Why is a simple preamp so hard to find???

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Early B.

Why is a simple preamp so hard to find???
« on: 28 Dec 2017, 06:52 am »
I'm looking for a preamp with the following features:

1. active
2. 2 inputs, 2 outputs
3. no tubes
4. premium quality volume control
5. Less than $1,200 used

That's it. Basically, one level beyond a passive preamp. Super simple. No remote. No battery. No frills. Does this exist? 
 

JerryM


JLM

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Re: Why is a simple preamp so hard to find???
« Reply #2 on: 28 Dec 2017, 12:46 pm »
Part of the problem is in defining what a preamp is.  By function a basic preamp can include a volume control, an input/output switching box, an impedance buffer, a gain stage, and a phono preamp (providing additional gain and RIAA equalization).  Purists go all the way down to stepped attenuators that plug in between interconnects and power amps.  Others want tone controls, loudness controls, various displays, headphone amp, or remote control.  Then there are the preamps that combine with a DAC, even different signal processors or power supply designs.  And this doesn't even touch yet on circuit types, single ended vs balanced,  or tube versus solid state.

With so many variations it is hard to find exactly what you want (and then not changing your mind). 

I'd check out Audiogon for Parasound Halo JC (doubtful at $1200), Halo P7 (2017 Stereophile Class B).

New within your budget also think about a Parasound Halo P5 (new), or Schiit Freya (running in JFET buffer stage).

Do you really need the preamp to be active?  If not consider the Tortuga LDR3v25. 

Early B.

Re: Why is a simple preamp so hard to find???
« Reply #3 on: 28 Dec 2017, 01:19 pm »
Do you really need the preamp to be active?  If not consider the Tortuga LDR3v25.

I've tried several passive preamps in the past, and all of them lacked "energy," so I'm not interested in traveling down that road again.

Are there any DIY/modular solutions available where one can pick and choose? For instance, I don't want extra stuff in my preamp that I'm paying extra for, but will never use such as a headphone or phono section or HT bypass or dual volume controls or a bunch of extra inputs.   


Letitroll98

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Re: Why is a simple preamp so hard to find???
« Reply #5 on: 28 Dec 2017, 01:57 pm »
Another vote for the AVA preamp.  The only thing extra it has is two more inputs than you specified, can't see that as a problem.

Doublej

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Re: Why is a simple preamp so hard to find???
« Reply #6 on: 28 Dec 2017, 01:59 pm »
I've tried several passive preamps in the past, and all of them lacked "energy," so I'm not interested in traveling down that road again.

Are there any DIY/modular solutions available where one can pick and choose? For instance, I don't want extra stuff in my preamp that I'm paying extra for, but will never use such as a headphone or phono section or HT bypass or dual volume controls or a bunch of extra inputs.

You'll likely pay extra to have something customized to your liking because the manufacturer needs to spend extra to get one offs. For example if a unit comes with a headphone jack and you don't want one, the manufacturer will need to get one faceplate without a headphone jack hole in it, etc. etc. etc.

Klaus over at Odyssey Audio may build something exactly to your liking.

gab

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Re: Why is a simple preamp so hard to find???
« Reply #7 on: 28 Dec 2017, 02:47 pm »
I've tried several passive preamps in the past, and all of them lacked "energy," so I'm not interested in traveling down that road again.

Are there any DIY/modular solutions available where one can pick and choose? For instance, I don't want extra stuff in my preamp that I'm paying extra for, but will never use such as a headphone or phono section or HT bypass or dual volume controls or a bunch of extra inputs.

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/analog-line-level/280458-doug-self-preamp-linear-audio-5-a.html

A lot of folks have built this one. On my project list. I have received the PCBs already and they are very nicely made.

gab

RDavidson

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Re: Why is a simple preamp so hard to find???
« Reply #8 on: 28 Dec 2017, 03:19 pm »
Get a used Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE. They can be had for around $1200, though $1400 is a common listing price.
It is active (via solid state buffered output stage). EXCELLENT volume control. It can also add gain if you turn the volume control up far enough. Fully dual differential balanced too (if you need that). Really really hard to beat at any price.

grsimmon

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Re: Why is a simple preamp so hard to find???
« Reply #9 on: 28 Dec 2017, 04:05 pm »
The Don Morrison ELAD preamp.  They occassionally come up for sale on USAudiomart, Audiogon, etc.  and well below your price cap.

I believe the Audio Critic once described it as the cleanest preamp he'd ever measured.

PierreB

Re: Why is a simple preamp so hard to find???
« Reply #10 on: 28 Dec 2017, 04:40 pm »
The Bryston BP-25 has what you are looking for.
Plus a solid warranty.

http://bryston.com/PDF/Manuals/BP25_MANUAL.pdf


Early B.

Re: Why is a simple preamp so hard to find???
« Reply #12 on: 28 Dec 2017, 05:02 pm »
http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/analog-line-level/280458-doug-self-preamp-linear-audio-5-a.html

A lot of folks have built this one. On my project list. I have received the PCBs already and they are very nicely made.

This option looks interesting. I'll have to read through the thread.

rollo

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Re: Why is a simple preamp so hard to find???
« Reply #13 on: 28 Dec 2017, 05:04 pm »
I'm looking for a preamp with the following features:

1. active
2. 2 inputs, 2 outputs
3. no tubes
4. premium quality volume control
5. Less than $1,200 used

That's it. Basically, one level beyond a passive preamp. Super simple. No remote. No battery. No frills. Does this exist? 
 

  What amp are you currently using ? Does that company make a preamp ? Check out Bill Baker at Response Audio. Great products.


charles

Early B.

Re: Why is a simple preamp so hard to find???
« Reply #14 on: 28 Dec 2017, 05:14 pm »
  What amp are you currently using ? Does that company make a preamp ? Check out Bill Baker at Response Audio. Great products.

I currently use an Audio GD Master 1 preamp. Incredible preamp and built like a power amp (30 lbs with 3 transformers in it). Just want to try something new, so now I'm on a quest to "downsize" (size-wise) and simplify my system. 

Folsom

Re: Why is a simple preamp so hard to find???
« Reply #15 on: 28 Dec 2017, 05:16 pm »
I've tried several passive preamps in the past, and all of them lacked "energy," so I'm not interested in traveling down that road again.

Are there any DIY/modular solutions available where one can pick and choose? For instance, I don't want extra stuff in my preamp that I'm paying extra for, but will never use such as a headphone or phono section or HT bypass or dual volume controls or a bunch of extra inputs.

Build a Kuartlotron. They're pretty easy. Performance is as good as anything or better. All you have to do is choose a good volume device and wire it nicely. It can also output to more devices than 2x at the same time.

Someone would probably build one for you, at that price you are looking at. I can help with recommendations on parts.

rollo

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Re: Why is a simple preamp so hard to find???
« Reply #16 on: 28 Dec 2017, 08:55 pm »
I currently use an Audio GD Master 1 preamp. Incredible preamp and built like a power amp (30 lbs with 3 transformers in it). Just want to try something new, so now I'm on a quest to "downsize" (size-wise) and simplify my system.


 I asked you what "AMP" are you using. So we can recommend the preamp If your preamp is of good quality which I believe it is you may just be going sideways with a new one. When ya wanna make a change just to make a change look elsewhere.
Improving ones front end or speakers is IMO the way to go. I am not saying your digital or speakers are not good. Look at DACs, transports, TT, cart, etc, first.
Recently I went to an Integrated amp and I must say did not loose a thing over the separates to my big surprise.



charles

Early B.

Re: Why is a simple preamp so hard to find???
« Reply #17 on: 28 Dec 2017, 09:17 pm »

 I asked you what "AMP" are you using.


Sorry. I just grabbed a pair of In-Line Maraschino amps. Those things got me thinking about more upgrades. But I'm gonna be patient until what I'm looking for is built. I used that approach for speakers and it worked out for me. I may not have to wait very long.


mfsoa

Re: Why is a simple preamp so hard to find???
« Reply #18 on: 28 Dec 2017, 11:01 pm »
I'd add "balanced" to your list if you are going to use the excellent In-Lines.

At a minimum it saves the RCA to XLR adapter. If you do use the adapter, I have heard significant improvement with the Cardas ones vs. the one's Tommy provides.

I am between preamps with my Maraschinos and will likely go direct XLR from a Brooklyn.

-Mike

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Re: Why is a simple preamp so hard to find???
« Reply #19 on: 3 Jan 2018, 10:58 pm »
Are there any DIY/modular solutions available where one can pick and choose? For instance, I don't want extra stuff in my preamp that I'm paying extra for, but will never use such as a headphone or phono section or HT bypass or dual volume controls or a bunch of extra inputs.

Definitely. Check the Pass B1. Active, buffered but unity gain.