Preamp choice

RaChiK

Active Member
Sep 14, 2020
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Hi all,
I have been working on my system since almost a year and after multiple changes have been very close to get it final. I have completed my digital end, very happy with speakers and amp. My amp is Audia flight strumento no.4 mk2 and drives the speakers extremely good. I am now looking to upgrade the preamp. I am OK with either tube or solid state. The amp`s input impedance is 7.5 Kohms and hence looking for preamp with output impedance < 200-300 ohms, lesser the better. Price < 20 k, preferably less than 15 k (if used). I have short listed to these. Unfortunately, even though audio research is very well reviewed, their output impedance is high for my preamp. Any thoughts or experience on these or suggestions will be appreciated.
Esoteric C-02X
Boulder 1110
Conrad Johnson GAT 2 S2
VTL TL-7.5 S3
Luxman c900u
VAC signature Mk 2 SE.
Audionet pre G2
Used esoteric C1
 
Last edited:

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
13,504
1,774
698
Hi all,
I have been working on my system since almost a year and after multiple changes have been very close to get it final. I have completed my digital end, very happy with speakers and amp. My amp is Audia flight strumento no.4 mk2 and drives the speakers extremely good. I am now looking to upgrade the preamp. I am OK with either tube or solid state. The amp`s input impedance is 7.5 Kohms and hence looking for preamp with output impedance < 200-300 ohms, lesser the better. Price < 20 k, preferably less than 15 k (if used). I have short listed to these. Unfortunately, even though audio research is very well reviewed, their output impedance is high for my preamp. Any thoughts or experience on these or suggestions will be appreciated.
Esoteric C-02X
Boulder 1110
Conrad Johnson GAT 2 S2
VTL TL-7.5 S3
Luxman c900u
VAC signature Mk 2 SE.
Hi RaChik,

What a great collection of preamps to go what appears to be a great system as well. The character of these preamps I suspect you will find have some similarities but also some clear differences.

I owned the CJ GAT 2 as a 20-year consecutive owner of CJ preamps...phenomenal. I went with the Robert Koda K15EX but I could easily have stayed for many, many years with the CJ GAT 2. Depends on what you are looking for. The CH is 100ohms output as I suspect you know. it is super-duper reliable...not one CJ preamp repair in 20 years across the PV14L, ACT 2, CJ GAT 1 and CJ GAT 2. I once feared the CJ had something, and it turned out fine...it was the amp.

Its characteristics:
- grainless...super grainless
- balanced and very very even up and down the spectrum without a noticeable hump anywhere
- Its bass in the new CJ GAT 2 is much more balanced/powerful than the CJ GAT1 which was slightly demure
- CJ's emphasis on organic, natural tonality shows thru well and is a standout feature
- I am told the VTL is its equal and if you want balanced, then you need to go VTL...and there is more propulsive bass and a more powerful overall impression of the music. The CJ is a very calm, even-keeled delivery.
 
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RaChiK

Active Member
Sep 14, 2020
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Hi RaChik,

What a great collection of preamps to go what appears to be a great system as well. The character of these preamps I suspect you will find have some similarities but also some clear differences.

I owned the CJ GAT 2 as a 20-year consecutive owner of CJ preamps...phenomenal. I went with the Robert Koda K15EX but I could easily have stayed for many, many years with the CJ GAT 2. Depends on what you are looking for. The CH is 100ohms output as I suspect you know. it is super-duper reliable...not one CJ preamp repair in 20 years across the PV14L, ACT 2, CJ GAT 1 and CJ GAT 2. I once feared the CJ had something, and it turned out fine...it was the amp.

Its characteristics:
- grainless...super grainless
- balanced and very very even up and down the spectrum without a noticeable hump anywhere
- Its bass in the new CJ GAT 2 is much more balanced/powerful than the CJ GAT1 which was slightly demure
- CJ's emphasis on organic, natural tonality shows thru well and is a standout feature
- I am told the VTL is its equal and if you want balanced, then you need to go VTL...and there is more propulsive bass and a more powerful overall impression of the music. The CJ is a very calm, even-keeled delivery.
Excellent description of the CJ preamps high points. My priority is for organic sound with good soundstage and air around the instruments. I agree that CJ checks most of the points and your description and experience clearly matches what the reviewers have been describing too. I do like CH precision, but not sure if I can get good deals in my price range.
 

RaChiK

Active Member
Sep 14, 2020
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Anybody compared audionet pre G2 with Boulder 1110 ?. Seems to be close.
 

LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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I use Strumento 8 mono's and the pre i use is Ch Precision L10. The sound is fantastic!!!! Would urge to look into Ch Precision L1 or L10
Congrats on the CH L10...quite a stupendous entry into the market! How do the CH L1 and L10 compare in your opinion? I have read some of of the latest reviews, etc but if you have any personal thoughts, that would be interesting to read. Thank you.
 

RaChiK

Active Member
Sep 14, 2020
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I use Strumento 8 mono's and the pre i use is Ch Precision L10. The sound is fantastic!!!! Would urge to look into Ch Precision L1 or L10
CH L1 and L10 are quite out of range for my budget. But they are my ultimate dream pre-amp. I am sure you might have compared or auditioned other preamps, before going to CH precision. Since our amps match, it will be very helpful on your thoughts on other preamps that you might have auditioned or used with these amps. What is your rest of the system ?
 

pweg

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Jun 8, 2014
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Australia
CH L1 and L10 are quite out of range for my budget. But they are my ultimate dream pre-amp. I am sure you might have compared or auditioned other preamps, before going to CH precision. Since our amps match, it will be very helpful on your thoughts on other preamps that you might have auditioned or used with these amps. What is your rest of the system ?
ive had absolare, vitus, ayon, Triode Corp and Audia Flight pre amps. The ChP are by far the best in my system. Vanishing low noise floor, huge and deep soundstage, great musicality and flow......

the rest of my system is Marten Momento 2, Transrotor Tourbillion special edition with reed 3p, reed 5a and triplanar arms, Ch P 4 box phono, ChP dac and clock. Cables all Crystal ..... absolute dream and Da Vinci
 

Duke LeJeune

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Jul 22, 2013
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My amp is Audia flight strumento no.4 mk2 and drives the speakers extremely good. I am now looking to upgrade the preamp. I am OK with either tube or solid state. The amp`s input impedance is 7.5 Kohms and hence looking for preamp with output impedance < 200-300 ohms, lesser the better.

The Atma-Sphere MP-1 preamp has an output impedance of 30 ohms(!), and the Atma-Sphere MP-3 preamp has an output impedance of 250 ohms. Disclaimer: I'm an Atma-Sphere dealer.
 

XV-1

Well-Known Member
May 24, 2010
2,868
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Sydney
Hi RaChik,

What a great collection of preamps to go what appears to be a great system as well. The character of these preamps I suspect you will find have some similarities but also some clear differences.

I owned the CJ GAT 2 as a 20-year consecutive owner of CJ preamps...phenomenal. I went with the Robert Koda K15EX but I could easily have stayed for many, many years with the CJ GAT 2. Depends on what you are looking for. The CH is 100ohms output as I suspect you know. it is super-duper reliable...not one CJ preamp repair in 20 years across the PV14L, ACT 2, CJ GAT 1 and CJ GAT 2. I once feared the CJ had something, and it turned out fine...it was the amp.

Its characteristics:
- grainless...super grainless
- balanced and very very even up and down the spectrum without a noticeable hump anywhere
- Its bass in the new CJ GAT 2 is much more balanced/powerful than the CJ GAT1 which was slightly demure
- CJ's emphasis on organic, natural tonality shows thru well and is a standout feature
- I am told the VTL is its equal and if you want balanced, then you need to go VTL...and there is more propulsive bass and a more powerful overall impression of the music. The CJ is a very calm, even-keeled delivery.

X2. The cj GAT is an absolutely stunning preamp.
 

chuck

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2011
255
210
428
San Diego
Anybody compared audionet pre G2 with Boulder 1110 ?. Seems to be close.
I looked at many pre amps before I got the Boulder 1110 in January 2020. I heard the Pre G2 on similar speakers to mine (YG) at shows, just recall I thought the 1110 sounded better, plus the better user interface and I use all 5 XLR inputs on the 1110 (G2 has only one).
 

knghifi

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2014
255
66
158
My amp is Audia flight strumento no.4 mk2 and drives the speakers extremely good. I am now looking to upgrade the preamp. I am OK with either tube or solid state. The amp`s input impedance is 7.5 Kohms and hence looking for preamp with output impedance < 200-300 ohms, lesser the better. Price < 20 k, preferably less than 15 k (if used).
Checkout a Soulution 520/525720/725 preamp with very low output impedance.

I demoed Audia flight strumento no.4 mk1 at distributer several years ago. At the time, had VAC SigMKIIa SE (Output Impedance <150 ohms) and H-CAT (still own it) SS preamp. H-CAT is the ultimate boutique build, custom made for me, NO specs and bought with my ears. Compare to VAC, output impedance is lower. Due to size, I brought H-CAT to the demo along with 3 distributer's own preamps (2 SS and 1 tube). On familiar tracks, I find the sound lacking dynamics, weight and bass. My guess preamps failed to drive the amp properly??
 

RaChiK

Active Member
Sep 14, 2020
147
79
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ive had absolare, vitus, ayon, Triode Corp and Audia Flight pre amps. The ChP are by far the best in my system. Vanishing low noise floor, huge and deep soundstage, great musicality and flow......

the rest of my system is Marten Momento 2, Transrotor Tourbillion special edition with reed 3p, reed 5a and triplanar arms, Ch P 4 box phono, ChP dac and clock. Cables all Crystal ..... absolute dream and Da Vinci
pweg
That is great system of yours. Going to CH precision L10 will be ultimate one, at some point and I will go there in few years. I am thinking of L1, and if I get good deal, I will definitely keep it on top of my list.
 

RaChiK

Active Member
Sep 14, 2020
147
79
35
42
I looked at many pre amps before I got the Boulder 1110 in January 2020. I heard the Pre G2 on similar speakers to mine (YG) at shows, just recall I thought the 1110 sounded better, plus the better user interface and I use all 5 XLR inputs on the 1110 (G2 has only one).
What amps are you using with boulder 1110 ?. How do you describe the sound of 1110 ? in terms of musicality and timbre/vocals/mids. I know reviewers describe them as dynamic, neutral with slam.
 

RaChiK

Active Member
Sep 14, 2020
147
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Soulution and atmosphere preamps are good too. I have to see if they (or any preamps above) have used with other amps. Some preamps are meant to be married with their own amps. I don't want to deviate too much and experiment. CJ GAT 2 has lots of love from people and I can see the reason why. Everybody describes them as most musical and they pair with different brand amps. My system is all balanced, but CJ GAT is single ended. Not big of a deal, but still have to think about it.
Among the tube preamp, CJ GAT 2 is in tops. In sold state I am debating between CH precision L1 (if I get good deal), boulder 1110 and esoteric C1 (used, if I get a good deal).
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
13,504
1,774
698
Soulution and atmosphere preamps are good too. I have to see if they (or any preamps above) have used with other amps. Some preamps are meant to be married with their own amps. I don't want to deviate too much and experiment. CJ GAT 2 has lots of love from people and I can see the reason why. Everybody describes them as most musical and they pair with different brand amps. My system is all balanced, but CJ GAT is single ended. Not big of a deal, but still have to think about it.
Among the tube preamp, CJ GAT 2 is in tops. In sold state I am debating between CH precision L1 (if I get good deal), boulder 1110 and esoteric C1 (used, if I get a good deal).
Hi RaChik,

If it helps, I had been combining CJ and Gryphon (SE to Balanced) for over 10 years before I went to Robert Koda K15EX. I think SE-XLR is one of many moving parts in a system, and while it might not be 'ideal'...the real question for most of us is what is the total result of combining two components (including their interface).
 

RaChiK

Active Member
Sep 14, 2020
147
79
35
42
Checkout a Soulution 520/525720/725 preamp with very low output impedance.

I demoed Audia flight strumento no.4 mk1 at distributer several years ago. At the time, had VAC SigMKIIa SE (Output Impedance <150 ohms) and H-CAT (still own it) SS preamp. H-CAT is the ultimate boutique build, custom made for me, NO specs and bought with my ears. Compare to VAC, output impedance is lower. Due to size, I brought H-CAT to the demo along with 3 distributer's own preamps (2 SS and 1 tube). On familiar tracks, I find the sound lacking dynamics, weight and bass. My guess preamps failed to drive the amp properly??
Soulution preamps are high quality. I think they have one pair of outputs. At some point, I will do biamp, and prefer 2 pair of outputs. I did consider solution preamps, but they lose value so steep.
 

RaChiK

Active Member
Sep 14, 2020
147
79
35
42
Anybody using VTL TL-7.5 S3 ?. Any inputs on this preamp ?
 

chuck

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2011
255
210
428
San Diego
What amps are you using with boulder 1110 ?. How do you describe the sound of 1110 ? in terms of musicality and timbre/vocals/mids. I know reviewers describe them as dynamic, neutral with slam.
I use it to run two systems in different rooms: YG Sonja XV/Boulder 3060 and Paradigm Tribute/Anthem MCA20. The Cordesman review in TAS is pretty good. The day-to-day sound quality is ease -- all the music is there, effortlessly.
 

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Jan 25, 2015
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