P5/6 or the Parasound 200 pre?
 
Last edited:

Tim Hector

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 5, 2018
Messages
44
Location
St. Charles Missouri
More  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
SST Ambrosia and Accuphase Clone
Main Amp
Sumo Nine (Rebuilt with outstanding parts)
Additional Amp
SST AMBROSIA Preamp
Other Amp
DIY Jeff Rowland 535.... found original boards
Computer Audio
Dedicated laptop optimized for music
DAC
Denafrips Enyo
Front Speakers
DIY - 2 Channel
Subwoofers
Velodyne (when used), Klipsch
Other Speakers or Equipment
DIY
Streaming Subscriptions
DIY DAC, ES9018, ES9038Q2M, AD1862 all Comp Audio
Satellite System
Living room: Marantz SR19 Receiver / SLS Q line mtm fronts, polk center channel, JBL Subwoofer
The Kara has 2 sets of single ended outputs and 1 set of balanced. These can all run a sub. Unless maybe you also want a crossover built in the preamp. Any subwoofer with and amplifier built in today will have crossover built in. But either way. I find the P6 to be slightly better than the P5. I have not heard a New Classic 200, but I have been told by 1 person that it reminded them of the P5, but they still liked it better than the P5. He thought the P5 was a bit lackluster. Take that with a grain of salt.
But you do get a decent dac and a relatively neutral pre with a Dac in both of those.
I did see a Freya S out there for $375.
I like what Schiit has done with the Kara. Runs high rail voltage, good parts and good layout. I suspect that it will be quite good. There is always Vintage.... What bothers me with vintage... I just went looking around and the proven pre's are getting stupid money. I'll keep my eye out and reply if I see anything. I had a chinese knockoff of an accuphase and it was really pretty good. That is why I mentioned the chinese stuff.There is a Kara on usaudiomart.They are asking $600, but you can always make an offer And I hear that the Topping Pre90 pre is actually pretty good also.
 

kevinp

Moderator
Staff member
Thread Starter
Joined
May 4, 2020
Messages
32
Location
Orange County California
More  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
Onkyo TX-NZ50
Main Amp
Onkyo TX-NZ50
Additional Amp
Mark Levinson ML-3
Other Amp
2 x Behringer NX6000D
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Samsung UBD-K8500, Sony
Front Speakers
M&K S150-THX,
Center Channel Speaker
M&K S150-THX
Surround Speakers
M&K S-100B
Front Height Speakers
Klipsch CST-5800-C II
Subwoofers
2 x GSG BTS 21" with miniDSP 2x4 HD
Other Speakers or Equipment
Apogee Duetta II, Klipsch Heresy, Jamo ART
Video Display Device
Pioneer Pro-FPJ1
Screen
120" Draper Premier M1300
Streaming Equipment
Apple TV
Other Equipment
Hisense 100U8K flat panel television
Your input is appreciated!
 

JStewart

Senior AV Addict
Supporter
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
2,139
Location
Central FL
MiniDSP SHD seems to check all the boxes mentioned thus far.

Here’s a review:

That review sample belongs to @Sonnie, iirc, and he mentioned in another thread he may be selling it soon.
 

ddude003

AV Addict
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Aug 13, 2017
Messages
1,497
Location
Somewhere Northeast of Kansas City Missouri
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PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium TubePre (2 channel+sub)
Main Amp
McIntosh MC152 SS Amp (2 channel)
Additional Amp
Yamaha RX-A850 Pro (the other 5 channels lol)
Computer Audio
MacBook Pro, Custom i7 7700k De-lid 2xAsus1080ti GFX, Audirvana Studio, Hang Loose Convolver, Tone Projects Michelangelo, Pulsar Massive & 8200, LiquidSonics, SoX
DAC
Chord Electronics Ltd. Qutest
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Sony UBP-X700 /M Ultra HD 4K HDR & PS5
Front Speakers
Martin Logan ElectroMotion ESL
Center Channel Speaker
Martin Logan Motion C2
Surround Speakers
Martin Logan Motion 4
Surround Back Speakers
Martin Logan Motion 4 (yes, another set of these)
Subwoofers
Martin Logan Dynamo 700
Other Speakers or Equipment
Cifte 12AU7 NOS & Genalex Gold Lion Tubes in Pre
Video Display Device
Samsung The Premiere LSP7T UST Laser Projector
Screen
Elite Screens Aeon CLR3 0.8 Gain 103-inch
Remote Control
PrimaLuna, Lumin iApp, Samsung & Yamaha
Streaming Equipment
Netgear Nighthawk S8000 Streaming Switch, Lumin U1 Mini Streamer Transport
Streaming Subscriptions
QoBuz Studio Premier, Amazon Prime & Netflix
Other Equipment
ThrowRug, SaddleBlankets, WideBand & Bass Traps...
I would say that a good line stage preamp is the heart of a separates stereo system... You don't qualify what "won't break the bank" ballpark is... And your requirements seem pretty vague to me... Solid state, tube or hybrid?

You might look on https://www.audiogon.com/listings?category=preamplifiers to see if anything strikes your fancy...
 

kevinp

Moderator
Staff member
Thread Starter
Joined
May 4, 2020
Messages
32
Location
Orange County California
More  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
Onkyo TX-NZ50
Main Amp
Onkyo TX-NZ50
Additional Amp
Mark Levinson ML-3
Other Amp
2 x Behringer NX6000D
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Samsung UBD-K8500, Sony
Front Speakers
M&K S150-THX,
Center Channel Speaker
M&K S150-THX
Surround Speakers
M&K S-100B
Front Height Speakers
Klipsch CST-5800-C II
Subwoofers
2 x GSG BTS 21" with miniDSP 2x4 HD
Other Speakers or Equipment
Apogee Duetta II, Klipsch Heresy, Jamo ART
Video Display Device
Pioneer Pro-FPJ1
Screen
120" Draper Premier M1300
Streaming Equipment
Apple TV
Other Equipment
Hisense 100U8K flat panel television
I would say that a good line stage preamp is the heart of a separates stereo system... You don't qualify what "won't break the bank" ballpark is... And your requirements seem pretty vague to me... Solid state, tube or hybrid?

You might look on https://www.audiogon.com/listings?category=preamplifiers to see if anything strikes your fancy...
I just pulled my old 2 channel system out of storage and am starting to put together a more modern system. The old system consisted of a Levinson ML-7 preamp (no longer have this), a Levinson ML-3 amplifier and Apogee Duetta 2 ribbon speakers. I'm looking for something under $2k to replace the ML-7. The amp and speakers have always worked well with solid state equipment so that's what I'm thinking. The speakers are very reveling so I need something quiet with a good SNR. I may replace the amp and speakers in the future so I'm looking for something flexible. I've used passive subs in the past so I'd like a unit with a sub-out and crossover if possible.
 

Grayson Dere

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Integra DTR 7.8
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Class D Audio: SDS-470CS
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Shellbrook Audio Hybrid Head headphone amp
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Sony UBP-X700
Front Speakers
Vandersteen Model 2
Subwoofers
SVS PB-2000
Other Speakers or Equipment
Grado SR 325is headphones
Video Display Device
JVC DLA-X75
Screen
Elite Screen 120"
Streaming Subscriptions
Origin Live Aurora MKIII turntable

Markone

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Mar 11, 2024
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Custom, Class A with stepped attenuators, balanced
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Hypex Nilai500 monoblocks
Computer Audio
Custom PC, liniar PS, running Jriver MC31
DAC
Denafrips Pontas II 12th + CA Azue 851
Front Speakers
Custom Scanspeak revolator + Seas milenium tweater
Subwoofers
need to build one!
I can't think of any two channel pre amps with a sub out, on AV amps, yes. However many sub woofers have the ability to connect to take an 'high level' input from your speakers so its not such a problem if you have an amp with only one set of out puts. Re the Topping pre 90, its ridiculously good for the money. I found it hard to take seriously, before I listed to it! If you can put aside any pre conceptions about what a bit of good hi fi gear should look like (I found it hard at first) then there's some cracking kit out there that's embarising many of the established manufacuters.
 

kevinp

Moderator
Staff member
Thread Starter
Joined
May 4, 2020
Messages
32
Location
Orange County California
More  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
Onkyo TX-NZ50
Main Amp
Onkyo TX-NZ50
Additional Amp
Mark Levinson ML-3
Other Amp
2 x Behringer NX6000D
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Samsung UBD-K8500, Sony
Front Speakers
M&K S150-THX,
Center Channel Speaker
M&K S150-THX
Surround Speakers
M&K S-100B
Front Height Speakers
Klipsch CST-5800-C II
Subwoofers
2 x GSG BTS 21" with miniDSP 2x4 HD
Other Speakers or Equipment
Apogee Duetta II, Klipsch Heresy, Jamo ART
Video Display Device
Pioneer Pro-FPJ1
Screen
120" Draper Premier M1300
Streaming Equipment
Apple TV
Other Equipment
Hisense 100U8K flat panel television
Finally decided on a unit that met my needs. The Eversolo DMP-A6 combines a user-friendly streamer that supports my main music library (Apple Music), a very nice DAC and enough pre-amp connections to connect a CD/DVD transport. I've been listening to it using a Mark Levinson 200 watt/channel amplified for the last week or so and I'm really pleased with the performance so far. Thank you all for your advice and guidance in my search.
 

Tim Hector

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 5, 2018
Messages
44
Location
St. Charles Missouri
More  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
SST Ambrosia and Accuphase Clone
Main Amp
Sumo Nine (Rebuilt with outstanding parts)
Additional Amp
SST AMBROSIA Preamp
Other Amp
DIY Jeff Rowland 535.... found original boards
Computer Audio
Dedicated laptop optimized for music
DAC
Denafrips Enyo
Front Speakers
DIY - 2 Channel
Subwoofers
Velodyne (when used), Klipsch
Other Speakers or Equipment
DIY
Streaming Subscriptions
DIY DAC, ES9018, ES9038Q2M, AD1862 all Comp Audio
Satellite System
Living room: Marantz SR19 Receiver / SLS Q line mtm fronts, polk center channel, JBL Subwoofer
Congrats. A buddy uses this as a streamer and said it does a very good job.
 

NBPK402

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San Miguel de Allende Mexico
I have a Denafrips Athena preamp...excellent sounding for a very reasonable price, and the build quality is superb! It is a active no gain preamp and fully balanced. The only thing I can is you MUST have efficient speakers or high gain amps...otherwise you might not be happy if you like to listen loud.
 

kevinp

Moderator
Staff member
Thread Starter
Joined
May 4, 2020
Messages
32
Location
Orange County California
More  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
Onkyo TX-NZ50
Main Amp
Onkyo TX-NZ50
Additional Amp
Mark Levinson ML-3
Other Amp
2 x Behringer NX6000D
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Samsung UBD-K8500, Sony
Front Speakers
M&K S150-THX,
Center Channel Speaker
M&K S150-THX
Surround Speakers
M&K S-100B
Front Height Speakers
Klipsch CST-5800-C II
Subwoofers
2 x GSG BTS 21" with miniDSP 2x4 HD
Other Speakers or Equipment
Apogee Duetta II, Klipsch Heresy, Jamo ART
Video Display Device
Pioneer Pro-FPJ1
Screen
120" Draper Premier M1300
Streaming Equipment
Apple TV
Other Equipment
Hisense 100U8K flat panel television
I’ve read good things about Denafrips products. I’m a value buyer these days so I appreciate good value for the money spent.
 

Tim Hector

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 5, 2018
Messages
44
Location
St. Charles Missouri
More  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
SST Ambrosia and Accuphase Clone
Main Amp
Sumo Nine (Rebuilt with outstanding parts)
Additional Amp
SST AMBROSIA Preamp
Other Amp
DIY Jeff Rowland 535.... found original boards
Computer Audio
Dedicated laptop optimized for music
DAC
Denafrips Enyo
Front Speakers
DIY - 2 Channel
Subwoofers
Velodyne (when used), Klipsch
Other Speakers or Equipment
DIY
Streaming Subscriptions
DIY DAC, ES9018, ES9038Q2M, AD1862 all Comp Audio
Satellite System
Living room: Marantz SR19 Receiver / SLS Q line mtm fronts, polk center channel, JBL Subwoofer
I have Denafrips little Enyo DAC. Great value
 
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