Affordable Decent Preamp & thoughts on Emotiva XSP-1 vs PS Audio Stellar Gain Stage

Shopping for / Researching a good, solid, Pre-Amp for my system.

Currently using the Pre-Amp stage of a "classic" NAC 7220PE Receiver
AMP = Emotiva XPA-2 Gen 3 (has both Balanced & Unbal Inputs)
Speakers = ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 on stands / Goldenear Amplified Sub
Sources = Bluesound Node 2i / CD / Occasional Phono

System is in my Living Room (NOT Dedicated "listening room"), so speaker placement etc is less than optimal and subject to approval of Wife - so, want something decent but "bleeding edge" would be of little benefit...

Current "Front-Runners" for Pre-Amp (up to around $1500 budget)

  • Fully Balanced (consumer design for low-noise)
  • HAS Phono Stage
  • Plenty of Inputs and Outputs
  • Sub Management
  • Remote
  • Kinda’ BIG
  • Aesthetics - a bit too much Blue LED
  • US-Owned company, but made in China
  • Sleek, Simple design (slimmer / less "gaudy" than EMO)
  • PS Audio reputation for Sound Quality tuned by extensive LISTENING
  • I can get it at a substantial discount from MSRP
  • Appears to have a quality DACT built-in (but, I’m an admitted DACT Noob...)
  • Remote
  • No built-in Phono (but currently not using it a lot - know I can get affordable external phono stage)
  • Wish it had one or two more balanced Inputs for future flexibility
  • Seems like "Less for More $$"
  • No dedicated / managed output to run my sub (but my sub has Speaker-Level I/O and built-in controls)
I KNOW that most of the units that Audio people "in the know" RAVE about / trend towards TUBE types - but I’m really not ready to jump on that particular bandwagon yet; but may consider a used Audio Research or similar if I can get one in my price range (Also looked at used Bryston BP16 if I could find one at a reasonable price)


Showing 1 response by jayctoy

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