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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all! I'm looking to buy a preamp at $2000 or under, street price or used. What I'm looking for is the following:


1) balanced inputs/outputs

2) silver finish

3) very little to no noise at high volume levels, even when you're close to the speakers

4) is usable with a remote control

5) volume control allows for small interval changes in volume level


I'm just looking for opinions, suggestions, advice, etc. Eventually I'll narrow it down to a couple choices and go audition them. Current preamps on my possible list are the Classe CP-35 & CP-47.5, Rotel RC-1090, NAD S100, and Bryston BP20 & BP25. Thanks in advance for any thoughts you have!
 

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Go to Audiogon and look for a older Audio Research pre amp. I got my LS5 MKll for $1600, it fills all of your criteria. Silver, all balanced inputs and outputs, low noise, remote, 2 choices of volume control. The LS5 MKll used to be their best linestage, other than the Reference models and rarely comes up for sale but, there are always many AR models to choose from on Audiogon due to the popularity of Audio Research pre amps.

I would always opt to buy used when it comes to pre amps and amps. You can find great products that cost twice your budget when new but, are affordable when used. And pre amps and amps sound better when well broken in and not likely to wear out in your lifetime.
 

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I have the older version of this preamp by Legacy Audio. They have told me that the only changes have been cosmetic. Someone posted that Coda make the electronic products for Legacy Audio.


I tested my preamp against a very good local brand preamp (ME) and found no difference sonically.
 

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I have the Bryston BP25 and am very happy with its performance. It is built like a tank(as all Bryston products are), has 2 balanced ins and 1 balanced out.


I have seen some very respectable prices on e-bay and Audiogon, but it may be hard to find anything but black.


Best of luck.
 

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Another one worth a listen is the Adcom GFP-750. While it is hard for me to think of Adcom as a high-end company, they hit a home run with this preamp. Very quiet, very well made. When I first heard it, I couldn't believe how clean it was. Later, I read that Stereophile put it in their Class A recommended list. Their review can be found here:
http://www.stereophile.com/showarchives.cgi?133


Not recommended for anyone looking to add warmth to their system. It is very neutral (and not in the least bit harsh ... a trait that is associated with some other Adcom products).


It does have balanced inputs & outputs.


I've seen them going for around $700 used. Even at full list, it is a bargain.


Tom B.
 

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OK, here is another option ... but it will involves a little more dough:

( may involve scrounging for extra change under the couch or car seat )


$3000 -> a used Jeff Rowland Concentra integrated amp


You will get a great 2-channel pre, a great 2x100 amp ( maybe better than what your using now ? ) , balanced in & out, features up the wazoo, great little plain remote, and the best looks + fit & finnish in all of audio. You will come home from work every day and marvel at that gleaming Rowland in your equipment rack, and smile even more when you turn it on. Here are some photos of JRDG gear:
http://www.jeffrowland.com/products.htm
http://www.americansound.com/Jeff_Rowland.htm

Can you tell I want one for myself ?


Another great pre is a Sim Audio Moon P-5. Used, it will be slightly over budget and is available in silver, though I think it looks much better in black. http://www.simaudio.com/moonp5.htm


- Andy
 

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I'll second the Sim Audio Moon P-5, it is a very good Pre-amp.


I've heard a whole bunch of different high end 2 channel audio systems and by far my favorite company is YBA. They are a french company that is very highly reguarded in the high-end electronics. I don't know the website off the top of my head, but i'm sure you could do a search for it. In your price range their YBA 3 Pre-amp retails for exactly $2000.


Good Luck,

-Brandon
 

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With you list of desired features, an Audio Research preamp (LS16 or possibly 25MKII) is probably what you want. The Cary 2002 also is fully balanced, remote control--but only is available in black.


FWIW, I owned a Rowland Concentra II for awhile....not my cup of tea, but a fine looking machine. I also thought the power (150x2 in Mk II version) was overrated. My Cary tube pre/amp seemed to be louder, and overall better sounding.


If I was looking at any preamp now (eliminating your balanced features, etc.) I would pick up a used Lamm LL2 off agon for 2100. Don't think much is better, especially at that price.


KeithR
 

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Don't know much about this one, but I was browsing the clearance rack at www.audioadvisor.com and ran across a Marsh P2000B, silver, balanced preamp w/remote. They have a demo with factory warranty for $1195.


And they have a Perreaux SM6P balanced preamp w/remote demo for $1199.


Tom B.
 

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I am also in a similar situation, except that I'd like to integrate the 2-ch with my home theater set-up. For this reason, I was wondering if any of the pre-amps suggested above has a HT bypass or passthru when hooked up to an a/v receiver? I think I read that Rogue Audio pre-amps have this feature, but I'm hoping someone could clarify. How important is it having this HT bypass mode for a pre-amp?


Thanks,


lw
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the suggestions everyone! Keep them coming! I think I've narrowed it down to three, but still going to keep looking.
 

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Spectral DMC-12. Aerospace build quality. You'll probably never have to replace the switches and controls, a problem on many other so-called high end preamps. I'd also suggest looking into used Conrad Johnson gear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Anyone have experience with the Classe CP-35 or CP-47.5? I'm wondering how quiet these units are, how neutral they are, and how good their volume control is? Thanks for any input anyone can provide!


Tom:

I've read some negative comments about the Adcom GFP-750's remote control, and its volume control sticking. Any comments on this? This is definitely one of the final candidates right now, though it would be up for a nice, new paint job. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Ollie W. Holmes
Spectral DMC-12. Aerospace build quality. You'll probably never have to replace the switches and controls, a problem on many other so-called high end preamps.
Any idea on prices on the DMC-12, 20, 30, or the upcoming 15? Also, are any of these units controllable by remote, besides the DMC-30? Thanks for the info Ollie!
 

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You should also be able to get a Sonic Frontiers Line 2 SE... a very nice preamp for the money...


M.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Sa-dono
Any idea on prices on the DMC-12, 20, 30, or the upcoming 15? Also, are any of these units controllable by remote, besides the DMC-30?
The DMC-10 and 12 are the only Spectral preamps that typically sell for under $2K used. Check www.audiogon.com for pricing on the higher end models. The higher up you go, the more difficult it is to match the pre with an amp.


There are a number of Conrad Johnson preamps that sell for under $2K brand new. You might research these as well.
 

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Sa-dono


Sorry, I'm not familiar with the remote volume problem with the Adcom. I wonder how much replacement remotes are? (Assuming the problem is in the remote). As it is well under $2000, if the remotes aren't too expensive, or if it can be controlled via an inexpensive universal remote, then I wouldn't consider this too much of a problem. I own a $29 Radio Shack remote that can learn commands from other remotes. I'd probably use it and put the Adcom remote in a drawer.


Tom B.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by lpw
How important is it having this HT bypass mode for a pre-amp?
IMO, not at all. It makes it a TINY bit more convenient when integrating the pre in with the HT system by letting you forget about the pre volume control. I just remember the pre volume I used to calibrate my HT system and always set to that after switching to the HT source.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Tom_Bombadil
Sa-dono


Sorry, I'm not familiar with the remote volume problem with the Adcom. I wonder how much replacement remotes are? (Assuming the problem is in the remote). As it is well under $2000, if the remotes aren't too expensive, or if it can be controlled via an inexpensive universal remote, then I wouldn't consider this too much of a problem. I own a $29 Radio Shack remote that can learn commands from other remotes. I'd probably use it and put the Adcom remote in a drawer.


Tom B.
I would definitely use a different remote. However, the problem from what I'm reading is that the volume control sticks while using the remote. In other words, you can not control the volume as accurately with the remote. Any experience with this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
"Calling Tom Bombadil..... Calling Tom Bombadil.... Your presence is requested at thread #..."


Bump :)
 
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