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Thread: Recommend me a preamp please?

  1. #91
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: west mids, UK

    Posts: 1,332
    I'm Phil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edwardlon View Post
    So as the original OP I feel guilty of opening a thread that potentially gets locked. I ought to have known better.

    No seriously guys it is all very interesting and educational. Lots of the discussion seems to revolve around the electrical characteristics of preamps. Unfortunately I did not pay too much attention when I was being taught this stuff at school (no doubt as I was paying too much attention to the girls in the class).

    So, what would be the "perfect" preamp? Or is it the case that some preamps work in some situations and other in other situations? How would one go about navigating what potentially is a "good" preamp from the specs alone? Or at least narrow things down a bit as clearly it is not possible to audition every preamp.
    there is no perfect pre amp . some want incredible transparency like this person

    http://hifipig.com/music-first-audio...-preamplifier/

    others want different attributes like more sense of presence or drive or some other presentation . its all down to taste
    modwright 36.5 DM /MSB s200 , / Marantz sa8005/bel canto 3.5, vbs , bel canto fm1
    sonos, . dct300/ /isotek sigmas /rfc/chord epic cabling/Kimber select/ proac studio 125

  2. #92
    Join Date: Mar 2016

    Location: Barnet, london UK

    Posts: 268
    I'm Adam.

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    So.... did the OP ascertain a pre amp route he'd like to explore or does his head hurt as much as mine...?
    "lack of passion is fatal"
    LP12, Kore, Lingo2, Aro, SKale / DV XX2Mk2 / WAD 300b Power Modded, Mesh Plate Valves / David Coe AD Audio 'Satchmo' Pre & Phono / Hashimoto HM-7 SUT / AD Audio 'Little Gate' Jfet MC Cartridge Amp / Kudos Cardea 2 / Speaker Cables: Duelund DCA16GA / Rpi3 & Digi + pro / SW1X Audio Design USB-SPdif / SW1X Audio Design DAC 1 Signature / Interconnects: Duelund DCA20GA home brew / SW1X Audio Phono SPDIF AERO 6 / David Coe AD Audio Silver USB / Synology NAS Drive / Tidal HiFi

  3. #93
    Join Date: Mar 2017

    Location: Seaford UK

    Posts: 305
    I'm Dennis.

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    From Jez;
    " What you describe with the Nelson Jones (did you have the tuner as well?) has been commented upon several times over the years and could well be due to TID/TIM (a largely obsolete term these days and based on the work of Otala and Lohstro) causing a flurry of higher odd order distortion products on leading edges and hence enhancing the sense of attack... it's usually very fatiguing with longer exposure. "

    I didn't have the tuner. Your explanation seems entirely likely to identify the cause, and it was designed well before the TIM phase of the 80s.
    It also had three coupling capacitors in the signal path, and later everyone went direct coupling.

    In general I see nothing wrong with confrontation, but it should be polite, and addressed specifically at the sustaining of an argument, not about the person.

    The Ad Hominem interaction is upsetting and a waste of time and energy, but a little adversarial requesting of substantiation is how we progress.

    How people know whether or not something is transparent I cannot fathom. They may well hear something which they interpret to be transparent, but it may be just a favourable mellifluousness, which I think so much supposed improvement can be. Sometimes transparent sounds awful, because it is transparent to source.

  4. #94
    Join Date: Sep 2013

    Location: North Island New Zealand

    Posts: 839
    I'm Chris.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edwardlon View Post
    So as the original OP I feel guilty of opening a thread that potentially gets locked. I ought to have known better.

    No seriously guys it is all very interesting and educational. Lots of the discussion seems to revolve around the electrical characteristics of preamps. Unfortunately I did not pay too much attention when I was being taught this stuff at school (no doubt as I was paying too much attention to the girls in the class).

    So, what would be the "perfect" preamp? Or is it the case that some preamps work in some situations and other in other situations? How would one go about navigating what potentially is a "good" preamp from the specs alone? Or at least narrow things down a bit as clearly it is not possible to audition every preamp.
    The perfect preamp, if audio quality is perfection , is a variable attenuator and not an amplifier.
    as amplification always involves some measure of distortion.

    It relies on the source component having sufficient voltage / current ability
    to be attenuated, but not amplified.

    It relies on the power amplifier to have sensible sensitivity and resistive loading to ground

    It Removes the mechanical wiping of contact or contacts, also a source of distortion.

    It supplies sufficient inputs and arranges input switching in a contact less manner

    It has DC circuitry that works in harmony with the variable resistive parts

    It does not allow DC ground to be signal ground lessening the inherent isolation
    of the device.

    It can work in balanced or unbalanced audio systems.

  5. #95
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Forest of Dean, Glos & Cambrian mountains, Wales

    Posts: 8,770
    I'm Jerry.

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    Well, going back to the OP ....

    Quote Originally Posted by Edwardlon View Post
    So a friend has lent me an Azur 840e preamp and I'm blown away. Really opened up the sound, increased dynamics, fluid, fast, natural, accurate, 3d etc.

    ..... The band is playing in front of me in my sitting room!
    What more do you want than the band playing in front of you?

    Buy an Azur 840e on eBay or elsewhere. You know you like it - and you probably don't know what any other of the things that are being suggested sound like in your system.
    Just looked and there are none on eBay at the moment, but I'm sure they come along every now & then.
    Sorted.

    A mistake I've made before is hearing something I liked, then getting the "better" version. Or getting the original and then "upgrading". Nope, it doesn't always work out that way!
    Jerry
    Main systems:
    Spotify Premium streaming, Wadia 151 PowerDAC, Speakers: MBL 116F. i/c & W&M 02BB spkr cables. ProJect and Audio Friendly power cables

    Resting: Pure Sound L10 pre, Cambridge Audio 851D DAC, Arkless buffer, Pass X150 power amp.

    Headphones: Fostex T50RP mk3, AKG 551, B&O H6, PSB M4U-1, B&O Form 2 & 2a and Sony XBA-H1 & SoundMagic E50 IEM headphones

    2nd system: Spotify Premium streaming / Pioneer DV-535, Audiolab MDAC, Black Cat power amp, Chario Syntar 100T speakers. Headphones: Fostex T50RP mk3, SoundMagic E10 IEM headphones

    3rd system: Portable CD player, Kinter MA-180 T amp, Klegg Symphony 102 speakers

    4th system: Spotify Premium streaming, Signstek Mini USB DAC, SMSL SD793ii DAC/headphone amp, Fostex T50RPiii headphones

  6. #96
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 17,500
    I'm Martin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edwardlon View Post
    A Tisbury Martin.
    Tisbury was the first passive I tried, Jerry lent me his one. A revelation in some ways but also soft, lacking in bass and drive. It is good for the money but outclassed in your system, you have one of the best valve power amps ever made, after all.

    I've also heard the full Cambridge Azur top of the range system, Cd player, pre and power at a demo. It was not objectionable but it was a bit 'meh'. For over 4K (including some MS floorstanders) it was disappointing.

    As said up thread somewhere all passives are not created equal although the good ones have little between them, as you'd expect. Don't take your experience of the passive and active pre-amps you have tried so far to be universal, as it isn't. Really good active pre-amps are expensive and I would not put the Cambridge in the 'really good' bracket, not by some margin.
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Technics SL1200 with Sumiko h/s & Nagaoka MP50 * Firebottle valve MM phono stage * Parasound CDPi1000 * NVA P90SA passive pre / Krell KSA50S Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *



    "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." - Hunter S Thompson

  7. #97
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

    Posts: 27,805
    I'm Geoff.

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    If I wanted a preamplifier to use with a Radford, I think I'd probably be looking towards something from Nelson Pass or Music First Audio.
    Mr. Tact!

    Main system: MMs/ADCs/Low output MC's/One rare Japanese SUT/One scarce British phono stage/various tonearms/hefty Japanese DD TT and hefty Japanese BD TT and small British BD TT. 4 CD players/2 jitter buster/2 DACs/Valve buffer. TVC stepped attenuator or valve pre-amp or solid state pre-amp. Current dumping power-amp or either of two Class A SS power-amp or Class A EL34 valve monos or big Japanese (part Class A) integrated. Big dual concentric speakers/Smaller dual concentric speakers/Two way British compacts and full range speakers, amongst others. And too much more to list!

  8. #98
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Forest of Dean, Glos & Cambrian mountains, Wales

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    I'm Jerry.

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    Yes, the Tisbury is very decent.
    I agree with Martin that it is a bit soft and smoothed over and also a bit coloured in a pleasantly rose-tinted way, I think.
    But at the time and in the right system context I prefered it to a Glasshouse stepped attenuator passive.
    The Glasshouse was more transparent and resolved. The Tisbury was more enjoyable to listen to, imo. Synergy as well as personal preference is crucial!

    By no means should you judge all passives on the basis of experience with the Tisbury. The dang things all sound different!

    Personally, after much experience with all sorts of pre-amps active and passive, I prefer active. That's just my preference.
    Jerry
    Main systems:
    Spotify Premium streaming, Wadia 151 PowerDAC, Speakers: MBL 116F. i/c & W&M 02BB spkr cables. ProJect and Audio Friendly power cables

    Resting: Pure Sound L10 pre, Cambridge Audio 851D DAC, Arkless buffer, Pass X150 power amp.

    Headphones: Fostex T50RP mk3, AKG 551, B&O H6, PSB M4U-1, B&O Form 2 & 2a and Sony XBA-H1 & SoundMagic E50 IEM headphones

    2nd system: Spotify Premium streaming / Pioneer DV-535, Audiolab MDAC, Black Cat power amp, Chario Syntar 100T speakers. Headphones: Fostex T50RP mk3, SoundMagic E10 IEM headphones

    3rd system: Portable CD player, Kinter MA-180 T amp, Klegg Symphony 102 speakers

    4th system: Spotify Premium streaming, Signstek Mini USB DAC, SMSL SD793ii DAC/headphone amp, Fostex T50RPiii headphones

  9. #99
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 17,500
    I'm Martin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jandl100 View Post

    Personally, after much experience with all sorts of pre-amps active and passive, I prefer active. That's just my preference.
    Yes, what is technically better isn't really relevant once we get into what we prefer. I know there are a few people on here, not just Jerry, who have tried the best passive has to offer and still prefer active. Technical proficiency is no use whatsoever if you just don't like what you are hearing, or what you are hearing is not the sound you were looking for.
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Technics SL1200 with Sumiko h/s & Nagaoka MP50 * Firebottle valve MM phono stage * Parasound CDPi1000 * NVA P90SA passive pre / Krell KSA50S Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *



    "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." - Hunter S Thompson

  10. #100
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

    Posts: 27,805
    I'm Geoff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jandl100 View Post
    Personally, after much experience with all sorts of pre-amps active and passive, I prefer active. That's just my preference.
    Opposite here. Having owned many active and passive pre-amps, I've settled with my MingDa MC-9 TVC unit. I had been using a Forte Model 2 and a VTL Deluxe (which I still have), but the MingDa thrashed them.

    Still got a hankering for another vintage Rappaport Pre-2 though! That was a great pre-amp. I used one for about twenty years. It took the VTL Deluxe to beat it.
    Mr. Tact!

    Main system: MMs/ADCs/Low output MC's/One rare Japanese SUT/One scarce British phono stage/various tonearms/hefty Japanese DD TT and hefty Japanese BD TT and small British BD TT. 4 CD players/2 jitter buster/2 DACs/Valve buffer. TVC stepped attenuator or valve pre-amp or solid state pre-amp. Current dumping power-amp or either of two Class A SS power-amp or Class A EL34 valve monos or big Japanese (part Class A) integrated. Big dual concentric speakers/Smaller dual concentric speakers/Two way British compacts and full range speakers, amongst others. And too much more to list!

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