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  1. #1
    Forum Regular phileserver39's Avatar
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    I've got up to $600 for a preamp AR, what sayeth thee?

    Hey all,

    Still building my system to reach some irrational, unattainable, pie-in-the-sky dream...... However I still want the best bang for my buck.

    I currently am alternating between my Audio Experience Symphonies tube unit and my NAD 3150 solid state unit as a preamp. I was hoping that I could do better with a $600 spend (I can add another $50 for shipping). I can go tube or ss. I rather like the tube sound (better imaging, rhythm and realism) of my AE Symphonies unit but also like the better bass response, detail and transparency of my NAD unit. Oh, the decisions!

    However, I am worried that I will end up with somebody else's problem by limiting myself on used components through EBAY, etc.

    I am looking to pull the trigger this Friday should that play in any way with your suggestions.

    Thanks for your valuable input and expertise,

    Best,

    J
    The round mound of rebound sound is profound and bound to pound the ground. OK, I got nuthin.....

  2. #2
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phileserver39
    Hey all,

    Still building my system to reach some irrational, unattainable, pie-in-the-sky dream...... However I still want the best bang for my buck.

    I currently am alternating between my Audio Experience Symphonies tube unit and my NAD 3150 solid state unit as a preamp. I was hoping that I could do better with a $600 spend (I can add another $50 for shipping). I can go tube or ss. I rather like the tube sound (better imaging, rhythm and realism) of my AE Symphonies unit but also like the better bass response, detail and transparency of my NAD unit. Oh, the decisions!

    However, I am worried that I will end up with somebody else's problem by limiting myself on used components through EBAY, etc.

    I am looking to pull the trigger this Friday should that play in any way with your suggestions.

    Thanks for your valuable input and expertise,

    Best,

    J
    Check out Audiogon for used gear: see here.

    Some decent choices to be found there. For instance you could probably do a lot worse than this Rotel RC 1070, here.

    Or here's what might be a really nice Belles Soloist 3, here.

    Last edited by Feanor; 02-23-2011 at 03:51 AM.

  3. #3
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    This Canadian Asian builds some good stuff.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/DavidyeeAudio-tu...item45f821b50d

  4. #4
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    I 2nd the Audiogon search, I've seen some older Conrad Johnson preamps in the $500.00 range, may be pre remote era.

    In solid state there's the Emotiva preamp. I find it better than the entry Adcom I've used and suspect it's better than comparable NAD. I wonder though if it would give you the step up you might be looking for though, on the other hand it has a 30 day return, so you can try with minimal risk.
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  5. #5
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Audiogon is the place to look for used gear. An Audio Research, Conrad Jiohnson or Audible Illusions are what I'd be looking for. If you're going new Audio Advisor has a Vincent .in your price range. As you can tell I'm a tube fan!
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  6. #6
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Another option within the tubed realm would be the AES AE-3 which has long been considered a "giant killer" and shares some of the same design structure as the much pricier Cary models.

    http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....ube&1303051256
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  7. #7
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phileserver39
    Hey all,

    Still building my system to reach some irrational, unattainable, pie-in-the-sky dream...... However I still want the best bang for my buck.

    I currently am alternating between my Audio Experience Symphonies tube unit and my NAD 3150 solid state unit as a preamp. I was hoping that I could do better with a $600 spend (I can add another $50 for shipping). I can go tube or ss. I rather like the tube sound (better imaging, rhythm and realism) of my AE Symphonies unit but also like the better bass response, detail and transparency of my NAD unit. Oh, the decisions!

    However, I am worried that I will end up with somebody else's problem by limiting myself on used components through EBAY, etc.

    I am looking to pull the trigger this Friday should that play in any way with your suggestions.

    Thanks for your valuable input and expertise,

    Best,

    J
    Remote control? Tube? PS39, you mention tubes but not remote control. R/c does limit the selection to a considerable extent, eliminating many boutique marques and, e.g., older Conrad Johnson model. But r/c is essential for me personally.

    Looking for a new pre with tubes and remote Pacific Valve comes to mind. My experience with them is limited but very positive. I'd be enticed by their <$600 YS Symponies V2R model, here.


  8. #8
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    ! would look for a used Van Alstine T-8 tube preamp. It's been very well reviewed. New it cost about $1500 but I have seen them for $600 used. Check the ava.hifi.com site as he has used and refurbished units from time to time. I also agree with a used Conrad Johnson and Audio Research. That Belles looks like a nice unit, they make high quality gear and you can still talk to Belles himself if you have questions about the gear. Same goes for Van Alstine, Frank VA always answers his phone.
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  9. #9
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    Another preamp to look for would be a NuForce P8, I just got one myself and love it. The reviews on it are great if you want to look it up and read them. It has an awesome midrange for a solid state unit(much better than most SS units I have heard) much like that of tube gear but has a very tight and detailed bass and treble section that is very good. They do take a while to break in as mine was nearly new when I got it form audiogon so it took a while to get the best out of it but I think it is a very good option for someone looking for a great two channel preamp and does not have thousands to spend.

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  10. #10
    Forum Regular phileserver39's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the advice and for pointing me to Audiogon. I never want to have to sift through the bs on Ebay ever again.

    Well I ended up getting this preamp.....

    http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....-silver-excell

    Actually, that "Sale Pending" on the B&K Reference 50 is me as I contacted the seller who was cool enough to hold it until my paycheck hits my bank tomorrow

    I thought about what a great savings from the $1,500 price tag (or thereabouts) these could be had for 7 or so years ago.

    The balanced ins and outs are a HUGE plus as I can go out of my PS Audio DAC with balanced cables. I may decide to go with the Emotiva mono block amps in the future which have balanced inputs. Also, it decodes a lot of the Dolby formats which is awesome. Even though I will be using it in my two channel system the future options are much greater than the Parasound 2100 that I was thinking about buying.

    Thanks again for all your great suggestions guys.

    Best,

    Jason
    The round mound of rebound sound is profound and bound to pound the ground. OK, I got nuthin.....

  11. #11
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phileserver39
    Thank you all for the advice and for pointing me to Audiogon. I never want to have to sift through the bs on Ebay ever again.

    Well I ended up getting this preamp.....

    http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....-silver-excell

    Actually, that "Sale Pending" on the B&K Reference 50 is me as I contacted the seller who was cool enough to hold it until my paycheck hits my bank tomorrow

    I thought about what a great savings from the $1,500 price tag (or thereabouts) these could be had for 7 or so years ago.

    ...
    Best,

    Jason
    Congrats on the B&K, Jason.

    I happened to notice there on Audiogon a couple of days ago and though it looked like an attractive offering.


  12. #12
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    I was going to buy one of Mr. Yee's headphone amps 3-4 months ago, but upon further research I've stayed the hell away. Who knows, maybe it would've worked out.
    He's a great guy to work with and was very helpful so I don't want to create any bad reps.
    As always do the search and decide for yourself.

  13. #13
    Forum Regular phileserver39's Avatar
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    I have had a couple days to play with the B&K unit and it sounds great! My only gripe is that the menu and set up is not at all simple or intuitive. I am usually pretty good with this kind of stuff but I still can't get sound from the FM or AM sources (built into preamp). The headphone amp seems a little low powered (but sounds good).

    However, using my Asus STX spdif out (24bit 192khz) to my PS Audio Dac going to the direct inputs on the Ref 50 through balanced cables does wonders for my source material. Clean clean clean, super tight lows and great detail is what this setup is bringing me. Very pleased with my purchase (esp.if I can ever figure out the tuner section on this thing!) Oh, and a "shout out" to Bryce on AudioGon (the guy I bought it from)- he packed it in the original box with the original fm and am antenna as well as the original manual and remote! I highly recommend him if he is selling anything you are interested in buying.

    Make it a musical Sunday,

    Jason
    The round mound of rebound sound is profound and bound to pound the ground. OK, I got nuthin.....

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