Integrated/PreAmp Recommendations

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Francation

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Integrated/PreAmp Recommendations
« on: 15 Nov 2017, 02:18 am »
Hey all, soon I will be getting a better HT AVR with Preouts, so in anticipation of that I am trying to find a good preamp or integrated amp that will work well with it (ie: has an HT Bypass input).

Thus, i'm looking for recommendations on a great sounding preamp, or integrated that will fit the following attributes:

Scenario 1) Schiit Vidar + Preamp (help me find the preamp)
  • Requirement: 3+ analog RCA Inputs, one of which must be an HT Bypass
  • Requirement: Remote control with separate buttons for each input (so I can use easily with a Harmony remote)
  • Optional: Balanced outputs so I could do monoblock Vidars if I wanted to

Scenario 2) Integrated Amp (help me find the integrated)
  • Requirement: No Class D please
  • Requirement: 100+ wpc into 4ohm
  • Requirement: Remote control with separate buttons for each input (so I can use easily with a Harmony remote)
  • Requirement: 3+ Analog RCA Inputs, one of which MUST be HT Bypass
  • Optional: DAC - if the DAC is very good then I can get away with 2 Analog inputs - if not, 3 Analog inputs

Total budget ideally sub-$1500. Open to used gear.

Good chance that what I'm searching for doesn't exist, but I figure I'd ask for some help  8)
« Last Edit: 15 Nov 2017, 03:19 am by Francation »

Mr Peabody

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Re: Integrated/PreAmp Recommendations
« Reply #1 on: 15 Nov 2017, 03:47 am »
Sorry, I don't have time right now to double check the feature list, look at the Parasound P5 for Preamp or the SE version of Wyred4sound is said to be  a "giant killer".  The Parasound Halo integrated should meet that need.  For half the price Cambridge Audio CX-A80 integrated.  If you can find a used Krell kav-300, that would meet your needs except a DAC but the power and performance would make up for that.  There's different versions of the 300, 300i, 300iL, I would stay with the earlier models.  A guy I know had one of the newer versions and had to send it back for repair a couple times.  He got great service, I'd rather not have to deal with it myself.

Have you thought about just adding a power amp to the pre outs and using the receiver for a preamp?  Look around, you could find some good amps used in your price, perhaps a Parasound A21.


Francation

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Re: Integrated/PreAmp Recommendations
« Reply #2 on: 15 Nov 2017, 03:56 am »
Have you thought about just adding a power amp to the pre outs and using the receiver for a preamp?  Look around, you could find some good amps used in your price, perhaps a Parasound A21.

I have considered that, but I've been gunshy about it due to a fear of just how good the sound quality would be by going through the AV Receiver. The unit i'm looking at using would be the Denon AVRX4300H. That would certainly be cheaper and easier if you think the sound quality would be up there.

Mr Peabody

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Re: Integrated/PreAmp Recommendations
« Reply #3 on: 15 Nov 2017, 01:32 pm »
A stand alone preamp would perform better than one in a receiver.  If you decide on separates it may be a way to get each piece in steps, buying the power amp first, then a preamp as the funds are available.  Some just add a power amp as an improvement, I personally think the way you are doing it by either an integrated or separates as a second system is the best for sound quality.

Remind me what your main speakers are?  Also, what type of sound do you like?  The reason I asked there are tube integrated amps, you'd have to check for bypass, folks seem to like the Rogue Audio, I'm not sure what used Cary SLY-80's go for, PrimaLuna is an option.

I know the Krell has what you need, I had one of those, two actually, I had a kav-500 for a while.  Naim is also excellent, don't trip on the power ratings, they'll drive most anything.  Same if you find a Bryston, I believe it is only rated at 60 watts but it's a quality 60 watts.  Sim Audio is another good choice or maybe even a used Classe.  These are all higher end better than average brands but they would be older to meet your budget.

A really good buy is used Adcom separates, you wouldn't even spent $1500.  I don't remember them having a bypass on the preamp though.  A lot of options though for what to get. 

mtrot

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Re: Integrated/PreAmp Recommendations
« Reply #4 on: 15 Nov 2017, 07:46 pm »
Wow, I'm involved in the same exact scenario and research.  I'm currently using my Denon AVR X5200 receiver as a pre-pro running to a Krell power amp.  The sound is actually pretty good, but it seems like at higher volume levels the sound gets a bit "congested", for the lack of a better word.  And I think high frequency sounds like cymbals could be more "airy" or shimmery sounding like real cymbals.   Most audiophiles say that the phono preamp and DAC abilities of ANY AVR will compromise the audio quality for these sources, compared to the quality one can get from an actual pre-amp or integrated. 

I likewise want either an integrated amp or pre-amp with home theater bypass, as I watch a load of movies.  I first became aware of McIntosh's integrated amps, which are loaded with flexibility since they offer advanced DACs as well as both MM and MC phono stages.  But they are quite expensive.  As to a moderately priced alternative, the best I have identified so far is the Parasound Halo P5, which gets me most of the capabilities of the McIntosh, with the exception of the DAC's ability to decode DSD files. 

DSkip

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Re: Integrated/PreAmp Recommendations
« Reply #5 on: 15 Nov 2017, 07:50 pm »
Parasound P5

gab

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Re: Integrated/PreAmp Recommendations
« Reply #6 on: 15 Nov 2017, 08:01 pm »
Parasound P5

http://www.safeandsoundhq.com/Parasound-P5-B-STOCK-FULL-WARRANTY

meets your budget and comes with full Parasound factory warranty

Francation

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Re: Integrated/PreAmp Recommendations
« Reply #7 on: 15 Nov 2017, 08:12 pm »
Parasound P5

I actually think the Rotel RC-1570 might be better? Thats what i'm currently researching, seems like it has a bit warmer/less analytical sound, a bit cheaper used, and also has bluetooth. Lacks the sub controls of the P5 but I already have a miniDSP that can pick up that slack. Thoughts?

Francation

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Re: Integrated/PreAmp Recommendations
« Reply #8 on: 15 Nov 2017, 08:17 pm »
Remind me what your main speakers are?  Also, what type of sound do you like? 

Current gear (not all of this may end up being used, but its what I have HiFi wise at the moment):

Speakers: Spatial M3 Turbo S
DAC: Topping D30
Phono: Schiit Mani
Tone: Schiit Loki
Receiver: Denon AV391 (upgrading soon)
Turntable: Denon 300F (upgrading soon)
Subs: Image Dynamics IDQ10v2's in 12" cubes
Sub Amp: Behringer iNuke3000
Sub Processor: miniDSP 2x4HD
Surround Speakers: Pioneer Andrew Jones Center and Bookshelfs

I like a bit warmer sound, but don't want to give up detail or soundstage to get it. Shrill/bright highs have always bothered me more then others.

mtrot

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Re: Integrated/PreAmp Recommendations
« Reply #9 on: 15 Nov 2017, 08:20 pm »
I actually think the Rotel RC-1570 might be better? Thats what i'm currently researching, seems like it has a bit warmer/less analytical sound, a bit cheaper used, and also has bluetooth. Lacks the sub controls of the P5 but I already have a miniDSP that can pick up that slack. Thoughts?

Looks like a nice unit, but it doesn't seem to offer home theater bypass.  And, unlike the P5, only offers MM phono input. 

Francation

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Re: Integrated/PreAmp Recommendations
« Reply #10 on: 15 Nov 2017, 08:21 pm »
Looks like a nice unit, but it doesn't seem to offer home theater bypass.  And, unlike the P5, only offers MM phono input.

It does! Its buried in the manual under gain settings. You can assign full gain to any input.

Francation

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Re: Integrated/PreAmp Recommendations
« Reply #11 on: 15 Nov 2017, 10:35 pm »
Hard decision! Wish I could find more info that compares the quality of the DAC stages in both of these units.

   Rotel RC1570 vs Parasound P5
      Parasound
         + 3.5mm input on front face
         + Subwoofer controls
         + HT Sub inputs in addition to the Bypass
         + MC option for Phono
         + One more analog input
         + Balanced single output for Sub
      Rotel RC1570
         + Better looks IMO
         + Display screen
         + Shorter depth (fits my AV stand better)
         + Cheaper on used market by $200ish
         + 2 more digital inputs
         + Warmer sound according to one reviewer

maty

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Re: Integrated/PreAmp Recommendations
« Reply #12 on: 15 Nov 2017, 11:07 pm »
HEGEL H80

[Polish] https://audio.com.pl/testy/stereo/wzmacniacze-stereo/2446-hegel-h80

to English with Google

Quote
    Rated power (1% THD + N, 1 kHz) [W] 8 Ω, 2x 80
    Rated power (1% THD + N, 1 kHz) [W] 4 Ω, 2x 138
    Sensitivity (for maximum power) [V] 1x 0.69
    Signal-to-noise ratio (A-weighted filter, with respect to 1W) [dB] 89
    Dynamics [dB] 108
    Attenuation factor (with respect to 4 Ω) 92

Quote
75 plus 75 W (at 8 Ω) - as Hegel promises. I managed to get even a bit more, 2 x 80 W at 8 Ω, and each of the terminals independently has a power of 85 W. With a load of 4 Ω it crashes without problems - 149 watts at one driven channel and 2 x 138 watts at two.

The sensitivity is not close to the standard (200 mV), it is much less because 0.69 V, the display on the display will oscillate closer to maximum values, which you just have to get used to.

Hegel can boast of very low noise level; S / N is 89 dB (this is by far the best result in this group and one of the best among integrated amplifiers in general), thanks to which the dynamics are climbing to 108 dB - which is also the test record.

The frequency response (Fig. 1) is exceptionally good with a drop of -0.5 dB at 10 Hz and a good high-tone condition at 100 Hz. The 8 ohms drop is -0.5 dB and for 4 Ω -1 dB. It is also difficult to complain about the spectrum of distortion (Figure 2), none of the harmonics exceeds the safe limit of -90 dB. The strongest is the third at -91 dB, one decibel below the second.


The diagram of Fig. 3 is a dot above the "and" of the amplifier's excellent amplitude, over the entire output range (excluding the overdrive area). THD + N remains below 0.1% and plays at least 3W for 8Ω and 6 W for 4 Ω, you can go below 0.01%. Excellently!




[French] http://blog.son-video.com/2014/03/test-ampli-stereo-dac-hegel-h80/

[English] http://blog.son-video.com/en/2014/03/review-hegel-h80-dac-stereo-amplifier/

Francation

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Re: Integrated/PreAmp Recommendations
« Reply #13 on: 15 Nov 2017, 11:32 pm »
HEGEL H80

[Polish] https://audio.com.pl/testy/stereo/wzmacniacze-stereo/2446-hegel-h80

to English with Google

[French] http://blog.son-video.com/2014/03/test-ampli-stereo-dac-hegel-h80/

[English] http://blog.son-video.com/en/2014/03/review-hegel-h80-dac-stereo-amplifier/

Looks like it has an HT Bypass option but it has to be configured by the dealer, which kind of means I'd have to buy a new unit and places it a bit out of ideal budget.  :?

Francation

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Re: Integrated/PreAmp Recommendations
« Reply #14 on: 16 Nov 2017, 02:47 am »
Found a Hegel H80 with HT Bypass for a good deal! Gonna give it a try with the Spatials and see how it goes. If I find it limiting inputs wise I can always add one of the preamps discussed above. Thanks everyone for the feedback/suggestions!

Mr Peabody

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Re: Integrated/PreAmp Recommendations
« Reply #15 on: 16 Nov 2017, 03:00 am »
mtrot, you may not have been able to get the best from your Krell yet, it is a beast, excellent transient response and power, if you got an integrated, you'd be going backward, unless spending 5 figures to get close in the power amp section.  You, indeed, just need a preamp.  Man, if you can find a used KRC-3 you'd have a killer set up.  If not, a 280p may do alright and be in your budget used.  Any decent balanced circuit preamp would work, further chlices used, Bryston or Coda.

I am not a fan of Rotel, I personally don't like the sound, and, anyone familiar and honest would tell you preamps was never their strong point.  I'd prefer using an Emotiva and saving the money.

Here's a good choice for preamp. https://wyred4sound.com/products/pre-amps/stp-se

Mr Peabody

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Re: Integrated/PreAmp Recommendations
« Reply #16 on: 16 Nov 2017, 03:05 am »
You mentioned you lean warm, I think the Hegel will make a great music listening amp with the Spacial.  Hope you come back and post after some listening time.

Francation

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Re: Integrated/PreAmp Recommendations
« Reply #17 on: 16 Nov 2017, 03:09 am »
You mentioned you lean warm, I think the Hegel will make a great music listening amp with the Spacial.  Hope you come back and post after some listening time.

I will try to remember! The Hegel was very close in price to a new Schiit Vidar + shipping so it was kind of a no brainer.

maty

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Re: Integrated/PreAmp Recommendations
« Reply #18 on: 16 Nov 2017, 07:43 am »
I would not buy the Schiit Vidar yet, a product that I have followed these days. There have been some complaints about the first series and some speaker cables (for capacitance). Presumably they will solve it soon.

One of que one of the complaints:

https://www.computeraudiophile.com/ca/reviews/schiit-audio-reference-system-review-part-1-r676/

In fact in Europe is out of stock for a few days, I guess because they have stopped production, I say.

My other option was: Icepower 1200AS amp. Class D like you've never

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=153645.0

There are class D and class D amplifiers (with tweeters usually the sound is... not natural). If bavmike he says it sounds so good I think so.

The Hegel 80 is very complete.

My advice: wait a few days for the situation on the Schiit Vidar to be clarified: hurries are bad advisors.

maty

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Re: Integrated/PreAmp Recommendations
« Reply #19 on: 16 Nov 2017, 07:47 am »
And the preamp but without RCA inputs:

Differential Preamp 8×2

https://www.neurochrome.com/product-category/line-level-circuits/

but is a diyer product. The specs are incredible.

Again, the Hegel 80 is the one that suits you best I think.