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Thread: Preamp Suggestions

  1. #1
    Member JimmyS's Avatar
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    Preamp Suggestions

    So I've been kicking around the idea in my head of a new preamp, and with Axpona just around the corner I figured it would be a good time to get some idea's of what to look into. I'm hoping you all can help fill in some candidates for me to have a look at .

    Current preamp is a Pass XP20, which is between my Pass XA100.5's and a ARC Ref2SE for analog and dCS Rossini for digital. Speakers are Magico S3's

    I don't think there is anything "wrong" with the XP20, as its been in my system while everything else was upgraded around it.

    Requirements are:
    1. must have at least 2 sets of XLR inputs and 1 set of XLR outputs
    2. budget is ~$15K (yes, will consider used options in budget)
    3. Sound preference is "Neutral" for the preamp. Tubes are OK.

    So far the list I have started is:
    Pass XP30
    ARC Ref 6

    Any additional recommendations are greatly appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Jimmy

  2. #2
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! MadFloyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyS View Post
    So I've been kicking around the idea in my head of a new preamp, and with Axpona just around the corner I figured it would be a good time to get some idea's of what to look into. I'm hoping you all can help fill in some candidates for me to have a look at .

    Current preamp is a Pass XP20, which is between my Pass XA100.5's and a ARC Ref2SE for analog and dCS Rossini for digital. Speakers are Magico S3's

    I don't think there is anything "wrong" with the XP20, as its been in my system while everything else was upgraded around it.

    Requirements are:
    1. must have at least 2 sets of XLR inputs and 1 set of XLR outputs
    2. budget is ~$15K (yes, will consider used options in budget)
    3. Sound preference is "Neutral" for the preamp. Tubes are OK.

    So far the list I have started is:
    Pass XP30
    ARC Ref 6

    Any additional recommendations are greatly appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Jimmy
    Preamps! One of my fave topics. How much are you looking to improve the sound vs change the sound? For example, going up the chain in Pass will retain the same 'flavor' of your overall sound while going to the Ref 6 will change it to a different flavor.
    Speakers: Magico M-Project w/MPods Amplification: CAT JL7s, CAT Legend, CH Precision P1
    Analog: Kronos Pro Limited Edition / SCPS-1 / Black Beauty tonearm / Zyx Universe Premium, Ortofon A95
    Digital: Roon / dCS Vivaldi DAC/Upsampler
    Cables/Power: Kubala Sosna cables / Shunyata Denali 6000T, Sigma Zitron PC's / Furutech outlets
    Misc: Steve Blinn Designs rack & amp stands

  3. #3
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    EAR 912 would match your criteria (and may even allow you to dump your phono stage)

    I think tubes would be a good move with your speakers and digital setup.

  4. #4
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    Esoteric C03 has what you are looking for

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyS View Post
    So I've been kicking around the idea in my head of a new preamp, and with Axpona just around the corner I figured it would be a good time to get some idea's of what to look into. I'm hoping you all can help fill in some candidates for me to have a look at .

    Current preamp is a Pass XP20, which is between my Pass XA100.5's and a ARC Ref2SE for analog and dCS Rossini for digital. Speakers are Magico S3's

    I don't think there is anything "wrong" with the XP20, as its been in my system while everything else was upgraded around it.

    Requirements are:
    1. must have at least 2 sets of XLR inputs and 1 set of XLR outputs
    2. budget is ~$15K (yes, will consider used options in budget)
    3. Sound preference is "Neutral" for the preamp. Tubes are OK.

    So far the list I have started is:
    Pass XP30
    ARC Ref 6

    Any additional recommendations are greatly appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Jimmy
    Audio Note M8, or Audio Note Kit The Mentor if budget tighter. Or look to Areas Cerat.
    Mac Mini Server with 12V DC Upton Audio MMK Mod and LPS feed , SSD and 16 GIG RAM, Audirvana V3 & Tital | Audio Note UK DAC 5 Special V2 (with Duelund Copper caps on line stage) | Passive pre-amplifier | Plinius SA-103 150W Class A / AB switchable | Zingali Client Name EVO 1.2 Horn Hybrids | Velodyne DD10 Sub | DIY KGSShv Carbon Electrostatic Headphone Amplifier | Stax SR-009 2016 | PS Audio P10 Power Regenerator | Dedicated Mains | AMR DP-777 DAC & Stax SR007A 2015 for second HP system.

  6. #6
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    I'd definitely go with the XP-30. I've been using one for a few years and wouldn't trade it for anything.. (except maybe the newer XS.. ). It's old enough now you could probably get it for $8-9k..

    Just looked on A-gon. Madfloyd has his XS forsale at $17k now. If you can stretch your budget, I'd certainly go for that one!!!
    Bruce A. Brown
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  7. #7
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    I had an XP30, an Xs Pre and now have an ARC Ref10. My first choice would be the Ref 10 and there is one listed for $17K on Audiogon, but unfortunately it's in Amsterdam. I wouldn't touch it for that reason but that's me. The other great choice is Mad Floyd's Xs at an incredible price. You'd be foolish not to jump on it. I like the XP30 but the Xs is far superior. Again, my opinion.
    Speakers: The Sonus Faber (Fenice); Amplifier: Pass Labs Xs300; Preamp: ARC Ref 10; Phono Pre: ARC Ref 10 Phono; Analog: TechDAS Air Force 2, Graham 10" Elite Arm, Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement, Koetsu Coralstone Platinum; Digital: Esoteric Grandioso K1; Cables: Nordost Odin; Power Conditioning: Torus 90A Wall Mount Panel, Furutech NCF outlets; Equipment Rack: HRS MXR, SRA Ohio-Class XL Plus isoBase; Room Treatment: ASC Tube Traps and Stillpoints Apertures

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyS View Post
    So I've been kicking around the idea in my head of a new preamp, and with Axpona just around the corner I figured it would be a good time to get some idea's of what to look into. I'm hoping you all can help fill in some candidates for me to have a look at .

    Current preamp is a Pass XP20, which is between my Pass XA100.5's and a ARC Ref2SE for analog and dCS Rossini for digital. Speakers are Magico S3's

    I don't think there is anything "wrong" with the XP20, as its been in my system while everything else was upgraded around it.

    Requirements are:
    1. must have at least 2 sets of XLR inputs and 1 set of XLR outputs
    2. budget is ~$15K (yes, will consider used options in budget)
    3. Sound preference is "Neutral" for the preamp. Tubes are OK.

    So far the list I have started is:
    Pass XP30
    ARC Ref 6

    Any additional recommendations are greatly appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Jimmy
    These are very different sound of preamps. There could easily be a few audiophiles who like one and not the other, as they are dissimilar. So advise would mean little, except for synergy, which points to Pass. Check with Madfloyd, he knows this amp and preamps well.
    Audition recordings: Zero Distortion Link; Reference Components: Zero Distortion Link; Own: Lampi GG One-day-to-get: Apogee Scintilla, or a horn (with Tenor 75 OTL ), Preamp to be fit in to suit the gain and drive the power amp. Analog: TBD

  9. #9
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  10. #10
    Member JimmyS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadFloyd View Post
    Preamps! One of my fave topics. How much are you looking to improve the sound vs change the sound? For example, going up the chain in Pass will retain the same 'flavor' of your overall sound while going to the Ref 6 will change it to a different flavor.
    Good question..... The XP20 has seen 3 sets of speakers, 3 DACs, two turntable setups, and the xa30.5 and xa60.5's. So the original thought was to determine if an improvement can be made over the current preamp.

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