There are a variety of analog multichannel preamps that were on the market at some point, or are currently on the market.
- Audio Research MP1
- Parasound P7
- EMM Labs Switchman-2
- Conrad-Johnson MET1 (tube, discontinued?)
- McCormack MAP-1 (discontinued?)
- Bel Canto pre6 (discontinued)
- McIntosh C45 (discontinued)
- Sony TA-P9000ES (discontinued)
Everything available either lacks input flexibility (not enough inputs, not balanced, etc.), and/or has unwanted complexity ("ambience retrieval mode", etc.), and/or is discontinued, and/or costs a fortune.
I have a Frankensteinian kludge built from two Zektors, a Sony TA-P9000ES, a bunch of cables, and three Y adapters.
I'm so worried about something going wrong with our current preamp, I bought three of them on audiogon.
What I want is:
- Purely analog (other than remote) 7.1 preamp. Eight straight wires with gain (actually 11 wires, as discussed below).
- Ultra-low-noise, ultra-low-distortion, ultra-low crosstalk, etc. No detectable hiss or hum even at high volume.
- Frequency response needs to cover range of SACD (20 Hz - 50 kHz). It also needs to cover the lowest note on a pipe organ (16 Hz) with a bit to spare. So something like 10 Hz - 50 kHz.
- Inputs: MC cartridge, MM cartridge, CD (two), DVD/HD-DVD/Blu-ray (three), bypass for external pre-pro (two), tape loop (one). DVD/HD-DVD/Blu-ray input gangs also need two channel, because many 5.1 and 7.1 sources have separate stereo out.
- Support for balanced and unbalanced inputs in any combination in any bank of inputs.
- Outputs: 7.1, plus extra front left and right so a pair of subwoofers can be used to extend range of front speakers without having to use a Y adapter, plus an extra LFE output so a pair of subwoofers can be used without having to use a Y adapter. (Thus 11 outputs.) All outputs have balanced and unbalanced.
- Per-channel and ganged volume adjustment. Left and right balance controls for left and right front, left and right side surround, and left and right rear surround.
- Simple configuration and operation.
- Remote at least supports on/off, ganged volume up/down, and mute/unmute.
- No more than 19" wide and 21" deep. Height can be up to 6".
- International power supply (internal or external is fine).
I'm wondering what features others would like to see in a pure-analog multichannel preamp. Anyone with a good multichannel analog source (for example, an Oppo BD-95) needs some solution to this problem.