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post #1 of 34 Old 07-17-2019, 05:17 AM - Thread Starter
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budget/cheap pre-amp

I seem to have nuked any resemblance of a budget on a speaker upgrade and finding a "too good to pass up" deal on a power amplifier. Since my integrated hasnt sold im budget strapped for a pre-amp. Any recommendation for a unit under $500, but really more like 200-300?

Pairing to Revel M126be speakers and a Byston 4b st. No need for phono or digital input, but do need IR remote, trigger output and duel pre-outs(main amp and subwoofer/s).

System: Cambridge 851A, Revel M126be, SVS SB2000, Cambridge DACMAGIC 100, JVC XL-Z1050TN, Rega RP6, Vincent PHO-8. A bunch of monster power conditioning junk V: Samsung NU8000, Nvidia Shield TV
Cambridge amp for sale - post 950shipped

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post #2 of 34 Old 07-17-2019, 05:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Locoliberty View Post
I seem to have nuked any resemblance of a budget on a speaker upgrade and finding a "too good to pass up" deal on a power amplifier. Since my integrated hasnt sold im budget strapped for a pre-amp. Any recommendation for a unit under $500, but really more like 200-300?



Pairing to Revel M126be speakers and a Byston 4b st. No need for phono or digital input, but do need IR remote and trigger output.


Does your old integrated have pre outs?
(Probably not since you ask for other, but just in case)


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post #3 of 34 Old 07-17-2019, 05:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leeliemix View Post
Does your old integrated have pre outs?
(Probably not since you ask for other, but just in case)


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It does, but thats not ideal since it doesnt have trigger outputs or dual pre-outs. I guess I could use a RCA splitter in the short-term and disconnect power to its amplifiers for now...

System: Cambridge 851A, Revel M126be, SVS SB2000, Cambridge DACMAGIC 100, JVC XL-Z1050TN, Rega RP6, Vincent PHO-8. A bunch of monster power conditioning junk V: Samsung NU8000, Nvidia Shield TV
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post #4 of 34 Old 07-17-2019, 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Locoliberty View Post
It does, but thats not ideal since it doesnt have trigger outputs or dual pre-outs. I guess I could use a RCA splitter in the short-term and disconnect power to its amplifiers for now...


It seemed you only need something for short term or until you sell it so it might save you some money to avoid getting something temporary. You might also find something nice used for cheap.


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post #5 of 34 Old 07-18-2019, 07:20 AM
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https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F333214279865

I’d go with this preamp, high quality, remote, triggers, sub preout, and a good deal for what you get. Nothing new will meet your requirements that I know of.
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post #6 of 34 Old 07-18-2019, 08:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F333214279865

I’d go with this preamp, high quality, remote, triggers, sub preout, and a good deal for what you get. Nothing new will meet your requirements that I know of.
Always steered away from using a surround pre in a stereo setup. Am I just being fussy in that regard?

System: Cambridge 851A, Revel M126be, SVS SB2000, Cambridge DACMAGIC 100, JVC XL-Z1050TN, Rega RP6, Vincent PHO-8. A bunch of monster power conditioning junk V: Samsung NU8000, Nvidia Shield TV
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post #7 of 34 Old 07-18-2019, 08:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Locoliberty View Post
Always steered away from using a surround pre in a stereo setup. Am I just being fussy in that regard?


It’s got extra features, but you get so much more for your money. That has good internal DACs, plenty of inputs and outputs, a remote, trigger, and will handle whatever you need. Really can’t go wrong with the Anthem AVM series.
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post #8 of 34 Old 07-18-2019, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Locoliberty View Post
Always steered away from using a surround pre in a stereo setup. Am I just being fussy in that regard?


Wont be much sound without a powersupply from the linked one.

As to fussy, yes and no(but why shouldnt you be). Many think recievers/processors do a great job as 2ch pre. Personally i think it depends on each specific piece of equipment and your preferred sound. It might sound the same as what you are used to or it might not. I prefer my 2ch pre/dac PS audio GCD for 2 ch music over my marantz av8805. Would i have bought it if i got the av8805 first, probably not.


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post #9 of 34 Old 07-18-2019, 08:54 AM - Thread Starter
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I did find a emotiva USP-1 for 250 locally on USaudiomart. thoughts on those?

System: Cambridge 851A, Revel M126be, SVS SB2000, Cambridge DACMAGIC 100, JVC XL-Z1050TN, Rega RP6, Vincent PHO-8. A bunch of monster power conditioning junk V: Samsung NU8000, Nvidia Shield TV
Cambridge amp for sale - post 950shipped
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post #10 of 34 Old 07-18-2019, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leeliemix View Post
Wont be much sound without a powersupply from the linked one.

As to fussy, yes and no(but why shouldnt you be). Many think recievers/processors do a great job as 2ch pre. Personally i think it depends on each specific piece of equipment and your preferred sound. It might sound the same as what you are used to or it might not. I prefer my 2ch pre/dac PS audio GCD for 2 ch music over my marantz av8805. Would i have bought it if i got the av8805 first, probably not.


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I’d assume that means the power cable is not included, you can see the plug on the back.

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post #11 of 34 Old 07-18-2019, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
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I was confused about the power supply comment as well, since its internal to the unit.

System: Cambridge 851A, Revel M126be, SVS SB2000, Cambridge DACMAGIC 100, JVC XL-Z1050TN, Rega RP6, Vincent PHO-8. A bunch of monster power conditioning junk V: Samsung NU8000, Nvidia Shield TV
Cambridge amp for sale - post 950shipped
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post #12 of 34 Old 07-18-2019, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Locoliberty View Post
I did find a emotiva USP-1 for 250 locally on USaudiomart. thoughts on those?


Looks like no dac/digital inputs on it(?)


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post #13 of 34 Old 07-18-2019, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post
I’d assume that means the power cable is not included, you can see the plug on the back.


Might be what seller means but it would make it much more difficult to sell with that wording if its only a powercord missing.


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post #14 of 34 Old 07-18-2019, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Leeliemix View Post
Looks like no dac/digital inputs on it(?)
no need for DAC I have a external for my Cambridge, can just keep using that.

System: Cambridge 851A, Revel M126be, SVS SB2000, Cambridge DACMAGIC 100, JVC XL-Z1050TN, Rega RP6, Vincent PHO-8. A bunch of monster power conditioning junk V: Samsung NU8000, Nvidia Shield TV
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post #15 of 34 Old 07-18-2019, 08:53 PM
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This may not get you everything you are looking for, but it's certainly a cost-effective solution:

https://emotiva.com/collections/fact...renewed-pt-100
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post #16 of 34 Old 07-19-2019, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Locoliberty View Post
I did find a emotiva USP-1 for 250 locally on USaudiomart. thoughts on those?
That's a good preamp, though $250 might be a little high unless it's in exceptional condition. I used that (still have it) until I went with the XSP-1. It's better than double outputs, since it has a high/low crossover and a real sub output.
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post #17 of 34 Old 07-19-2019, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
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That's a good preamp, though $250 might be a little high unless it's in exceptional condition. I used that (still have it) until I went with the XSP-1. It's better than double outputs, since it has a high/low crossover and a real sub output.
How is the XSP-1? That is on my shortlist for when my integrated sells. Looks like its just about perfect for what I want, but that doesnt mean it performs.

System: Cambridge 851A, Revel M126be, SVS SB2000, Cambridge DACMAGIC 100, JVC XL-Z1050TN, Rega RP6, Vincent PHO-8. A bunch of monster power conditioning junk V: Samsung NU8000, Nvidia Shield TV
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post #18 of 34 Old 07-19-2019, 12:44 PM
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How is the XSP-1? That is on my shortlist for when my integrated sells. Looks like its just about perfect for what I want, but that doesnt mean it performs.
It's freaking awesome. I run music using it and an Emotiva DC-1 DAC, to an Emotiva XPA-2 amp and Thiel CS 3.6s. Very immersive.
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post #19 of 34 Old 07-19-2019, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
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ill be running my future preamp with a Bryston 4b-ST, Revel M126be(is it time to go home yet, they get delivered today) and SVS SB2000(maybe 2, soon)

System: Cambridge 851A, Revel M126be, SVS SB2000, Cambridge DACMAGIC 100, JVC XL-Z1050TN, Rega RP6, Vincent PHO-8. A bunch of monster power conditioning junk V: Samsung NU8000, Nvidia Shield TV
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post #20 of 34 Old 07-19-2019, 12:48 PM
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BTW, I do use the HT bypass feature, since it's part of a whole home theater system, which takes over for video sources. It really is the best of both worlds, since achieving that quality of two channel playback with surround electronics would be almost impossible, and extremely expensive at the minimum. I'm most interested is the best possible music playback.
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post #21 of 34 Old 07-19-2019, 02:38 PM
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If you simply want a Get-By Pre-Amp with minimal investment, then consider this FOSI -

Fosi Audio DAC Converter 24-bit/192kHz Optical/Coaxial/USB Digital-to-Analog Adapter Decoder & Headphone Amplifier & Mini Stereo Pre-Amplifier Q5 (Black) - $70 -


https://www.amazon.com/Fosi-Audio-Co...dp/B07G2NQYLX/

That could easily be re-purposed to a computer or some other less demanding location when the time comes.

If you want something still somewhat low cost, but a more worthy Pre-Amp, then it will not do better than the EMOTIVA -

Emotiva PT-100 Stereo Preamplifier/DAC/Tuner - $330 -


https://emotiva.com/collections/pre-...roducts/pt-100

I think above those two, the prices jump pretty substantially -

Rotel Black Stereo Preamplifier/DAC - RC-1572BK - $1099 -

https://www.abt.com/product/133967/R...-RC1572BK.html

How far do you want to take it, and how long does it need to last?

If the existing amp has Pre-Amp capabilities, that is a FREE solution until something better comes along.

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post #22 of 34 Old 07-19-2019, 05:34 PM
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Incidentally, the one liability of the USP-1 is that the gain is probably too high, and the volume control slope is too steep at the low end. So you tend to end up playing back with the volume set very low, which makes it extremely sensitive to changes. If you can lower the output of your DAC, I recommend doing that. I didn't have that option, so I used a 12dB in-line attenuater at the power amp input. Not ideal, I know, but it really helped. Since the XSP-1 has a digitally controlled volume, it's not an issue with it. Plus it seems to have lower gain.
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post #23 of 34 Old 07-20-2019, 05:11 AM
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At that price, I would take a look at Schiit. The Saga S looks like a great value at $299.
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post #24 of 34 Old 07-20-2019, 11:37 AM
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take a look at the SMSL SU8 Dac ( $249 ), I use it as my preamp with XLR out to Crown Amp, also has RCA out if you need that

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post #25 of 34 Old 07-20-2019, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by TEA FOR ONE View Post
At that price, I would take a look at Schiit. The Saga S looks like a great value at $299.
Better yet, closeout original Saga on their B stock page. $199 and is not a stopgap, unless the OP decides to go balanced in the future.
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post #26 of 34 Old 07-23-2019, 05:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Better yet, closeout original Saga on their B stock page. $199 and is not a stopgap, unless the OP decides to go balanced in the future.
As a stop gap the Saga would be wonderful, but I would like to have XLR outputs to the amp and would like to have 1-2 XLR inputs for source upgrades down the road.

that pre does look real nice though.

*if only someone would step up to buy my Cambridge I could avoid this all together.

System: Cambridge 851A, Revel M126be, SVS SB2000, Cambridge DACMAGIC 100, JVC XL-Z1050TN, Rega RP6, Vincent PHO-8. A bunch of monster power conditioning junk V: Samsung NU8000, Nvidia Shield TV
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post #27 of 34 Old 07-23-2019, 02:15 PM
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Have you looked at any of the Schiit preamps? Very affordable and reviews are always very good. I have a Schitt phono preamp that I think is magnificent.

https://www.schiit.com/products/saga-s
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post #28 of 34 Old 07-23-2019, 02:17 PM
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If we assume this is a temporary arrangement, how temporary is temporary? Are we talking months or years?

The Emotive USP-1 seems nice and has Bass Management built it, and there seem to be many of them for sale used. Certainly worth considering.

But the Emotiva PT-100 is well within your budget at $330 -

https://emotiva.com/collections/pre-...roducts/pt-100

The Schiit at $299 in nice, but you also have to ask what else you need the Pre-Amp to do?

The Emotiva PT-100 has MM/MC Phono, Coaxial, Optical, and USB Inputs, and can be adapted for Bluetooth, plus it has an FM Tuner.

Emotiva BTM-1 Bluetooth Module - $49 -

https://emotiva.com/collections/acce...products/btm-1
The Schiit is certainly first rate but it is analog only -

Schiit Sega-S Pre-Amp - $299 -


https://www.schiit.com/products/saga-s

No Tone Control, no Tuner, no DAC, no Phono. Tough if it matters to you, Schiit does make a Tone Control (small equalizer) for $150 -

Schiit Loki Tone Control - $149 -

https://www.schiit.com/products/loki

And Schiit does make very good DACs -

Schiit Modi DAC - $99 -

https://www.schiit.com/products/modi-1

And they make very good Phono Stages -

Schiit Mani Phono Pre-Amp - $130 -

https://www.schiit.com/products/mani

Add all those extras together and it is getting pretty expensive. Still, if my math is right, the total of all those is about $680.

$300 = Saga-S Pre-Amp
$150 = Loki Tone Controls
$100 = Modi DAC
$130 = Mani Phono Pre-Amp
-------------------------------------
$680 = Total

I suspect that is a little more than a Get-By Pre-Amp, and really only $180 over your max budget. A lot of boxes though.

But best value in a NEW full featured quality Pre-Amp has to be the Emotiva PT-100 which is dead on your stated budget.

Steve/bluewizard

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post #29 of 34 Old 07-23-2019, 02:59 PM
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It appears your quest has led you to this:



Here it is! Enjoy!

Wait, isn't there supposed to be pot of gold in there, somewhere? So disappointing, I guess the search continues.

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post #30 of 34 Old 07-24-2019, 05:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluewizard View Post
If we assume this is a temporary arrangement, how temporary is temporary? Are we talking months or years?
Temporary is until someone buys my integrated and I can buy something worthy of my "new" Bryston 4b-ST

System: Cambridge 851A, Revel M126be, SVS SB2000, Cambridge DACMAGIC 100, JVC XL-Z1050TN, Rega RP6, Vincent PHO-8. A bunch of monster power conditioning junk V: Samsung NU8000, Nvidia Shield TV
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