at that price range, for a multi-input preamp you're probably best served with an adcom--either their gfp or their gtp400/450/500 units, which have integrated tuners--easily available under $200 and quite serviceable.
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You asked for used, but if not absolutely opposed to new, the Maverick Audio tube DAC /Preamp /headphone amp might be just the ticket. It's $200 and you could roll to a better tube later down the road ... like a GE 5-star 5670. With your set-up, you can go digital-in with the Oppo, put a basic Pro-ject pre between the Maverick/Rega and you're in business without dropping a whole lot a coin in the process. In addition to headphone amp, the Maverick D1 even has line-in for iPod. I have this great little "Swiss Army knife" component anchoring my office system.
I would look for a PS Audio 4.5 or 4.6 preamp. It is passive or active has an excellent phono stage that can handle LO moving coils and it's pretty versitale and has an outboard power supply that's twice the weight of the preamp. Even the PS IVH is still a pretty good unit and
is easily found under $200. There are several hafler units out there DH100 or DH101 but the PS still has a better top end than the Haflers. Good Luck
I noticed you have a Rotel amp. I have a Rotel preamp that used to drive a Rotel RB1080 and I was very happy with it. Might want to consider the RC1070 pre. I have since upgraded the amp to a tube amp and I am now in the process of upgrading my pre to a much more expensive tubed pre, so don't take my moving away from the RC1070 as a bad sign. I think the RC1070 is a very good unit.
I have not heard the Maverick that Strateahed suggests, but sounds interesting.
The amp/preamp interaction should be quite important. You might want to check with the Rotel forum at HTGuide and see what people are using. Keep in mind many there are Rotel fundamentalists, though...
My friend has B&K gear. The preamp is a CS-117 model wih built in phono section; not sure on the amp model. He runs Paradigm Monitor 9s and has a Pro-ject Debut III table. He acquired the B&K preamp for around $170 used. For money spent it the best system I've heard.
So, check out B&K gear. I prefer tube gear but must admit the B&K gear sounds much more musical than my older NAD or Aragon gear. A great bang for the buck.
prior to that had had a small preamp - Superphon I think.
That also sounded darn nice for the money.
Your not going to want to hear this, but for about $125 you can get a used Chase RLC-1 remote controller. This unit is a basic line controller, e. g. pre amp but has a remote that does all the controls. The remote controls line source selection, balance, tremble, bass and volume. It produces 'clean' sound equal to a $5K unit that I have. Check e-bay. The unit comes up often. Well worth a try, if you don't need a phono in a unit. .
Thanks for the suggestions. I was a total dufus and forgot to list that I have a phono preamp, a NAD PP-2. Not sure if that would change any suggestions.
It certainly doesn't need to be used gear, new is fine, but I'm not sure I can get a decent piece for under $200 by buying new.
That Maverick Audio pre looks interesting. I'll be checking out preamps all day it looks like.
If you can find a Forte' model 2 pre, that would be an excelent choice! Pure class A, seprate chassis power supply, Nelson Pass designed, has a phono stage built in (tweek-able) and it's built like a tank full metal black chassis! It's quite, low distortion was a steal back in the day @ msrp $1,100, and would be a crime today to pass one up which would sell in your price range today. It's a jewel! Sold mine to a buddie and I'm still amazed at how awsume it sounds thruogh his Rotel amp.
I agree with several of the people who commented here. If you can find a used Superphon Revelation Basic or Revelation Basic Dual Mono, PS Audio 4.5, 4.6 or IVH, or B&K Pro 10 preamp that would be the ticket. A Dyna PAS 2 or PAS 3 is also a killer tube preamp. I believe all of these have phono sections superior to the NAD phono preamp...you never mentioned what amp you have?
To the above suggestions I would add the Hafler DH-101. I would just pull the trigger on something recommended above and listen to see if it rings your bells - not all old NAD, Adcom, etc. were equally adept, nor will all match well with your amp. Just have to try and see. If not to your liking and the piece is in decent shape, you can sell and try another.
Just to share my experience since I have both Maverick tube audio DAC and Rotel RC-1070. I did a test, to me, witht he preamp sounds better than without. Also, I tried with and without the DAC, I couldn't hear any difference. So, I would suggest to get a preamp. And before I got the RC-1070, I got a Adcom GFP-710 for $200. It sounds good, but it sometimes sound harsh. The Rotel sounds darker, not as harsh, and can listen for longer hours without fatigue. Although I sold it and get a audible illusion tube preamp, I actually think RC-1070 is quite a good for the money. You can find one for $300, $100 over your budget though.
Thanks for all of the suggestions guys. Much appreciated. It looks like there is not shortage of preamp options and like somebody in the thread said, it might be a good idea to just get and see how it goes. Which is what I did.
I went with a B&K PT3. It sounds like it's a nice piece and I liked that it has a headphone out since we do have a baby on the way, I'm guessing that I might be doing some headphone listening.
Thanks again for all of the input.
So here is my system that should be setup in a few days.
NAD 533 (Rega P2 clone) - turntable
NAD PP-2 - phono preamp
Goldring Elan - cartridge
OPPO 970HD - CDP
B&K PT3 - preamp
Rotel RB 1050 - amp
Linn Espek - speakers