Looking for recommendations for TUBE preamp (<$3000) to pair with big SS amp

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twitch54

Has anyone tried..... tube preamp (big tubes) > Bryston 4B > Maggies (3.7) ?

something close to that 30 plus years ago .........  CJ (PV9) > Threshold (s300) > Maggie (3.6)

produced great results........

TJ-Sully

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Thanks Twitch - very similar setup indeed!

TJ-Sully

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thank you elizabeth. for some reason, i thought you were running Maggies, a 4BSST2 and tubes.  sorry to hear your tube preamp broke. did you drop it... :)

i'm gonna go for it. classic tube pre>big SS amp>Maggies.
but getting the right tube preamp might take a couple of months.

interesting insight into new tube preamps.  thanks for that!

TJ

jsm71

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Of all the suggestions made so far, I like Don Sachs' SP14 and the Linear Tube Audio MZ2.  If you only have three or less source inputs, and looks are not a priority, the LTA MZ2 (David Berning design) is amazing and is very affordable.  Both units have quite a following, so either would be a good choice.  Disclosure, I own the MZ2.  For either, take all the available upgrades.  You still will be well within your budget.

TJ-Sully

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thank you jsm71. great suggestions.
i am leaning toward Don Sachs' preamp.
the number of inputs is unimportant to me, as i will only have my DAC running into it.  all my sources run into my DAC first.   three inputs would be plenty. looks are a little important - and i like the looks of Don's preamp with the wooden casing. but, obviously, performance is the most critical and from what folks are saying, and from talking with Don, his preamp seems like a real gem.  I haven't read too deeply into the MZ2 yet - but i will. unbelievable output impedance at 2ohm...

thanks again man

TJ

jsm71

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The unheard of output impedance of only 2 ohms for the MZ2 is a bonus outcome of the Berning design.  That measurement insures the MZ2 mates with any amp.  I think you should be ok however with either choice.  I'm not sure if this matters, but the MZ2 is also a premier headphone amp, actually what it was originally designed for.  LTA also has a flagship preamp that has better looks, but it is above your (and my) budget.

I am a fan of Don Sachs however myself.  My setup favors my analog front end I listen to mostly vinyl.  I have his custom phono preamp in the wooden case and all upgrade options.  I love it.  A friend has his SP14 preamp and his recommendation swayed me to work with Don.  As I said before, either choice would be a winner for you.  You may have to wait longer for Don's products, but worth the wait.

TJ-Sully

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hey jsm71.   ya, absolutely 2ohm output would pair with any SS amp from an impedance perspective. no question!  thanks for your thoughts on this.  read up on LTA last night.   interesting backstory.

also, i noticed, there is a MZ2 posted for sale on the Trading post circle. tempting. but need to wait until i at least have my Maggies in place (getting them tomorrow) - and my new 4B3 amp arrives in 2 weeks.

In the meantime, i am going to listen to a Asthetix Calyspso next weekend.  can't wait!

cheers, T

vintagebob

Maybe this Modwright LS100 in the Trading Post?

https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=160974.0

I really like mine.  My big SS amps are Sanders Sound Magtech monoblocks.

maty

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My musical inclinations are mostly acoustic (Bluegrass, Jazz, Dylan) - but often sway to Allman Brothers, SRV, Grateful Dead, etc.

I think you must considerer a very good DIY class A SS preamp. My choice after I have studied a lot of:

AKSA's Lender Preamp with 40Vpp Output

https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/analog-line-level/314563-aksas-lender-preamp-40vpp-output.html

A preamplifier / amplifier, whether tube or SS, without specifications, measurements, graphics is a leap of faith -> before buying it, you have to listen to it on your system, with your speakers and room.

Which SS power amp do you have? Very clean, clean, H2 or H3 predominant,... ?

Off course, forget Schiit products.

Escott1377

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I am a HUGE fan of the pre amp shown here:

https://www.transcendentsound.com/masterpiece.html

I  paired mined with a pair of these:

http://www.emissionlabs.com/datasheets/EML300B-mesh.htm

In my opinion, it sounds terrific.

Don't stray away from the DIY, I can recommend someone to assemble if you are interested.

This was 1 of the only ways for me to fit the 300B (and mesh at that!) into my stereo.

Not the prettiest per se, but is a wonderful unit.

FullRangeMan

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Hi Scott,
Did you assemble yourself this Trancendent Preamp?
Did it come with rigid or stranded wire?

rollo

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something close to that 30 plus years ago .........  CJ (PV9) > Threshold (s300) > Maggie (3.6)

produced great results........

  A classic combo for Maggies  for sure.  CJ SS amp and CJ tubed preamp as well.


charles

rotarius

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All good recs so far.  I'll throw in two more that fly under the radar but compete with any preamp under 3k.
For octal tubes, Mapletree 2 or 4, custom made with input and gain options.
For 12au7/12at7 type, Elekit preamp.  This thing is truly amazing with any tube or SS amp I have tried.

PS: on occasion, used AES AE3 DJH come up for sale and this little guy is a real joy to have around.

RDavidson

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AE3 DJH is a good preamp. Very dynamic. I owned one a long time ago. If I recall, it has quite a bit of gain though...which can be pretty tricky to deal with since most SS amps need just 2V or less to hit 100% output. So, small turns of the volume knob can equate to big volume swings.

S Clark

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  • measurement? We don't need no stinkin measurement
There's a Dodd available on HiFi Shark in the Austin area for 2 grand.  Fine preamps and very dependable. 

Escott1377

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Hi Scott,
Did you assemble yourself this Trancendent Preamp?
Did it come with rigid or stranded wire?

I paid to have it assembled.  All point to point wiring by hand.  No PCB's and I have opened it up, it is very straight forward.

If you would like to PM with an email address, I believe I still have the assembly instructions if you are interested.

Tomy2Tone

I am a HUGE fan of the pre amp shown here:

https://www.transcendentsound.com/masterpiece.html

I  paired mined with a pair of these:

http://www.emissionlabs.com/datasheets/EML300B-mesh.htm

In my opinion, it sounds terrific.

Don't stray away from the DIY, I can recommend someone to assemble if you are interested.

This was 1 of the only ways for me to fit the 300B (and mesh at that!) into my stereo.

Not the prettiest per se, but is a wonderful unit.

For the money that looks awesome. Any chance they offer a remote? How would you describe it versus other preamps you’ve had?

demodisc9

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Good evening,

Right at the budget but I've run a deHavilland Ultraverve 3 with both tube and ss amps... wonderful (IMO - PMC & DALI).

Escott1377

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For the money that looks awesome. Any chance they offer a remote? How would you describe it versus other preamps you’ve had?

A remote module could be done as a mod.  I am guessing it could only be a volume control.

I honestly feel like the EML mesh is the superstar for me.

Not many products can run them and that sold it for me.

I owned a Manley Shrimp prior and it performed extremely well, but again, this was the only way for me to add the 300B and the mesh option.

jomama63

You cannot get better in that price range than the CAT(Convergent Audio Technology) reference SL1... I've had an inkling to sell mine. It's incredible. In doesn't matter. I canNOT be content regardless how good my system sounds. It's a curse. I would let it go for $2500. lemme know. I upgraded some tubes that I will include. Joe