best preamp under 4000 to match 4b sst

Ok, i have just bought a Bryston 4b sst after getting a good deal at my dealer. I had started a thread earlier this week and i was told to get my amp first. So thats what i did. So now im looking for a great preamp to match up My 4b sst. I was suggest a simaudio p5.3. Any other suggestions?
A few questions for you first:

Is your budget $4,000?
(I assume you mean USD, or is that in Euros?)

Do you prefer new or used?

Do you want tubes or do you prefer solid state?

Do you need just a line stage, or do you need a full function preamp? (i.e. one with a phono stage)

Is a remote a requirement?
If you don't need a phone stage, the Dodd Battery pre, and $2,500 new is a wonderful preamp, and especially well suited to SS amps due to its low output impedance for a tube preamp. Being battery powered it is extremely quiet, almost like a passive. Worth exploring.
The 4B SST has fairly low input impedance (50 Kohm single ended/ 20kOhm
balanced), so using a SS preamp, or a tube preamp with low output
is going to be best.

Just about any SS preamp will work. I'd look at Bryston (for obvious reasons),
Klyne, Classe and Pass Labs.

For tube preamps, consider: Audio Horizons TP2.1, Modwright SWL9.0SE or
36.5, Lamm LL2 Deluxe, Atma-Sphere MP-3, First Sound Presence Deluxe II.
Basically, I believe you'll be best served with a tube preamp with output
impedance of 600 ohms or lower (lower is better in the case of the 4B SST,

I once used a First Sound Presence Deluxe II with a Bryston 4B SST with
excellent results. My favorite tube preamp in your budget range is the Lamm
LL2 Deluxe. The impedance match looks good on paper, but I've never heard
the combo.

The Atma-Sphere MP-3, Lamm LL2 Deluxe and First Sound Presence Deluxe
II do not have remote control. The Audio Horizons TP2.1 has an optional
remote control. Both Modwright preamps have remote control.
To answer your question Kurt im looking at 4000 cdn and state or tube will do. Im looking for a good combo. And i dont need phono. And remote control would be a big plus for me.

I appreciate your feed back Tvad, i did hear that bryston's preamp made the bryston a bit to bright thus the reason why i was offered to try simaudio p5.3 . I can tell you know alot about audio. I honestly have been only getting more into this over the last 2yrs thus when it comes to technical terms i get a bit lost sorry. I just know what sounds great and i do have quite a good ear when it comes to music. I am learning as i go. Thanks for your patience Tvad.
Well just put an offer on the Lamm LL2 Deluxe.
Upgrades consist of mundorf silver/gold caps, V-caps TFTF/OIMP, Hi-fi tuning fuse, mullards NOS 1950's black sable ECC82/12au7's, E88CC/6922 and mullards NOS 6x4 tube. over $2K in upgrades.
Waiting on reply

My suggestion is to buy a stock preamp. Alterations to the original unit, whether
parts or design, may change the sonic character of any component, and the
pool of potential buyers for altered gear is always smaller than the pool of
potential buyers for stock versions of the same component, especially gear with
the pedigree of Lamm (or VAC, or Pass Labs, or any other well respected brand).
I agree with Tvad's list of good preamps. For your budget I would absolutely include relatively inexpensive Joule-Electra MkII - most important, it has remote (kidding, it has remote but its not the most important). Increadible "right", natural, truthfull to real music unit. It has received Golden Ear Award from Harry Pearson of TAS last year and for goooood reason. Plus, one of the most reliable audio equipment there is ( life time is more then 5 years !)

Call Joule-Electra may be they have some demo or "B" stock (with their finish, their "B" stock is equal to triple A of somebody else) or they will refer you to some really good dealer - if there is such thing ;--)
All The Best
Parasounf JC 2, and tun them balanced. If yourt source is not balanced, time to upgrade. Raysonic 168, 228, 238 are balanced designs. My 168 is now for sale, as I replaced it with the 228. Have a max budget for CD of <$2,000, I'm your man. FYI, the variable tube output stage is so good, I sold a %3K preamp
I had a Cary SLP98 that sounded pretty good with the 4bSST.
A Premium modded Counterpoint is a great match with Bryston amps in case you come across a deal on older one....options are a good thing as usual here....
The obvious choice (unless beyond your budget) is the Bryston BP26. Have you actually heard a BP26 paired with a Bryston amp? I read that people consider Bryston equipment bright, but that's a relative term. Bryston gear is designed to be transparent and neutral. If you are looking for coloring, then look elsewhere (and probably return the 4B SST).

I've used a BP26 for several years, a few of which with 7B SST monoblocks. Compared to the previous Krell integrated amp I owned (again relative comment), the Bryston gear return music to the system.

Tvad's comment about being aware of impedance matching is very important.
I'm currently using an Audio Horizons TP 2.0n (earlier version of the 2.1n)with a 4BSSTc series using balanced interconnects and it is a stellar combination.Coherent over the entire spectrum and between musical passages it is the blackest of black.Audio Research pre amps also complement Bryston.
The BAT VK42se is a fantastic match as well and I have seen a couple within your budget.The performance vs. the BP-25 ( I haven't tried a BP-26) favored the BAT.
I have heard the bp 26 but was hoping to have something with a little more warmth. thus the reason why i was looking at simaudio p5.3
A tube preamp using 6922, 12AU7 or 6SN7 tubes can be "warmed up" by installing warm sounding tubes.

Lamm LL2 Deluxe, Audio Horizons TP 2.1, First Sound Presence Deluxe II all qualify. I'm not familiar with the BAT.

I'd avoid tube preamps based on 6H30 tubes. Not because they aren't excellent, but because you can't "warm them up" by rolling tubes.
If you want warmth I suggest a nice tube preamp. Here are two great choices;

Cary SLP98 - Great sounding pre with loads of warmth and body

Conrad Johnson LS16 - keep an eye out for a used one. This one is so warm and wonderful.
I have owned some of the tube pres mentioned here (Lamm and Joule) and I would still recommend the Dodd preamp which is less expensive than the other two to boot. To Tvad's point, the output impedance of the Dodd is very low for a tube preamp - 200 ohms I think and will drive the amp very easily in terms of impedance matching.
The Dodd preamp looks very interesting, im looking on audiogon if i can find one in maple right now. At the right price i might purchase that one. The red wine isabella seems very nice too but cant seem to find a really mint used one. Thanks for all your comments guys im researching all the pre's mentioned and trying to make a good choice here.
I will doubt finding used RWA Isabella least in a very near future.
Dodd seldom shows up for sell and when it does, it sells in few days max.
But, even for its asking price - it's well worth it.
I owned both ( still have the RWA ) and can asure you that you won't be sorry.

there are 3 audio dodds for sale on audiogon right now
>>there are 3 audio dodds for sale on audiogon right now<< is your call as always.

One thing about Dodd preamp that you should know.
It is not what I would call warmish sounding preamp.
At least not with the stock tubes (JJs).
Swapping JJs for Mullard CV2493's will give you that beautiful midrange with extra texture and well balanced high as well as low frequencies.

Isabella on the other hand is a bit warmer, define from the get go.
It is non-fatiguing, layered/textured with sound characteristics that reminds me of the analog qualities which I learned to love and enjoy.

Johnnie Walker (my favorite scotch) Black and Blue is how I would describe the Dodd and Isabella preamps. Dodd, being more like the Black Label and Isabella with all the flavor and refinement that Blue Label posses.

However I can't stress enough how beneficial and rewarding the addition of RWA Isabellina DAC option truly is. It makes the digital, I won't describe the sound characteristics with useless adjective.
It simply let you enjoy the music and hypnotize at times.

The best money I spend on digital and preamplification ever.

I would love to the Red Wine Mariusz but its more then double the price of the dodd audio
That is true..........and I do not want to suggest that you spend substantially more then the budget that you feel comfortable with.
Dodd is very, very competitive at its price..........that is without exaduration.
Now, in my personal opinion - it kills most out there.
Isabella might be exception ............... but personal preferences and system synergy plays the big part in choosing the right preamp.
I prefer more lush, rich, texture sound with huge soundstage, infinite layering and air.
Dodd is very neutral. Great design. Extremely quiet. Easy to roll tubes to fit your taste.
..................and it is an awesome value (keeps value as well if you decide to try something else and sell it), no doubt about it.

$1795.00 for a battery Dodd pre on here now. That's the lowest price I've seen for one of these.
It is a very neutral pre, but having said that I did replace one of my copper interconnects with a silver and still using the stock jjs.
System synergy is everything
I have had a dodd pre in my system for about two month now and it really sounds amazing. I also have a dodd phono stage that is also an amazing piece.
Proken where did you see you battery dodd pre on for sale at 1795? the cheapest one here on audiogon is goin for 1900$
There you go :
your chance at less

I see it here posted by "xrayz" on 12/23 for 1795.00 From the pics this one seems to be done in maple.
The JC2 is really good...
With new Dodd preamps now selling for $2290 from Underwoodwally, $1795 for
a used unit is looking over valued.
Dodd keeps value...........besides $500 difference and savings on (now not necessary) quality power cord could be used to improve other areas of the acoustics or source.

Warranty is important but as far as I know G.Dood supports his products a 100% and is very helpful if needed.

12-29-08: Mrjstark
Dodd keeps value...

Prices during the past year have continued to drop from the primary Dodd
dealer on Audiogon. I can remember when the "discounted" price was over
$3000 (before Dodd lowered the retail price).

I'd look to pay no more than $1650 for a pristine used unit with box and
manual, and I can easily see this figure at $1500 by March...but that's my
perspective and others may see value at a higher price.
Prices during the past year have continued to drop from the primary Dodd dealer.
G.Dodd regulates the prices as he sees fit. Since the direct sells were chosen over the dealer's network, price was adjusted to pass on the savings to the customers. $1795 is the lowest I have seen it sell for. For instance, I sold my Dodd for around $1950 few months back. It was gone in few days but it was very mint piece - few months old.
If you can get it for $1650 - power to you but it is an awesome pre regardless of price IMHO.

12-29-08: Mrjstark

G.Dodd regulates the prices as he sees fit.

Which is exactly why any judgment of value is temporal with Dodd equipment.

I can recall a couple years ago when $5500 Dodd amps were selling for under
$2000 on the used market (a screaming value at that price).

I'm not arguing the quality of the components, but I the price history I have
watched over the past few years does not support the value retention
argument, IMO.

The only certain indicator of value is the present market. Anything sold a few
months back...especially prior to ancient history.
I agree that the market isn't what it used to be.
It is the buyer's market now and the best time to score on some really nice deals which were unheard of few months back (if you are in that position).

No argument on this matter.

Ok well now im in a pickle, just talked to a dealer in Toronto canada and he will match the americain price for the red wine isabella. The dodd audio wud now cost me about 500 less then the isabella once you take in the exchange of our money into americain dollars. Isabella is starting to get really interesting.
I wouldn't buy either an Isabella or Dodd preamp new. I'd wait and buy a used version.

When you resell, you'll lose half the value if you bought new.

Given the option, I'd buy one of the used Dodd preamps. Try it, and live with it for a while. If you decide to try something else, then you'll recoup more of your investment.

You could also still use a Lamm LL2 Deluxe with the 4B SST. Those have held steady at around $2500 for the last four years.
500 isn't that much, given the full waranty, local dealer support and trade in option towards future upgrades or purchase.
Both brands are exceptional and pleasure to deal with.
Whatever you end up choosing, it won't disappoint.
I guess the decision will have to come down to small differences between these two and customer support.
I own(d) both of them and can't say anything bad about'em .....even if I tried.

Can you ask your dealer for audition or take it home for a test drive?
It would make sense before pulling out the plastic.
It would let you sleep better knowing that you've made the right decision.

Tvat, I haven't seen Dodd or RWA Isabella at 50% off.
Also , (I don't know about Dodd) RWA has generous trade-in program.
Vinnie might even give you full list price for your older RWA component towards the upgrade to one of his more expensive offerings.
I am certainly pleased. YMMV
One of the best customer support that I've ever encounter.
Just to give you an exemple: when I questioned Isabella's performence and doubt it being better then my own Dodd, he showed up in my house with Isabella in his hand. And no, I am not the next door neighbor. It is at least few hours drive......not many would go to such a lenght to please the customer.
I doubt that you are going to get the same service from Joe X buying used.
It is your call.
Again , nothing wrong buying used but it isn't always the case.

Mrstark, I can see I need to be quite specific here.

One can lose anywhere from 20% to 60% when re-selling a piece of
equipment originally purchased new, give or take a few percentage points
higher or lower adjusting for market supply and demand.

There is a Dodd preamp for sale now listed at $1795. Its retail price is listed
at $3300. Therefore, the asking price is 54% of the original retail price. The
preamp has not sold at its asking price for 11 days, so one can assume the
actual sale price will be less than $1795. I'll venture a guess that it will sell
very close to 50% of the original $3300 retail price, give or take a few
percentage points higher or lower.

The Isabella is a relatively new product, so there have been few, if any, for
sale on the used market. However, looking at the listings for Red Wine
products shows asking prices ranging from 60% - 64% of retail. So, it may be
true that an Isabella would sell for more than 50% of retail.

Nevertheless, 40% is a significant savings.

I have head nothing but good things about Vinnie Rossi, and I imagine he
would offer excellent service for any of his products whether they were
purchased new or used.

Excellent service has been provided to me on used components from the
following companies: Lamm Industries, VAC, Modwright, and Exemplar Audio.
Frankly, I have never had a bad experience with any manufacturer regarding
service, information, or support on used components.

However, if the OP feels more comfortable buying new, then that's absolutely
the way to go for him. I agree with your suggestion of a home trial.
>>Mrstark, I can see I need to be quite specific here.<<
So do I.

Your experience on used market simply can not be matched. (ALNBM)

>>Frankly, I have never had a bad experience with any manufacturer regarding
service, information, or support on used components.<<

It is not always the case. One of the most reputable speaker manufacturers would not even answer my question and openly stated "no support to second hand owners". YMMV

>> I'll venture a guess that it will sell
very close to 50% of the original $3300 retail price<<
(please check the Dodd website not the listed prices on AgoN)

Ones again, the retail on Dodd battery preamp is $2699 NEW (directly from Dodd Audio). Please do not tell me how much it was a year ago as the author is shopping for preamp right now.

Now, about Maverick_spd's case.
We know that he lives in Canada.
We know that RWA has a dealer there and Dodd Audio doesn't.
We know about shipping costs, customs & taxes, exchange rates and repair costs if the product isn't under warranty or if warranty isn't transferable.

Do you still believe that used Dodd is a better choice????
I love that preamp but it just seems like Maverick might be better of with new RWA preamp.

Your philosophy is valid but like I said earlier.........."it isn't always the case".

I totally agree with your last statement Mrjstark. And the dodd audio pre at 1795 i sent him 3 emails and finaly got back to me to tell me it was sold. I told him that he should mark it sold if it is and still looks like its sitting there. I also contacted dodd audio dealer and i can get a band new one from him for 2490 tax included. But i still have to figure the exchange which will be way over 3000 plus damn customs and shipping. So by the time its all done and said i may be looking at close to 3500 easily. That is why im leaning towards the isabella at the moment. I phoned the dealer we have hear in canada which is in toronto and he is about 4 hrs away from here so for me to try it out at home before is goin to be a little hard for me. The dealer was very knowledgeable and quite helpful. Now its up to me to make my final decision. I may take a drive up to Toronto or just wait to the CES show in Montreal this comming April.
Cheers guys, and thanks for all the imputs, very well appreciated. Im only 35 here and stil have lots to learn.

We're picking nits here, Mrjstark.

The $1795 preamp was purchased by the original owner when the retail price
was $3300 according to the listing. It therefore sold for somewhere around
50%-54% of the original retail price at the time the owner purchased it.

Now that the retail price has been dropped to $2699 (yet UnderwoodWally
still lists the retail price at $3300 on an ad placed just five days ago), used
prices may drop further to align more closely to the 50%-54% figure. There
are few buyers who would be willing to pay 66% of retail for a used
component ($1795/$2699 = 66%), unless they were unaware the retail price
had been substantially lowered. It's unlikely any owner of a Dodd preamp who
purchased it when it retailed for $3300 is going to list the current retail price
of $2699 in their listing. They're going to list the $3300 price and hope to
maximize their resale.

The market will tell us over the next couple of months as additional used
Dodd preamps are listed for sale. It's the same with any component.

(ALNBM)? Please explain this acronym.

Eric, don't buy anything new until you've had a chance to hear it in your
system. Hearing it a dealer or at an audio show where the system is different
from yours and the room is not optimal will provide only a glimpse of how it
will sound in your system with your electronics and in your room. If you buy
new, and if you decide it was a mistake, then you'll pay a penalty upon resale.
So, be patient and continue to seek an audition. Perhaps there's a local
audiophile who owns one of the preamps you are interested in who would
offer to bring it to your home so you could hear it in your system. Sometimes,
you have to be creative.

BTW, UnderwoodWally lists his selling price here at $2290 for a new Dodd
Audio preamp.

Eric, I have a couple suggestions:

1) Contact Gary Dodd directly and ask if you can purchase a preamp with a
14, 21 or 30 day home trial. If it helps to secure an agreement, offer to pay a
restocking fee. If Gary agrees, then expect to pay his current retail price. I
imagine in the present economy and slow business climate, he might be
open to this arrangement.

2) Ask Gary what his specific policy is regarding service and support on used

The same questions apply to Vinnie Rossi at Red Wine Audio.
If I can be of any help arranging "in home free trial", please let me know. PM

Tvad, sorry for ALNBM puzzle - at least not by myself
I haven't talked to G.Dodd in ages. There for, I can't comment on his present policies or offers. Keep in mind that Dodd is basicly run by one man. To be quite honest, I don't think he can afford free 30 days in home trial.
But like you said, it doesn't hurt to call Dodd Audio and find out.

where are you from Mariusz?
I'm from N.Y.C.
Send me private message if you need assistance or more info.