Rogue RP-7 fits the bill nicely, and a plus if you're happy with Rogue, generally.
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I would highly recommend the PS Audio BHK Signature preamp to hit exactly the sonic priorities you outline. I sold my VAC Ren Sig II for it, and it just plays music so absorbingly. I am sure you can get one for less than $5.5k if you contact a dealer (and they should let you audition first before committing to buy). I bought mine from The Audio Surgeon in Michigan after getting a home audition. It was an easy decision for me in my system.
What about true balanced (ie, dual mono) tube HIGH BANDWIDTH preamp? Does such a thing exist on the face of the Earth?@madavid0 Yes, but to be clear dual mono and true balanced are two different things.
Our MP-3 preamp is based on the first balanced preamp circuit ever sold to high end audio (our MP-1). It has a direct-coupled output (despite being a tube preamp) and has bandwidth to about 400KHz.
You might want to consider a used Nelson Pass designed Adcom 750 with the blue circuit board. Stereophile rated class A. Then send it to Musical Concepts and have it modified to Elite level for 600.00.
This is what I did,I bought the Adcom new when they came out. 2 months ago i had it modified.The Modification is extensive and really elevates the sound imaging and creates a warm delivery.
Quick update, I’ve purchased a Pass Labs XP-12 and I’ve upgraded my XP-15 phono pre to the new XP-17. Both pieces purchased through Mark at Reno HIFI (but of course.) Second purchase with Mark and I was able to take advantage of the upgrade/trade-in program. Also picked up a ZU Event MKII XLR to connect both pieces which will provide an additional 6db of gain.
Can’t wait to get these into my system and give them a go...will report back once they’ve settled in if anyone is interested.
@hifi78, I know it’s odd right? There was one review, in German no less. There was a video of interest with zu and Pass showing together which was somewhat helpful for the simple fact that I trust both companies to make good product. I have the XP-15 which was an eye opener when I introduced it into my system. One thing I did read was that Pass doesn’t roll out new models for the heck of it, there needs to be a dramatic change for them to update the lines. I think it was 7-8 years since the XP-15 debuted. I prefer that in a company rather than one with new models annually...that’s a wheel I don’t want to run on...I’ll keep you posted.
I had the Rogue Hera II preamplifier with two XA60.5 power amps, and could compare it to Audio Research Ref5SE and Coincident Statement Preamp, all on Luxman M800’s mono and some Vivid speakers. The Audio Research was a bit as « raw » compared to the Hera, so Rogue was a better choice than the more expensive highly rated AR.
But finally, The Coincident Statement Preamp had far more transparency and fluidity than the two others, there is no secret: no coupling caps, the use of high quality coupling transformers and transformers volume control, external power supply made with many MKP caps, and the 101D tube triode in middle , no other active part in the signal path, and a true balanced design . Add to this the direct sell of Coincident and you have probably the best money can buy for 5500$. The Cronus Magnum may be the weak link after that?...
I bought the Spread Spectrum Technologies(SST) Thoebe II a few weeks ago. Came with the two options offered, Phono and DAC input stages. Also has HT pass through which I need since I use a 7-channel HT amp for two channel and home theater audio. The MSRP is $5200 but I found one for $3000. The professional reviews of the Thoebe II are excellent. I opened it to access the Ethernet port to install a firmware upgrade to add the HT capability. I can say it is well built and works flawless. The support from the SST people via email and Facebook is excellent.
The Sutherland N-1 may be a bit out of your price range but not by much and it is strictly single ended. Maybe the best preamplifier on the planet.
Check out the following links:
Owners Manual http://www.sutherlandengineering.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Sutherland-N1-OwnersManual.pdf
Unless you are heavily invested in balanced interconnects and components with balanced input connectors, I am baffled by your criteria that limits the preamplifier to balanced inputs and outputs.The OP makes perfect sense to me. It looks like he's using a turntable as his main source, and a phono cartridge is an inherently balanced device. I'm pretty sure that his Pass phono preamp is also fully balanced/differential, so it makes sense to then use a balanced, fully differential preamplifier in the system. Maintaining balanced connections will minimize the system's susceptibility to RFI and other noise, and will also minimize the extent to which cable characteristics will influence the sound of his system.
@cleeds @perazzi280 @atmasphere the pass xp-15 (and new 17) does not have a balanced input. My only source is a TT. I asked Pass Labs directly why no balanced in? FWIW, I received the following response:
”Probably because there are no phono cartridges with a center tap (6-wires) . So in terms of what we do with a balanced circuit you'd have to emulate that imaginary mid point.. At those signal levels it's always been a step backwards at the first gain stage. The super-symmetry circuit does that quite nicely but only at higher signal levels. Secondary is SE cables generally have lower reactance per foot than balanced cables.”
I too have Pass gear now. Pair of XA 160.8s and a XP 20 that I bought from Mark. I also have a Xono phonostage that I bought from Mark 10-11 yrs ago. The Xono has balanced inputs and outputs.
Now that I found the appropriate Balanced ICs to use with my Pass gear; I am very happy with my system.
I am planning on the purchase of a Technics 10R with a Tri-planar 12” arm terminated with XLRs.
I am not a technical guy and would like to know if having the Tri-planar terminated with XLRs will give me the benefits that using XLRs from the Xono > XP20 > XA 160.8s has?
Will I continue to get the noise rejection, low level detail etc. by having the Tri-planar terminated with XLRs?
I am surprised that the new Pass phono stages do not have balanced in/outs.
@nkonor , the Pass XP-15 and 17 have balanced outs, just not ins..That's not quite correct. What defines a balanced circuit isn't really the connector - it's the circuit. A phono cartridge is inherently balanced; that is, it has a separate hot for each channel, a separate ground for each channel, and an earth ground. So when you connect a phono cartridge to a balanced differential preamp such as the Pass, you're providing it with a balanced input even if it's using RCA connectors.
I hate to say it (and also a bit surprised, given the source), but this statement is actually false:
”Probably because there are no phono cartridges with a center tap (6-wires) . So in terms of what we do with a balanced circuit you'd have to emulate that imaginary mid point.. At those signal levels it's always been a step backwards at the first gain stage. The super-symmetry circuit does that quite nicely but only at higher signal levels. Secondary is SE cables generally have lower reactance per foot than balanced cables.”You don't need or want 6 wires to do a balanced connection!! - you need only 2 for one channel, for a total of 4. The tone arm ground acts as the shield of the interconnect cable and. Collectively, these connections are then pins 2 and 3 of the XLRs of each channel, and pin 1 of both channels (shield) is the tone arm ground. If there were a center tap (and if it were used) it would actually **degrade** the balanced performance. Instead, the input circuit is built to ignore ground and only amplify what is different between the inverting and noninverting inputs, which in this case are the pins of a normal cartridge.
I think Nelson knows this, my surmise is the answer given to you didn't come from him.
To take advantage of the balanced nature of the cartridge, and also the balanced differential nature of a phono preamp, the XLR connection must be used as it does not unbalance the signal in any way, whereas an RCA connector does. So while cleeds' answer above is mostly correct, the bit about the XLR connector as I have mentioned here should be recognized.
Our preamps have had XLR inputs for the phono since they were first introduced in 1989.
Clarity as is usual. I think you know that I am saving my nickels and waiting for the final design of the Technics 10R. Hope they design it with “Other arms” in mind.
I did receive a notice from, I believe Panasonic, that a new tonearm was being designed and would come out at a later date than the 10R.
Nothing is final until you actually see it on the market. So, I am waiting and saving.
You seem to have answered my question. That, it would benefit me to have the Tri-planar arm cable terminated with XLRs as long as I had appropriate inputs to plug into at the preamp or phonostage
You seem to have answered my question. That, it would benefit me to have the Tri-planar arm cable terminated with XLRs as long as I had appropriate inputs to plug into at the preamp or phonostage@nkonor, If the phono section is actually balanced differential, yes. Its hard to imagine that it would not be, given how much dealers over the years have resisted using balanced connections on the phono! If you are comparing preamps for a customer, its a lot harder if one uses a different input connector. So it won't be there on a phono input unless it really works.
So the advantage is that the tone arm cable will simply not add or subtract from the signal in any way, which is quite unlike a single-ended connection where the cable can and will editorialize on whatever is going through it.
Seems to me if there is only one place to have a balanced connection, the phono is the place to do it. You'll get more of the signal and less of what isn't, which is what we are all after- the music.
I've heard both the 9.5" and 12" arms on the Technics SP10 MkIII, if the 10R is anything like that it will be one of the best arm/turntable combinations at any price. A lot does depend on how well Technics executes their plinth! I am looking forward to it...