What features would you like to see in a multichannel analog preamp? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 01-31-2012, 01:51 PM - Thread Starter
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There are a variety of analog multichannel preamps that were on the market at some point, or are currently on the market.

For example:
  • 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.

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post #2 of 3 Old 01-31-2012, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimshowalter View Post

There are a variety of analog multichannel preamps that were on the market at some point, or are currently on the market.

For example:
  • 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.

A interesting feature would be ability to configure multi trim level setting, even for the same input. For example, if I have a universal player, I may want different levels of LFE gain depending on what disc I am spinning, because SACD and DVD-A and BR have different levels of bass on the disc. The Theta Casablanca III with Six Shooter allows you to do this.

Other nice feature is on the fly balance and trim level changes that do not change the permanent setting. For example, on some movies I want to crank up the center channel just for that movie. The amp should then default back to the programmed settings upon switching on/off.
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post #3 of 3 Old 01-31-2012, 02:43 PM
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Another interesting feature would be a very high grade 2 channel input. Most folks are more demanding of their 2 channel than multi channel amp. Many (inlcuding me) end up with a high grade 2 channel preamp with HT bypass. Come to think of it, just making the L/R mains on a MCH input higher grade than the other channels would do the trick.
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