Searching for the best preamp under 10K is like looking for the best wine. The interface with your amp and source are very high priorities, and your musical taste is another factor to figure in the equation. Avoid what folks say is the "best" and buy what will work in your system. I would look at Spectral, Levinson, Krell, Pass Labs, and others. Give them all a good listen and then narrow the list. Above all trust your ears. Jeff
Check out the Ayre K-1 and K-3 which both can be bought without their respective phono stages.
I'd recommend Ayre K-1X this is it ...the best soild state pre,certainly better than the ones mentioned in an original tread
The latest "Inner Ear" magazine, talks about the importance of the pre-amp, and also they are reviewing few! So, you may get an idea?
CTC builders Blowtorch preamp
Blowtorch pre?is that you sluggo?or just a wannabe sluggo?
First Sound Paramount Preamp http://www.firstsoundaudio.com/ I have the deluxe, and if it can get any better than this only Emmanuel can do it.
Threshold Fet 10E. Just an amazing neutral, dynamic and accurate preamp. Incredible mids and no coloration and rolloffs. You are hearing the real recording. Have tried more expensive preamps but the Fet10E just flat out beat them.
AvgguyGeorge, why the comments about Sluggo on the Blowtorch suggestion ? While i've never heard or seen one, i have no doubt in my mind that it will hang with the best of them. Sean >
Sean, checking the net I discovered CTC Blowtorch preamp is real, a John Curl collaboration retail $9000. Unit is being promoted by Bound for Sound magazine. At first I too thought this was a joke, strange name, very much like a Sluggo joke. I have no comment on 10k preamp as my entire system cost is under that amount! Sam
Sam, i new exactly what it was, but meant that i had never seen or listened to one in person. I know that it is a collaboration between John Curl, Bob Crump and someone else with their last name starting in T, hence the CTC company name. Unfortunately, i can't remember that gentleman's name right now. Having read about the basic design and knowing the integrity and level of skills / knowledge of 2 out of 3 of the builders, i had no doubts that it is truly excellent. Sean >
The T is for Carl Thompson who does the circuit board layout on the blowtorch. I just replaced the CAT ultimate with an Aloia preamp. A steal at under 4k
I recommend the Placette buffered pre - take the money-back trial offer - you will not regret it (unless you dislike the looks or ergonomics).
Rowland Coherence II. Just bought a demo for $9000. David
Why not a tube linestage? They are easy to maintain and don't get hot? They also are more dimensional and natural sounding. I would recommend the Thor TA-1000. Write me if you want more info. mike
Check the latest The InnerEar mag. It covers great deal of its reviews on pre-amps. Sugden Masterclass, won their highest score, about 3K(US)