High gain preamplifier for a First Watt SIT-3?

Derekw14

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Aug 1, 2018
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Hi folks, I am looking for a preamplifier with high enough gain to drive my just acquired SIT-3 (that had just 11db of gain itself I think).
At this stage, unless it proves impossible, I’d like this preamp to include a high quality phono stage and a volume remote control.
I assume pre/amp impedance output and input matching is an important consideration, but I am not sure to understand how to look at specs and be able to tell...
Most importantly this preamp would do full justice to the quality of timbres and musical flow of the SIT3.
Thank you for your suggestions!
 
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XV-1

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May 24, 2010
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conrad johnson GAT
 

Derekw14

VIP/Donor
Aug 1, 2018
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Indeed. I pounced on it!
Budget is somewhat flexible, but let’s say $5-7k, used.

Any experience with the ARC GS Pre?
It’s balanced though whilst the SIT3 is RCA only, so I would need cable adapters though ; and its gain is average rather than high.
 

Derekw14

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Aug 1, 2018
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conrad johnson GAT
Thank you. I tried one (not the GAT2, the original if I recall correctly) years ago with a different amp, and thought it was quite good but I was not bowled over. If memory serves me right, and with the proviso of the amp pairing, I thought it was perhaps a little dense, leaving me to wish for more fluidity or aeration.
 

hifinutt

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Mar 1, 2020
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the arc G series is now discontinued , not sure why . i would use ARC pre with RCA and xlr outputs if i was buying one like the ref 5se perhaps . these xlr to rca can only be a compromise
 

danielk141

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2012
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Derekw14,

Contact Mark at Reno Hi Fi about a demo Pass XP-12. They can increase the gain at the factory for you. My friend had this done to pair an XP-12 with his First Watt F7. You'll also have balanced and single ended inputs/outputs. You won't need to use any adapters...
 
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Derekw14

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Aug 1, 2018
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Thanks for the recommendations guys, but again I would really like the preamp to include a remote control and ideally a good phonostage (if not also a DAC...).
 

Tbzc

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Feb 4, 2011
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Aesthetix Janus could be interesting match. It has internal flexible phono stage and high gain (23db se, 29db balanced).
 
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Tbzc

Well-Known Member
Feb 4, 2011
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Btw, just looked up at stereophile measurements of SIT3. It has high input impendance (150k-200k) and should therefore work well with tube preamps like janus.
 

Derekw14

VIP/Donor
Aug 1, 2018
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You're very kind. Could you shed some light on how to evaluate this question of impedance compatibility based on specs? I know it's important but struggle with it!
 

Derekw14

VIP/Donor
Aug 1, 2018
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This is among the comments I have found online:

For maximum power transfer the source should have as low output impedance as possible. However, if the source has a relatively high output impedance and you can't modify it then the load should have the same impedance for maximum power. If the load impedance is higher, the power will be lower, if load impedance is lower, more power will be dissipated by the load. That's why vacuum tube amplifiers use output transformers to match the high impedance of the amp and low impedance of the speakers. –

So if the SIT3 has high impedance input, that means it can accommodate preamps with relatively high (but not much higher than it?) impedance output, do I understand correctly?

Interestingly the preamp I heard the SIT3 with on demo before buying one, was a tube preamplifier and the match seemed felicitous!
 

Tbzc

Well-Known Member
Feb 4, 2011
43
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413
It is crucial to have electrically compatible pre and power amp. Output impedance of preamp and input impedance of power amp are among important factors of it. Others are gain and output voltage, input sensitivity, length of interconnects etc. I do not have deep technical knowledge but have quite some experience, In order to match the impedance of pre and power amp there is a rule of thumb saying that the minimum input impedance of a power amplifier should be at least 10-15 times higher as the maximum output impedance of a preamp. Otherwise you can loose the linearity of frequency response, resulting for example in a lack of bass. Do not only look at the manufacturer’s specs of output impedance of preamp because it is usually quoted as measured impedance at certain frequency (usually 1kHz). Often the impedance is much higher at frequency extremes. Generally speaking SS preamps often have lower output impedance than tube preamps. That does not mean they sound better but just have wider compatibility with power amps.

I have looked at the measurement of Aesthetix Calypso preamp in Stereophile. Just to underline the importance of impedance I will quote a part of it:
”The balanced output impedance was 112 ohms at 1kHz and above, this increasing to 3900 ohms at 20Hz due to the finite physical size of the output coupling capacitors. The unbalanced output impedance was a high 2400 ohms at midrange and high frequencies, rising slightly to 3150 ohms at 20Hz. In unbalanced mode, the Calypso will need to be used with a power amplifier offering an input impedance of at least 30k ohms if the bass is not to sound lean.”

https://www.stereophile.com/content/aesthetix-saturn-calypso-line-preamplifier-measurements
 

Solypsa

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Jun 7, 2017
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The high input impedance of your SIT amp means don't sweat it!

As to gain; how much do you need? Perhaps ask First Watt to express this value to you in a simple way ie x volts input = x watt output.

Most systems have an excess of gain so you may need less than you think.
 
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