Best Outboard PreAmp With Krell HTS 7.1 Pass-Thru?

I have a Krell HTS 7.1 pre-amp/processor. It works great with home theater, but not so great with 2-channel listening.

I want to add a high-end outboard pre-amp in the pass-thru mode of the processor to improve my 2-channel sound. I can spend up to $3K or so, on the used market.

The remaining system includes a pair of Krell 450mcx monoblocks and Esoteric DV50s player. Choice of music is jass, vocals and classical.

You did not specify if you wanted to go tube or solid state?
Try Blue Circle.
I would consider either tube gear, or solid state. Whichever would be most synergistic with my system.

I'm a fan of tube pre-amps, but I would not necessarily suggest it for your setup. In a combo system, using bypass, the dedicated 2-channel pre-amp would be used any time the system is in use for either 2-channel music or HT. If you used your system for TV, you would have the tube pre-amp on a lot and decrease the lifespan of the tubes significantly.

Now, if you don't use the system that much, or if the cost of the tubes in the pre-amp doesn't bother you, go for it! Otherwise, consider a solid state design.


Krell KRC-HR
I too have a DV-50 and an HTS 7.1, and have heard good things about the Audio Research LS25 MkII. It has a HT bypass. I have never tried one though.

I have also tried several other Pre/pros and from my experience, the HTS 7.1 is one of the much better ones at two channel...not that there couldn't be better -
Contact Audio-Video Logic about the Pass Labs X1 "hybrid cosmetics" they sell. Do a search here for Pass Labs and you'll find their ad. You should be able to get one for around $3K. It's an amazingly good preamp in all respects, well maybe not the shape of the remote control.