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  1. #1
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Jan 2004

    Choosing a preamp (the finishing touches)...

    After months of auditioning component after component after componenet after...
    I am nearly done specifying my system. The most difficult part has been balancing my two-channel audiophile tendencies in a 5.1 system.

    So here is what's been decided on:
    Magnepan 1.6 mains
    Magnapan MC1 center
    Magnepan Home Theater Surrounds
    Conrad Johnson Premiere 140 amp (140x2 tube to drive mains)
    B&K 3-channel amp (125x3 SS to center & surrounds)

    The sub will come later, but right now my concern is finding a preamp/processor. At this point in the process it would be difficult to audition the whole system without taking the preamp home for a demo which I'll probably end up doing, so I'm looking to you guys (once again) for advice. Is there such a thing as a pre/pro that does two-channel as well as some of the top two-channel preamps? What should I consider? Thanks again for the help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    St. Louis, MO, USA
    Going off your chosen equipment I'd say you like a more laid back or warm sound. There is definitely some good pre/pro out there. Going from budget to best, the Rotel RSP 1066 at around $1,500. They have a higher priced one but for that money there is better. Classe' would be an excellent choice, I think it is in the $3k range. Their pre/pro is without video switching. I use the Primare 31.7 which is a very good preamp but is soon to be phased out to a newer model. The 31.7 was about $4k. I don't know what the new one would cost. There's Krell and other high end pre/pro's but to mesh with your system try the Classe'. The Anthem pre/pro at about $3k is good too and may be a good match. Brands like Krell, Primare, Arcam make great pre/pro but are more dynamic and forward, I don't know how that would work with your system. B&K makes a pre/pro but I'm not familiar with their sound. I actually have some concerns about using tube and ss mixed in a HT system. I also think with Magnapan you will find a sub necessary fairly soon. I would recommend Velodyne SPL or better or a REL. No one around here carries Conrad Johnson but I've always wanted to hear their stuff. One other thing that came to mind, I hope you have a lot of space in your listening room if you are using all Magnapans. They don't like to be close to walls.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Glad somebody out there's alive. You're right, I am looking for a little warmer of a sound. I heard the C-J Premier 140 on a pair of electrostats and was awestricken. Since, I've auditioned other tube amps including some from Rogue Audio and Acoustic Research with Maggies. I wasn't nearly as impressed as when I heard the C-J, but then again, the amps I was auditioning were about half the price.

    I was really skeptical about matching SS with tube, but after consulting some audio specialists and people on this forum, my skepticism was surpressed. The reason for SS for the surround & center channels is for budget reasons, and B&K because I found they're amps produce a warmer sound, something to match the C-J.

    As for the pre/pro, I keep hearing rave reviews about the Anthem AVM-20 but they seem to be hard to come by. I still have yet to look into the others mentioned. Just wanted to get a sense as to what's out there and solicit some recommendations.

    I just picked up a pair of used 1.6's and am very happy with my purchase. Even in my auditioning though, I felt they could use some support with a sub. And since I'm setting up a 5.1 system, I fully intend to have one. The room I'll be using is a fair sized room; 15'x20'. My only concern is my cement walls may not be acoustically fit, if you will, for a listening room.

    Thanks for the suggestions. If you get the chance, listen to some of C-J's tube equipment. Musical excellence.

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