indus

What's the best SS pre amp you've heard?

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Nobody is right or wrong, they are just opinions based on experience. 

Nobody has to be 'in charge' of the debate.

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1 hour ago, indus said:

I've never really looked at passives. After a quick google it seems that the ones mentioned don't have remotes? If thats the case then it's a no go, a remote is essential.

Ahh yes nope no remotes.  One of the best ones with a remote is the Hattor which is a stepped resistor passive but it does not quite have the dynamics of the TVCs. So let's cancel that.  

Cheers Uzzy did not see the later message about why the need for a change. The ARC LS17 is a great preamp and one of the better line stages from ARC. I have heard the MA PL300 (not at home) and thought they were actually very good. I liked the ribbon tweeter. Now to improve them?? I suspect you would be looking for a lot more loot (£8-10K?) unless you have the Mk I and then the MkII is allegedly more dramatic. I am not sure it would be worthwhile.

Maybe the best thing to do would be to have a preamp mini bakeoff and ask guys with these preamps to come around. I would be up for bringing a Pass XP12 provided there was suitable bribery such as cakes. 

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1 hour ago, uzzy said:

I would spread your wings - ATC, Spendor, Proac and Art to name a few .. but it may not be the speakers but the DAC or Power amp (although I cannot see the latter being a problem but you never know until you try) .. the Preamp is right up there and is undoubtedly detailed and revealing and will provide a more than adequate signal so that would be the last thing on my list to consider at the mo 

I've never heard ATC and would love to. I heard some Spendors many years ago and they were ok, I've never heard Proac. However this is what I suspect.....at anything near the price I can afford, ATC, Proac will bring something that the MA doesn't have but it will sacrifice a lot more. I'll have a smaller speaker with fewer smaller drivers. This might work if I listened to Jazz, female acoustic vocalists etc. However I listen to a lot of electronic dance music and these speakers just don't have the guts to do it justice. Some of this music I'll have heard as a young man in clubs etc and it needs to have a wallop behind it to evoke those pleasant memories of my younger days. I don't want it to sound as 'crass' as it did in the club but it needs to convey some of that energy. Something like the Proac K8 I'm sure would do that....but that costs £25k.

The MA PL500 (I have the MA PL300 at present) has four bass drivers, two mids and a very clever new tweeter. It can be hand ex demo for £9k (rrp £15k) and it is a beautifully finished speaker. Don't get me wrong, I am not equating size, number of drivers ect to quality, it's just that experience has taught me that smaller speakers don't seem to convey the energy (especially bass) that my ears like.

1 hour ago, QuestForThe13thNote said:

Perhaps then go for a different design of speaker. If you perhaps equate increasing speaker size with sound quality and to get a bigger sound, which I would too, but maybe look to smaller speakers that trade this for more accuracy and timing and dynamics. It gets harder and harder to achieve this as you go big, so you probably need to spend a lot more again to get an upgrade over what you have. I’d look to medium size single bass driver floorstanders. 

See response to uzzy above.

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Super Dealer

Traditionally ‘full-range’  meant very large loudspeakers but that isn’t the case any more and they don’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

Keith

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3 minutes ago, George 47 said:

Ahh yes nope no remotes.  One of the best ones with a remote is the Hattor which is a stepped resistor passive but it does not quite have the dynamics of the TVCs. So let's cancel that.  

Cheers Uzzy did not see the later message about why the need for a change. The ARC LS17 is a great preamp and one of the better line stages from ARC. I have heard the MA PL300 (not at home) and thought they were actually very good. I liked the ribbon tweeter. Now to improve them?? I suspect you would be looking for a lot more loot (£8-10K?) unless you have the Mk I and then the MkII is allegedly more dramatic. I am not sure it would be worthwhile.

Maybe the best thing to do would be to have a preamp mini bakeoff and ask guys with these preamps to come around. I would be up for bringing a Pass XP12 provided there was suitable bribery such as cakes. 
 

Thanks.

I do have the mk1 but suspect the mk2 would be a subtle upgrade, perhaps not worth the cost. The PL 500 should be a massive step up and would cost me £7k to change on a trade in deal going on at the moment. £7k is a lot of money but if I was going to spend £5k on a preamp then £7k on significantly better speakers doesn't seem so stupid (man maths lol)

But here's the rub...the PL 500 are 1.8m tall and including the feet are 625mm deep! It's a fairly large space but it's not dedicated. They will absolutely dominate the room.

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2 minutes ago, indus said:

I've never heard ATC and would love to. I heard some Spendors many years ago and they were ok, I've never heard Proac. However this is what I suspect.....at anything near the price I can afford, ATC, Proac will bring something that the MA doesn't have but it will sacrifice a lot more. I'll have a smaller speaker with fewer smaller drivers. This might work if I listened to Jazz, female acoustic vocalists etc. However I listen to a lot of electronic dance music and these speakers just don't have the guts to do it justice. Some of this music I'll have heard as a young man in clubs etc and it needs to have a wallop behind it to evoke those pleasant memories of my younger days. I don't want it to sound as 'crass' as it did in the club but it needs to convey some of that energy. Something like the Proac K8 I'm sure would do that....but that costs £25k.

The MA PL500 (I have the MA PL300 at present) has four bass drivers, two mids and a very clever new tweeter. It can be hand ex demo for £9k (rrp £15k) and it is a beautifully finished speaker. Don't get me wrong, I am not equating size, number of drivers ect to quality, it's just that experience has taught me that smaller speakers don't seem to convey the energy (especially bass) that my ears like.

See response to uzzy above.

I have no knowledge of the MAs so I cannot comment - however I would recommend you spread your wings and try other designs.  Ideally contact members locally and go and listen to their systems to see if you can identify what tickles your fancy.  Have a look through the Hifi mag adverts for dealers with extensive stocks of second hand stuff - you may find one with something that appeals you can try on home dem.

Whatever you do - do not purchase without having anything on home dem for at least a weekend to determine how it fits into your environment 

Good luck in your quest 

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45 minutes ago, uzzy said:

I do know how the preamp sounds - and I do know after 40 years of experience how things interact (5 of which was selling the stuff and putting up with Ricardo pre his starting Absolute Sounds bringing stuff into the shop for us to evaluate) . 

For the data given to us from the initial query, namely,  "It's difficult to say. It is an itch I suppose...but if I was going to put my finger on anything I'd say detail retrieval, separation and low bass control perhaps" it is extremely unlikely  to be the preamp in any case - and in this case having knowledge of the said preamp being used I would say it is the last thing to consider ....

If you don't want advice then do not ask the question - he asked I suggested I did not advise but as we all know we can choose to ignore suggestions/advice if we so wish.  Perhaps if we might be as lucky as some (I wonder who?) to have  our heads so far up our arses we cannot read or hear suggestions/advice  ....  Now for the last time the ARC preamp he has delivers all he is looking for in spades which indicates it is something else in the system that needs addressing IN MY OPINION  based on my knowledge of the preamp ...

If you have something constructive to offer regarding anything else in the chain based on use or experience of, then by all means give him suggestions or advice but please do not try to rubbish what others might suggest unless you have valid data to prove otherwise... 

You stated you know how the Pre amp Sounds. A Pre amp doesn’t sound. It depends on the rest of the hifi as to what the sound is and what the Pre amp does to thebsound when you swap it to another. Even with 40 years you  can’t test out every Pre/power and speaker combo. That’s even before we get on what the op preferences are not sitting with their system. That was my only point to which there is no argument. The Pre amp is one of the most important parts in the chain, more so to power amps I’d suggest and second to speakers. But I agree with you it could be speakers are better too, but don’t discount the possibility of the effects of pre amps. It could tighten up the sound or offer a different presentation that equates to no need to change speakers.

Edited by QuestForThe13thNote

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52 minutes ago, QuestForThe13thNote said:

It’s really important Paul because none of use are ‘connoisseurs’ on others systems we don’t know or own, unless we’ve sat with same components in ours and can understand the sound quality considerations required of the buyers

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What it is important to note, Note, is that it isn't at all important.

Tomorrow's headlines will not read...

'World Looks On As Audiophile Is On Edge of Potential Pre-Amp Misstep'

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Super Wammer
9 minutes ago, QuestForThe13thNote said:

You stated you know how the Pre amp Sounds. A Pre amp doesn’t sound. It depends on the rest of the hifi as to what the sound is and what the Pre amp does to thebsound when you swap it to another. Even with 40 years you  can’t test out every Pre/power and speaker combo. That’s even before we get on what the op preferences are not sitting with their system. That was my only point to which there is no argument. The Pre amp is one of the most important parts in the chain, more so to power amps I’d suggest and second to speakers. 

You do not stop do you - let me just say this once - this is a forum where people ask others for their opinion.

Mine is his pre is superb and he will not deliver what he wants by changing it and to look elsewhere in the chain (however his amp is also superb so perhaps the speakers are the first thing to look at but also the DAC might be worth a look at first)

Yes.. the preamp is one of the most important parts.  If you think the power amp is any less important then you need to get some more listening under your belt.

So as you seem to selectively read I will repeat    My advice was he has a superb pre that delivers what he is asking for so to look elsewhere in the chain ... now please do me a favour and ignore my comments on here as you seem to find exception with my suggestions :off:

Edited by uzzy
grammar correction

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Moderator

Calm down please children.

We are discussing pre-amplifiers, not life or death decisions.

Jesus. Get a bloody grip.

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2 minutes ago, uzzy said:

You do not stop do you - let me just say this once - this is a forum where people ask others for their opinion.

Mine is his pre is superb and he will not deliver what he wants by changing it and to look elsewhere in the chain (however his amp is also superb so perhaps the speakers are the first thing to look at but also the DAC might be worth a look at too 

Yes.. the preamp is one of the most important part.  If you think the power amp is any less important then you need to get some more listening under your belt.

So as you seem to selectively read I will repeat    My advice was he has a superb pre that delivers what he is asking for so to look elsewhere in the chain ... now please do me a favour and ignore my comments on here as you seem to find exception with my suggestions :off:

We are all free to challenge others views for the benefit of working out a good way forward. I get all that and agree with you but I’m not sure you’ve understood the point I made. I do get it your view is very much a ‘dac is a dac’ or ‘a pre is a pre’ approach as if they are similar, which you’ve given on other threads. but there are degrees of quality out there and big variance in what some amps do and sound. I think others will understand the point and I’ll leave it there. 

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Super Wammer
2 minutes ago, rabski said:

Calm down please children.

We are discussing pre-amplifiers, not life or death decisions.

Jesus. Get a bloody grip.

I thought we were discussing the problem the original poster later revealed namely "It's difficult to say. It is an itch I suppose...but if I was going to put my finger on anything I'd say detail retrieval, separation and low bass control perhaps"  but I will get a grip (looks for the monkey wrench)   .. 

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13 minutes ago, rabski said:

Calm down please children.

We are discussing pre-amplifiers, not life or death decisions.

Jesus. Get a bloody grip.

im very calm and bear no malice. I challenged something. Someone stuck to their guns, then I kept on debating, then it looks like they probably got upset and took a dim meaning from me. I can’t apologise for that. No life or death situation. Just discussion. No more no less. 

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5 minutes ago, QuestForThe13thNote said:

We are all free to challenge others views for the benefit of working out a good way forward. I get all that and agree with you but I’m not sure you’ve understood the point I made. I do get it your view is very much a ‘dac is a dac’ or ‘a pre is a pre’ approach as if they are similar, which you’ve given on other threads. but there are degrees of quality out there and big variance in what some amps do and sound. I think others will understand the point and I’ll leave it there. 

Sorry wammers I have to respond - I never said a DAC is a DAC (in this thread) it is one of the items I suggested he look at - as for preamps,  I never said a pre was a pre either.  I have said enough times about the ARC being superb so I wouldn't start there (it is highly unlikely that if it performs on detail retrieval and bass control on all system I heard it in it is hardly likely to change much into another one in its performance)  as to the amps they do have an impact on bass control etc, but I have not read anywhere about his amp under performing in any area and I do not know it so cannot comment .. it is a sad day when someone who appears to have not heard the pre in question would challenge someone who has ..

8 minutes ago, QuestForThe13thNote said:

im very calm and bear no malice. I challenged something. Someone stuck to their guns, then I kept on debating, then it looks like they probably got upset and took a dim meaning from me. I can’t apologise for that. No life or death situation. Just discussion. No more no less. 

I am not upset at all just a tad frustrated that one cannot give an opinion based on fact without a sanctimonious reply  :) 

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