Audio research or Manley 300B pre amp for Upgrade

Dear: my respected fellow audiogon members,

After deciding on my speaker upgrade, I am now about to seek some improvement in my audio system. As currently using audio aero capitole mk2 source conected directly to my manley snapper monoblock, I was advised by some friends that I should instead add a Pre amp. However, as I read through some of other members discussion, I found out that there were pros and cons regarding the pre amp usage after the aero. Some opinions hold it strong against pre amp addition as it will alter the purity of signal coming out of the aero, whereas some others believe that by adding pre amp there will be more body to the music as well as depth and staging width improvement.

Now, that I have the choice to tryout for a pre amp, should I go for the Audio research pre such as ls27 or even the reference 5, or should I go simpler by using the single ended manley neo-classic 300B pre amp (which doesn't have the XLR connection).. I lean towards all genre of musics (country, jazz, classical, soft rock) with exception of hard musics..

Would anyone share with me some great expertise and wisdoms.. Thanks all..
Hi Jonathan,
Personally,going direct works for me. I realize that I'm losing some weight but the lifelike tones and purity I get from the Frankenstein 300b is a choice I can live with.
That being said the best active pre amp I have heard in my system is the Coincident Statement. It preserved almost everything I look for while adding weight and dynamics that made my 8 watt amp really come alive. If your dealer has one to audition it is worth a listen.

Without question the LS27,No need to get to the ref.5
Stating something as "without question" in this hobby seems quit ignorant. I fancy Audio Research and love the synergy between Manley gear. However, my experience doesn't count in your setup. Yet, I have the Neo-Classic 300B preamp driving the Snappers: and they are just plain beautiful together when it comes to projecting music. After reading the advices, you should probably listen by yourself.

You mention that you seek more body, stage widening and depth. My experience with the Manley 300B preamp driving Snapper is that it excell in portraiting body, 3D presentation and timbre.
Body stage depth
I agree that was poorly stated.What I meant to say was in my mind the LS27 sounds great and that's the first one I'd reach for. I'm getting older and sometimes my brain doesn't keep up with my fingers.
I do really like Manley stuff,And had a pair of Snappers and a LS26 and they sounded great.
Dear: musicophile and efner (and montejay too)

Thanks for the great advise, my only concern with the 300B neoclassic pre is that it doesn't have the xlr connection compared to the ARC. Would that single ended connection be a downside or instead a benefit in that sinergy?.. I want my music to come alive with good body and speed.. Of course with sweetness as well..I was told by a friend, the single ended connection is going to be sweeter whilst the xlr will give me more speed, transient, body and attack..does this concern you guys at all?. ..
Efner: I appreciate your elaborated answer.

Jonathan: RCA connection between preamp and Snapper doesn't concern me, as it doesn't concern Manley: they designed Snapper differentially balanced but their preamps single-ended because they think that works best together. You can send EveAnna or Chris at Manley an e-mail about the topic: they can give you the reasons why they designed it this way. Anyway, the synergy between Neo-Classic and Snapper is just awesome. Just think about it; an incredible idea - driving EL34 by 300B. And it works magic. Just my subjectivistic opinion and experience.
Dear: musicophile

Thank you for your great and valuable advise.. I will give it a try, and see how it works, I think, I will agree with your lead.. Have a great weekend..
Jonathan: Let us know about your decision and impressions.

I have faith in the importance of a preamp. I write "faith" because I can't back it up technically. However, listening has consistently given me the impression that a preamp influence the musical gestalt, especially dynamics, body and timbre. For me these are more important dimensions than transparency.
The Coincident Statement linestage is simply outstanding! Montejay is correct in his description. However if for you it comes down to either the Manley or the Audio Research, given your system and preferences I`d select the Manley preamp in a heartbeat.
Best of Luck,
Dear: Charlesdad and Musicophile

I think I would strongly agree with you guys, I tried the shrimp yesterday (got it from a friend) and the entire set up really opened up a new dimension of musicality.. With the shrimp (comparing it to going direct from Aero to Snapper), music sounded magical, with greater balance and focus, timbre and body, overall it sorts of widen the sound stage to infinity.. And there seems to be no veil between listener and music,.. I would be quite sure, that it would be much better with the Manley 300B pre combination...I am ordering my 300B pre on my shortlist..once again Thank you very much for your generous expertise..
Exciting, I concur with your impressions. A good preamp opens up a system: it gives it life, organical flow, dynamics and timbre nuanceses. I once tried Jumbo Shrimp with Snappers, it was really good. However, the 300B is in a different league. The Neo-Classic 300B preamp is bold, plays music with authority and finesse.

Come back and share your impressions.
I agree, that`s a very good description of what a truly high quality active preamp will add to improve a system`s overall sound as compared to going the direct source-amp route.
Hi Jonathan,
I agree with a lot of what Charles and Musicphile say about a quality pre. My preferences not withstanding, I can see the benefit.
You are making some significant changes to your system (have your new speakers arrived yet?). With an opportunity to audition a couple of pre amps around the time I aquired my current Coincident speakers, I actually started getting confused with all the changes that I really didn't appreciate what the speakers were doing until I simplified my system.It is possible one day,I may go back to the Coincident Statement or another 101b tube based preamp. What was just needed was time for the system to settle before determining what each new component and cable was contributing to the sound.
I will say that my system has not had any significant change (other than my source)in the last two years and am VERY happy.

Dear: Montejay

Thanks for the truthful approach, I think you are absolutely correct, I need to really settle with the new changes(speakers) first, and literally go step by step from there to really determine what is "right" for the entire set up. I agree with you that each new component would certainly bring up (or improve) the performance of the whole picture..I would go step by step..and see how each pre amp would behave in my set up...Great ideas..