Recommend me a SS pre.....

Jul 24, 2017
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#1
A pre-amp is the last piece of the jigsaw for my new system (Lampi GG -> ?? -> Berning Quadrature Z -> Wilson Benesch Resolution).

I've listened to a couple of passive TVCs (MFA, Bespoke) and like their simplicity and transparency.
I've listened to a couple of valve designs (ARC Ref 10, Thoress) and like their sound-staging, timbre, and flow.
To complete the picture before a final decision, it would be good to compare one or two SS pre's......what do people suggest?
 
May 22, 2015
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#2
I have had the Bespoke here with Quadratures; it was not a good match and I suspect the same is true of other TVCs and possibly transformer coupled active designs. Am evaluating Blue58's Java LDR preamp later this week whilst he is on holiday and that could prove to be an interesting combination. I would also recommend you consider having your GG modded to incorporate the inbuilt attenuator as this operates in the analogue domain rather than reducing digital resolution.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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#5
I had my darTZeel pre together with the Berning 845/211 amp for 2 days a few years ago and liked how that worked. I would think the Wilson Benesch would be complimentary to the dart pre's open, fast, natural balance.

and I had the Lampi GG and my darTZeel preamp for a year and loved that combo.

so another vote for darTZeel.
 
#9
Esoteric C-02, C-02X and Grandioso C1 are not as often referenced as they should be in the world of great high-end preamps. My current for the last couple of years is the C-02 and it is amazing to me in how non-SS it sounds and how realistic the music coming from my system is after I picked up this fine pre-amp.
 

CGabriel

Industry Expert
Nov 1, 2013
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#10
A pre-amp is the last piece of the jigsaw for my new system (Lampi GG -> ?? -> Berning Quadrature Z -> Wilson Benesch Resolution).

I've listened to a couple of passive TVCs (MFA, Bespoke) and like their simplicity and transparency.
I've listened to a couple of valve designs (ARC Ref 10, Thoress) and like their sound-staging, timbre, and flow.
To complete the picture before a final decision, it would be good to compare one or two SS pre's......what do people suggest?
I am using the GG into the Constellation Virgo II into a Berning ZOTL40 with great results.
I have the built-in attenuators in the GG but it sounds better using the Virgo preamp.
Btw, the Virgo has worked perfectly with every amplifier that I have paired it with. Quite a feat.
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
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#11
Thanks Caelin, may I ask which other preamps you tried? My guess is that valve pre amps don't work well with the quadratures.

I don't know how it works with the ZOTL 40
 

dan31

New Member
Jul 22, 2010
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SF Bay
#12
Esoteric C-02, C-02X and Grandioso C1 are not as often referenced as they should be in the world of great high-end preamps. My current for the last couple of years is the C-02 and it is amazing to me in how non-SS it sounds and how realistic the music coming from my system is after I picked up this fine pre-amp.
Agreed. The Esoteric preamps are fantastic ss preamps. I was going to purchase the C-03 years ago, but went all Spectral instead. The newer Esoteric preamps must be great.

I had a hell of a time getting a unit to audition at home in my system.
 
Nov 2, 2015
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#13
I'm a big fan of my Phison PD2 linestage and the upgrades take it up to a new level; however, the built-in DSD DAC is the main reason I would recommend this piece to people.

If you are willing to take a listen to another tube pre I would recommend the VAC Signature MK II or a later variation of it.
 

CGabriel

Industry Expert
Nov 1, 2013
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#14
Thanks Caelin, may I ask which other preamps you tried? My guess is that valve pre amps don't work well with the quadratures.

I don't know how it works with the ZOTL 40
With the currently listed ZOTL and GG:

Virgo II
Audio Research REF5
First Sound Paramount
Mola Mola
Bel Canto 3.7 Pre/DAC
TotalDAC Pre/DAC
BAT VK300 Integrated using Pre out (this is a nice integrated BTW. It still holds up in comparisons to newer and more expensive separates.)

Actually the ZOTL worked fine with all of them except the Mola Mola.
The best sound quality is from the First Sound, which is a single tube preamplifier.
But he asked about solid state.
I have had many other solid state preamps that I don't care to name on a forum but you should know that I generally have not liked solid state preamplifiers. I usually prefer a tube preamp and a SS amp or tube amplifier. Just my preference. Interestingly the Virgo actually works quite well with tubed amplifiers including the Ayon Crossfire. There was a Luxman pre and Pass Labs in there somewhere but I have forgotten the models (not a tube).

Hope this helps.
 

CGabriel

Industry Expert
Nov 1, 2013
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#15
Oh yeah. Of course I haven't heard everything and no one else has either. I am not excluding any other pre-amps. I am just saying that I am very impressed with the Virgo when in the past I have generally preferred tube preamps.
 
#17
There are no great SS preamps IMO. Get good tubes if you can afford them, class-A operation if possible.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
 

853guy

Active Member
Aug 14, 2013
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#18
A pre-amp is the last piece of the jigsaw for my new system (Lampi GG -> ?? -> Berning Quadrature Z -> Wilson Benesch Resolution).

I've listened to a couple of passive TVCs (MFA, Bespoke) and like their simplicity and transparency.
I've listened to a couple of valve designs (ARC Ref 10, Thoress) and like their sound-staging, timbre, and flow.
To complete the picture before a final decision, it would be good to compare one or two SS pre's......what do people suggest?
Hello heihei,

This could fit the bill:

https://positive-feedback.com/Issue59/vre1c.htm

https://www.ultraaudio.com/index.php/equipment-menu/284-smc-audio-vre-1c-reference-preamplifier

Good luck.

853guy
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,073
3
38
#20
There are no great SS preamps IMO. Get good tubes if you can afford them, class-A operation if possible.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Steve, I'm sure what you meant to say was 'I've not heard a great sounding solid state preamp....yet'....right?
 
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