$300 used preamp to match my rotel?

I bought a Rotel RB980BX power amp and now I'm shopping for a used preamp for $300 or less that would work well with it. I suppose Rotel is the obvious choice, but thought I'd check in to see other suggestions. I run two channel stereo for audio and AV signals. My sources are: cd player, dvd player, wireless itunes audio, TV. Obviously I can wire the video outside of the preamp. Some things I've considered:

-- used rotel pre
-- used rotel pro logic surround unit. These are very inexpensive, can run a sub one day and offer video. Any thoughts as to their 2 channel quality?
-- used tube or other brand pre.

I'll be running them through some DIY 2 way speakers.


Stereo preamp????
Dynaco Pas 3
Acurus RL-11 is a great option. Well engineered, usually available at the Gon for around $275 - $375.
I'd look for a RC-955. I doudt the Rotel AV pre will come close to the 955's sound quality.
I posted in your other pro-logic thread but a Rotel RC-1070 is nice and in your budget. Also - I'd look at the B&K preamps (eg pt3).
Thanks guys - I really appreciate all these suggestions. I have limited knowledge good brands, so this helps in my research.

I've seen that rotel 1070 on the agon classifieds - mighty tempting at that price.

Hi Folks,

just an update on where I've temporarily landed.

A local guy was selling a Rotel RSP-960AX surround processor/preamp on craigslist, so I bought it for $50. I hooked it up to the Rotel power amp and the combination clearly outshines the old Denon receiver I have. Much more clarity and bass response out of my Boston speakers.

Next step: finish my DIY speaker project, then possibly buy a used cd player instead of playing cds on my sony dvd carosel.

Meanwhile, I'll enjoy this very budget setup and slowly shop for a dedicated 2 channel preamp

thanks everyone for advice and brand suggestions. Long term, I'm looking at: rotel, naim, creek, acurus and some tube pres. No rush now that I have a superior system to my current one.

Go with a used Rotel pre and that way you'll have a matched set for when you decide to upgrade both pre and power.
Hi folks,

here's a quick update on where I landed:

-- I went with a GR Research DIY kit and I've had it playing for a week now. I'm guessing I've put 30 hours on it so far, so its on the way to being burned in. I put $365 into these speakers and I'm blown away by how great they sound. When they're fully burned in, I'll take them to the paradigm and B&W dealer to see how they compare to the Studio and CM series, respectively.

-- I traded out the budget RSP960ax processor for a budget RSP980 unit by rotel. Big improvement in bass, clarity and dynamics. The bass is MUCH better, but now the whole system leans toward being too bright. Still for the money, I can't beat this sound improvement. I suspect "down the road" I'll try a tube pre to see if that serves what I'm after.

-- currently my interconnects and speaker wire are home depot quality. I'm researching better connections. Apparently this is a hot topic, but in keeping with my budget ways, a friend of mine runs a commercial AV company (church and business installs) and I can get cable at cost through him.

thanks everyone for all your help and advice. in a short time, with very little money out, I've gone from a denon receiver through Boston bookshelves to Rotel separates through a high end DIY kit. Once I sell all the leftover stuff, I'll barely be out $200. I'm absolutely thrilled with the quality improvement so far.