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Thread: Tube Pre.

  1. #1
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Tube Pre.

    Hi Guys,

    I'm looking for a tube pre with:

    *One balanced In/Out as well as single ended.
    *Around $1800 maximum used.
    *will match well with both SS and Tube amps.

    I mainly listen to Jazz and Hiphop.
    I'm looking to go Planar in future.

    I've been looking at BAT VK3i, some ARC, and a little bit of Sonic Frontier.

    I'm hoping to receive some advice on which ARC tube pres to avoid. Also, what other tube pres should I consider?


    Thanks,

  2. #2
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    Hi hiro,
    this one doesn't have balanced in or outputs, but it's still a very good one to consider:
    http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....ube&1185208578

    fits nicely in your budget, and should sound fantastic

    I'll search some more, but I'm working on my review(s) now so...

    Good luck,
    Bert.
    Life is music!

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    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  3. #3
    If you can't run-walk. Bernd's Avatar
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    Good Call Bert. The Shrimp is a very fine pre.

    Hiro, why do you want balanced in and out? I found that this is only really benifical on very long cable runs. Also quiet often, the cuircuit isn't even proper balanced, despite the available facility.
    Again not balanced, but take a look at the Rogue Audio Magnum 66. Also Cary do some very fine sounding kit.The BAT you mentioned should be good too.
    Not tube, but tube like sound and balanced with it, is the Electrocompaniet EC-4.7.

    I will keep looking.

    Peace

    "Let The Earth Bear Witness."

  4. #4
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    But in addition ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernd
    Good Call Bert. The Shrimp is a very fine pre.

    Hiro, why do you want balanced in and out? I found that this is only really benifical on very long cable runs. Also quiet often, the cuircuit isn't even proper balanced, despite the available facility.
    Again not balanced, but take a look at the Rogue Audio Magnum 66. Also Cary do some very fine sounding kit.The BAT you mentioned should be good too.
    Not tube, but tube like sound and balanced with it, is the Electrocompaniet EC-4.7.

    I will keep looking.

    Peace
    It's true, of course, that fully balanced is better for long runs since rejects noise being added to the signal. But there is additional advantage if you are driving a fully balance power amp. For example, my Monarchy SM-70 Pros work in fully balanced mode (when used as a monoblock) and are significantly more dynamic when driven by a fully balanced input.

    The Sonic Frontiers LINE 1 is the bargain balanced tube pre at under US$1000. Mine sounds great now that I've found tubes what work well with it. On the other hand with a $1800 I would definitely consider BAT or ARC, viz. the VK-3i and LS16 MkII

  5. #5
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Thanks for the inputs guys,

    I have considered Shrimp, and still amp. $1200 would leave me more option with a power amp I would need to purchase.

    I'm considering balanced in/output options for higher gain for my amp, and less gain I would need to introduce by a future phono pre. And also, I like having my TT setup isolated.
    Since I'm looking to go planar in future, I'm hoping less than 200 watt amps would be plenty with balanced connections.

    Am I not making sense as usual?


    I'm looking to get a good preamp with a decent temporary amp, than to get a moderate preamp/amp. I think that part makes sense.


    J

  6. #6
    If you can't run-walk. Bernd's Avatar
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    You make perfect sense......

    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Thanks for the inputs guys,

    I have considered Shrimp, and still amp. $1200 would leave me more option with a power amp I would need to purchase.

    I'm considering balanced in/output options for higher gain for my amp, and less gain I would need to introduce by a future phono pre. And also, I like having my TT setup isolated.
    Since I'm looking to go planar in future, I'm hoping less than 200 watt amps would be plenty with balanced connections.

    Am I not making sense as usual?


    I'm looking to get a good preamp with a decent temporary amp, than to get a moderate preamp/amp. I think that part makes sense.


    J
    ........ as usual.

    I think for that money the Manley Shrimp is pretty damn good. As is the SF.
    If it were my money I would get the best pre. I could afford with a view to integrate it into your chosen power amp in the future. I got mixed reports from going balanced. Some say you loose some magic and introduce noise others swear by going balanced.Try and see.

    I used to run an Ayre CDP into the Pathos Logos balanced. Two true balanced circuits. When comparing to single ended the only difference I heard was that it was louder on the balanced connection for the same volume setting. But then that was only for one meter ic.
    Good luck

    Peace

    "Let The Earth Bear Witness."

  7. #7
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    As simple as it may sound...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernd
    If it were my money I would get the best pre. I could afford with a view to integrate it into your chosen power amp in the future.

    Peace

    that's what I will do. Even if it means for me to have a $2500+ pre with no power amp. Since I'm not looking to sell my tube integrated, I wont be left stranded in darkness.

    $1200~1500 range looks to be a good start for an entry level though.

  8. #8
    If you can't run-walk. Bernd's Avatar
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    Good on you...

    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    that's what I will do. Even if it means for me to have a $2500+ pre with no power amp. Since I'm not looking to sell my tube integrated, I wont be left stranded in darkness.

    $1200~1500 range looks to be a good start for an entry level though.
    ....I've been here a couple of times myself. Speakers and amp without a front end, or the other way round.
    It's a pain for a short while, but you will built a great system over time.
    Good luck and enjoy the ride.

    Peace

    "Let The Earth Bear Witness."

  9. #9
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernd
    ....I've been here a couple of times myself. Speakers and amp without a front end, or the other way round.
    It's a pain for a short while, but you will built a great system over time.
    Good luck and enjoy the ride.

    Peace

    Thanks Bernd,

    I went ahead with a deal on Agon.

    I guess I'll be looking for an amp with Blalanced inputs. Around a $1k to start. That will be replaced, by the end of the year if I dont get a pair of MG12

  10. #10
    If you can't run-walk. Bernd's Avatar
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    What.....

    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Thanks Bernd,

    I went ahead with a deal on Agon.

    I guess I'll be looking for an amp with Blalanced inputs. Around a $1k to start. That will be replaced, by the end of the year if I dont get a pair of MG12
    .....did you go for? Come on-spill the Canellini.

    As for a power amp, why not go for a Monarchy that Feanor uses. Got some really great reports.
    I just bought a pair of Sphinx Project 12 mono blocks, for a really great price, from a guy in Germany. Should be with me middle of next week. Will see how they gel with the Manley, and if I like them I have a choice of amps, for different presentations, to play with.

    Good luck with the A'gon deal.

    Peace



    That's them........
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    "Let The Earth Bear Witness."

  11. #11
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    I went with a BAT VK-3i with a remote.

    Since I trust Bill, I guess I could go with Monarchy monos. But will see what I wanna do. If they are enough for his 1.6, they should be ok with a pair of MG12 I really like, but I'm a hipster who likes music loud.

    There is a local guy who is selling his Marsh A400, but I will be looking around for a deal on a used market

    Keep us updated with your new amp, man.
    Will you be driving them with the Shrimp? I didnt think yo had it anymore.

    JRA

  12. #12
    If you can't run-walk. Bernd's Avatar
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    Nice choice....

    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    I went with a BAT VK-3i with a remote.

    Since I trust Bill, I guess I could go with Monarchy monos. But will see what I wanna do. If they are enough for his 1.6, they should be ok with a pair of MG12 I really like, but I'm a hipster who likes music loud.

    There is a local guy who is selling his Marsh A400, but I will be looking around for a deal on a used market

    Keep us updated with your new amp, man.
    Will you be driving them with the Shrimp? I didnt think yo had it anymore.

    JRA
    .....and good luck with the BAT. A good pre is so important. Looking forward to hearing about the new arrival.

    I never had a Shrimp. The Steelhead can also be used as a pre. It has facilities for 2 MC 1MM and one line input and of course a volume control. You can either use it with fixed output (as I do now into my Unison Research) or the variable output with the volume control like a regular pre amp driving a power amp. Hence the reason for me buying the Sphinx. Just something to play around with. You never know unless you try.

    Peace

    "Let The Earth Bear Witness."

  13. #13
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    Thanks Bernd, I hope so too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernd
    You never know unless you try.

    Peace

    My thoughts exactly, Bernd. That one of the reasons why I dont have to audition before making my purchases. Plus I can always get 90% of my initial purchase price back when buying used.

    I had no idea the Steelhead can be used as a pre.
    That's one of the reason why I almost bought EAR 834P, but I dont think it can touch yours in a term of effortless resolution.

    Let hope both us will receive our toys unharmed.

    J

  14. #14
    If you can't run-walk. Bernd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo

    Let hope both us will receive our toys unharmed.

    J
    I drink to that, and whilst we at it, I will retire into the listening room now and spin some-more new recent purchases. As it is Sunday evening here and I had one hell of a busy month and the BOT has been hiding all day and we had nothing but rain and artic winds today.Not that I need any excuses mind. Global Warming. PAH!!

    Enjoy what's left of the weekend "J".

    Peace

    "Let The Earth Bear Witness."

  15. #15
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Nice move

    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    I went with a BAT VK-3i with a remote.

    Since I trust Bill, I guess I could go with Monarchy monos. But will see what I wanna do. If they are enough for his 1.6, they should be ok with a pair of MG12 I really like, but I'm a hipster who likes music loud.

    There is a local guy who is selling his Marsh A400, but I will be looking around for a deal on a used market

    Keep us updated with your new amp, man.
    Will you be driving them with the Shrimp? I didnt think yo had it anymore.

    JRA
    Congradulations on that, JRA. I've little doubt you'll love the VK-3i. I might have gone for one in preference to the SF if I'd had a few hundred more at my disposal when I bought the SF.

    The Monarchy SM-70 Pros are a good choice unless you like your music very loud. You can often buy a pair of them direct from Monarchy Audio via Audiogon for 1/2 MSRP, recently $980. Monarchy rates them "9/10" but I have the sneaking suspicion they are actually brand new.
    http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....ran&1184453305

    Alternatively, Monarchy as another model, SE-250 (I think) that is a bit more powerful at 200 wt/ch at 4 ohms. It is pure Class A but I'm not sure that it's a true balanced amp.

  16. #16
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Thank you for the info Feanor,

    A pair of SE-100 Deluxe looks to be very nice. Price is "fairly" attractive too. Class A amp? Hmmmm.
    The website didnt state anything about being Truly Balanced aside from SM-70 PROs.

    Would I be better off getting truly balanced amp instead of SE-100D? I think I need to read posts between you and Mr. Peabody, and see what I would prefer.

    Thanks for all the inputs so far

    H

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody

    JRA, I didn't realize you had a BAT, how do you like it and what else is in your 2 channel set up? I saw BAT was one of the first to use the, 6H30?, something like that, the super tube, once the tube became available to other manufacturers ARC started using it. This may be a coincidence but around the same time ARC's sound became colder and what I can only call an industrial or gray feel to the music. ARC's earlier gear's sound stuck in my mind and what eventually led me to seek out some tube gear but by that time the ARC sound turned me off. I am just curious how you would describe the BAT sound, if neutral or if it gives the presence like tube gear can sometimes do.
    Mr P.

    I dont own the BAT yet.

    I did cut a check but it is will sitting on top of my table. I will mail the check on tuesday.

    I hope to tell ya how it sounds once I decide which amps to get.

    At this moment, I'm trying to decide between Monarcy SM-70Pro and SE-100D. Just can't decide between "Truly" balance w/ less power and Class A with higher power bill.

    Currently, I have a very weird combination of gears. I guess I will list them in my profile later.

  18. #18
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Dunno

    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Thank you for the info Feanor,

    A pair of SE-100 Deluxe looks to be very nice. Price is "fairly" attractive too. Class A amp? Hmmmm.
    The website didnt state anything about being Truly Balanced aside from SM-70 PROs.

    Would I be better off getting truly balanced amp instead of SE-100D? I think I need to read posts between you and Mr. Peabody, and see what I would prefer.

    Thanks for all the inputs so far

    H
    I've never heard the SE-100 so I can only speculate as to which will sound better. But that's OK: I love to speculate

    I terms of power the SE-100 is more powerful but by less than 3 dB so the improvement in regard to power alone will be marginal. The SM-70 Pro is fully balanced driven by balanced input: CC Poon, Monarchy's principal, is emphatic that 70 is best fully balanced, being maximally dynamic. I''d guess that the 70 driven fully that way would close in on the 100 for perceived power. On top of that, the SM-70 Pro, (driven fully balanced), is considered the best sounding Monarchy over all by a small margin. Without a direct comparison, I'd gamble in favor of the SM-70 Pro.

  19. #19
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    I'm too late! I was going to suggest the Audio Electronics something something, they have a Class A triode preamp new for $1,499.00. It does not have balanced circuits or outs. It does have a low output impedance which is good for mixing with solid state. AE is owned and operated by Cary. I understand they put this line out to put the Chinese back in their place. I'd love to hear some of it.

    If you like it loud, are you sure you want Maggies? BAT is most certainly a true balanced design, with that I'd stick with using the XLR outs. I've never tested from pre to power XLR vs RCA though.

  20. #20
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Thanks for your input Mr P.

    I did consider AES DJH, but wasnt going to work for me since I really wanted a pre with XLR in/outputs.

    For the Maggies, I'm considering it quite a bit, but I can always go with any speakers, now that I wont be chained to an integrated. I would love to get a pair of SE-100D, but I should look for a used Classe 200ish as well.

    If you have any suggestions on a 2ch or monoblocks for around $1K with balanced inputs, I would greatly appreciate it.

  21. #21
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    In that price range not much comes to mind but I will keep my eyes open. Sometimes you can find a Krell kav500 for $1,500.00, I saw one on Audiogon for $1,300.00 but it said "sale pending". This is a 5 channel but I understand it is bridgeable for a more powerful stereo amp. Classe is a good option for that price. Spearitsound had a 2x200 watt for $699.00 but it's gone now.

  22. #22
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    I just gotta keep my eyes open. I wouldnt be able to buy amps for at least 2 weeks anyways.


    Thanks for your inputs. I do understand that $1K isnt much for a good amp. I see this kinda thread all the time thinking they all just need to save more money.. Guess I should take my own advice. If I can't wait I would probably pick up a PS Audio A-100. Not sure how much I would enjoy it though.

    This system would be an overkill for a pair of Triangle bookshelfs.

    H

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    Why do you say that about PS Audio? Have you heard any? I haven't but I hear good things about them and they may be a great match for tubes. I bet they are at a good price used too. Topspeed uses PSA and seems to like it quite a bit.

  24. #24
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    I think Nightflier has one too, or maybe it was topspeed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Why do you say that about PS Audio? Have you heard any? I haven't but I hear good things about them and they may be a great match for tubes. I bet they are at a good price used too. Topspeed uses PSA and seems to like it quite a bit.

    I havent either and that's the only reason why I said I'm not sure. 150/300 watt seems more than enough for efficient amp. It's affordable enough for me get another one down the road, if I think it's not offering enough juice. But really, the only PSAudio stuff I'm interested is their phono pre, again no reason what so ever. Just whatever gets my juices going.

    Have you heard any Marsh amps? A400S to be exact.

    Thanks again,

  25. #25
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    post pics when you get your BAT! lots of them

    for amps: the monarchy's should be an exellent choice, but also look out for others, you could try primare or parasound too, dunno bout the parasound, but the primare is fully balanced when used as a monobloc, then it would also deliver you 380watts

    and Bernd, when the shpinxes arrive, let us know

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
    Life is music!

    Mcintosh MA6400 Integrated
    Double Advent speakers
    Thiel CS2.3's
    *DIY Lenco L75 TT
    * SME 3012 S2
    * Rega RB-301
    *Denon DL-103 in midas body
    *Denon DL-304
    *Graham slee elevator EXP & revelation
    *Lehmann audio black cube SE
    Marantz CD5001 OSE
    MIT AVt 2 IC's
    Sonic link Black earth IC's
    Siltech MXT New york IC's
    Kimber 4VS speakercable
    Furutech powercord and plugs.

    I'm a happy 20 year old...

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