Analogue only preamp ideas? - no need for internal DAC!


So making progress in my quest for perfection.

have a great dac, Chord Tt2
great amp Mcintosh great speakers, B&W 804 D3And a Roon Nucleus.

but I have a subpar avr,

An analogue only preamp seems ideal and so many have a standalone dac, so analogue preamp seems a good idea.

Mcintosh has some units that seem quite nice, eg C70 tube.  Seems tube is a great way to go but tubeless has pros too.

Need some ideas. Thanks




emergingsoul
Why do you need a preamp? The TT2 has volume control. 
Because my avr is now sharing stereo and ht duties, and would like to pursue better SQ for stereo with convenience of a home theater bypass feature, which seems only possible with a stereo preamp.


Never go wrong with a Mac. BUT that is an expensive jump for sure..
Never heard a C70, I own a few of Macs other preamps, though.
Wonderful gear and it’s a Mac.. plane and simple...
The C70 has no Dac? hmmm!

Regards
Have you posed this question in the amplifier forum?
I haven’t bought a preamp in a while.  I have a tubed Cary Preamp which I like to pair with a Parasound JC power amp that drives my B&W 803Ds.  I like the depth of soundstage and sense of air around the instruments and the enhanced colors of the Orchestral instruments compared to my Parasound Solid State preamp, but the Parasound JC preamp is really quiet and controls the lowest end bass a bit better.
  Defining a budget would help.  Audio Research came out with a new preamp but 15K may be more than your budget.  Vincent, Rouge Audio,Prima Luna make tubed pre amps in the 1.5-3K range.  
The McIntosh C70 is awesome but doesn’t offer home theater pass through.  Same issue with the C22.  
If you want HT Passthrough with a tube stage, check out the AVM PA 5.2.  It is in the same price range as the C22 at $5495.  They offer a phono card that you can add for $600 if you wanted a phono stage added to it.  This can be done at a later date.  German made, AVM offer superb build quality and incredible sound.  
Rogue is also a fine choice and I know they offer pass through.  The RP7 or RP9 would do a wonderful job in your system.  The RP7 is $5K, I forget the price on the RP9.  
I am an AVM dealer.  I have no relationship with Rogue, just am a fan of the brand. 

I think tubes are better than a preamp with a dac.

dont understand why someone who has a great standalone dac would buy a preamp with a dac.  Spend more dollars toward a preamp without a dac and it seems tube device is just better.

concerned about tube maintenance and long warm up period, need to learn more

thanks. 
Tubes in a preamp take 20-30 minutes or so to warmup.  This is irrelevant for pass through.  You will find that until the tubes are warm, sound will be a little flat.  
AVM tubes should never need replacement and were explicitly designed for AVM.  There are no alternatives.  Expectation is a minimum 10K hours

Rogue or other brands use standard tubes that are rollable.  You should expect between 4K -10K hours out of standard tubes.  
You have to be a little cautious in pairing tube preamps with SS amps.  The AVM is adjustable and is designed to pair with SS or Class D gear.  The Rogues are well suited for pairing with SS.

i have a customer who is considering trading in an ARC SP20 which is a great preamp that will work with SS gear And would work well for you.  The SE 4 input is the home theater bypass.  I could help work out a sale between the two of you or buy and resell the device.  

you don’t need a preamp if your dac has a good sounding volume control. I had a very nice newer McIntosh preamp that I sold because I hook up my dac straight to the amp and I have no need for analog sources like a reel 2 reel or tt setup. Some dacs sound better going thru a preamp so you might want to audition a couple of preamps and compare that sound against your dac connected directly to the amp
Why not buy a phono amp and run it through a volume control direct into the power amp(s)?  Less components and less wire.
If you want to listen to vinyl only a pre-amp is not contributing.  Indeed it is just adding its own signature and a little more noise.
The money you save on pre-amp and wire can go on a better front end, or whatever.
So last couple of posts are basically saying preamps may be pointless.  Maybe a Simple standalone stereo bypass device without so many preampish wires so speakers don’t need to be directly between a dac and an amp (since amp connections are used by ht system)

makes you wonder what the heck a preamp is doing to the analogue signal on its way from a dac to the amp.  Sooo mysterious!
Thanks, watched good vid.

Paul, very smart and knows his Stuff, although he seems to always start out slow, meanders around and at the end of the journey, many a time, you don’t know where you end up. A brilliant marketeer. Keeping and prolongIng the mystery, ie. by limiting the completeness of answers to basic questions. After all, I think we all know that these products become woefully overpriced as those with cash ascend up a steep diminishing returns trail.

he didn’t focus on preamp basics in any real detail, Ie. the process of achieving sound separation, the need/processes for keeping the electrons quiet, maybe talking about how the signal is transformed in a more helpful manner, power supply interference issues, connector quality, value of installing very expensive components, etc.

still a nice vid that was helpful, but a need to learn more has not been satisfied.
@emergingsoul -- agree. I think it offers some information but it's not a textbook entry on the subject. I think you're right to see that there's a fair amount of "Paul personality" mixed in with information. I learned some from these, too: 
https://www.psaudio.com/askpaul/do-preamps-enhance-sound-quality/
https://www.psaudio.com/askpaul/do-we-need-preamplifiers/
https://www.psaudio.com/askpaul/understanding-differential-preamps/
https://www.psaudio.com/askpaul/why-are-preamps-expensive/
https://www.psaudio.com/askpaul/why-arent-passive-preamps-more-popular/
You got a great DAC and power amp. All you need is a good passive attenuator: top of the range is Wavac ATT-S but you‘ll equally get great results from -say a Modsquad in the second hand market
Interesting. How does the passive atten. functionally work?  
Do I now use this to adjust volume? I now use a remote when using a preamp in bypass mode, this would now change?
Thanks
Most attenators don‘t have remote control. If that is a requirement you can get a DACPre combo a la Mytec or Antelope Zodiac or you‘ll have to get a buffer attenator a la Pass
Remote controlled passive preamps and passive with active buffers are found at the Tortuga web site.