Best value in pre-owned preamps right now?


I see all sorts of deals as I think lots of people are dumping traditional analog only preamps for those that now include a DAC. Personally I'd NEVER ever want a DAC in my preamp as that technology improves by the minute.

What is your bang for the buck king right now?

I'm not at all interested in digital inputs... so keep that in mind!
hk_fan
Modwright SWL 9.0 is one of the best used deals for a gorgeous sounding tube based pre amp ($1200-$1500).
I'm with you on keeps DACs separate. If you can still find them, NuForce MCP 18a preamps we're going for $600. (Originally $1100). Pure analog, eight channels but I only use it in a stereo system DEAD quiet and as neutral as I have ever head anything. Check out the reviews. Haven't seen them used yet but should be less than $600.

If you want to try something for no cost if you don't like it.
Your MyDac has very low output impedance at 2v output, you may get the best/transparent sound using this $49 passive pre instead. For $49 it's worth a try, and it comes with a "15-Day Money-Back Guarantee"

http://schiit.com/products/sys

A Quote from the master Nelson Pass
"We’ve got lots of gain in our electronics. More gain than some of us need or want. At least 10 db more.
Think of it this way: If you are running your volume control down around 9 o’clock, you are actually throwing away signal level so that a subsequent gain stage can make it back up.
Routinely DIYers opt to make themselves a “passive preamp” - just an input selector and a volume control.
What could be better? Hardly any noise or distortion added by these simple passive parts. No feedback, no worrying about what type of capacitors – just musical perfection.
And yet there are guys out there who don’t care for the result. “It sucks the life out of the music”, is a commonly heard refrain (really - I’m being serious here!). Maybe they are reacting psychologically to the need to turn the volume control up compared to an active preamp."

Cheers George
Georgelofi,

I have seen you post this same thing several times. Do you work for the manufacturer or are you an agent?

Not at all Taters, I'm not a shill like many others on Audiogon.
I recommend this as probably the cheapest one made that is good quality.

If you hit the link, I produce an entirely different approach to a passive attenuator which I believe is even better, the theory is the same but for 11 X the price.

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?aamps&1276356977&&&/Lightspeed-Attenuator-Best-Preamp-Ever-

This Schitt SYS passive is a taste of what can be had for just $49 and with a trial period.

Cheers George
+1 for the Modwright SWL 9.0 suggestion. I've tried (multiple times) to remove the analog preamp from my system, but always come back to them. It's a personal preference, having a standalone preamp in the signal chain happens to be mine - YMMV.

I acquired a Modwright a few months ago and find it to be wonderful - as good or better than all other preamps I've owned (up to $5k). I rolled in a pair or Amperex Pinched 7119's and absolutely love it.
+1 for the Modwright SWL 9.0 suggestion. I've tried (multiple times) to remove the analog preamp from my system, but always come back to them. It's a personal preference, having a standalone preamp in the signal chain happens to be mine - YMMV.

I acquired a Modwright a few months ago and find it to be wonderful - as good or better than all other preamps I've owned (up to $5k). I rolled in a pair or Amperex Pinched 7119's and absolutely love it.
I think it depends on the budget. For a truly budget system the Schitt SYS combined with the right used power amp might prove better than an integrated.

A used Jolida or Quicksilver tube pre also come to mind as a good deal in a somewhat more expensive system.
Classe pre-amps used are typically very good value. Bel Canto also. It always comes down to these two for me when looking. I would also consider most Krells.
HK fan,

You could select one of these great suggestions, spend a fair amount of your hard earned money, hook it up to your system and hate it.

Without knowing what your audio preferences are and your system, making a suggestion is of little benefit.
Another bid for Modwright, though I use the 36.5. I also auditioned the cheaper 100 model, which was also excellent. A little more "tube like", that is some warm colouration, but very good. I compared the 36.5 with an ARC Ref 3 pre, which is more expensive and I preferred the Modwright.

Before the Modwright, I was using and in fact, still have, an excellent DIY built clone of the Music First Audio Baby reference. Others will disagree, but having tried several others, I think it is one of the best passive Pres around. I definitely prefer the Modwright, which is different in a way I prefer,rather than better, than the passive
I bought a Allnic L4000 that was upgraded to a L3000 mk2 and have never been happier; if you see one for sale you can't go wrong.
A few that come to mind....

SAS Audio preamps. Owned a 10A linestage...very good product if you can find one. I haven't seen one up for sale in years, and I'm not sure if Steve Sammet is still in business. Can't go wrong if you want to hear what a really good preamp can do for your system.

YS Audio A2. This one never gets much attention but it's a serious contender even bought new, and used it's a steal. I don't see this one come up used very much either. I'd have to spend much more to do significantly better, especially with upgraded caps and vintage tubes on deck.

Juicy Music preamps. I was just listening to a Blueberry at friend's house just a few hours ago...always impressive and extremely musical from top to bottom, with a top-notch phono stage to boot. That's a good one to snatch up if you find it.
"What is your bang for the buck king right now?"

I don't think this is the best way to go about it. Regardless of how good the deal is on a preamp, you still need to like how it sounds, and how well it matches with your other components.
Mmm depends on your budget as this is all relative. My picks would be the Audio Research Reference 5 if you want a tubed preamp & Vitus RD-100 if you also want a good dac. They can be found had $6k 2nd hand. The Ref 5 can also be upgraded to SE spec later & tube-rolled if you wanted to take it further. But if you're after a pure ss linestage, the Vitus RL-101 is amazing for the price & is based on filter down technology from the Signature and Masterpiece series.
.
My vote goes to the Audio Research Reference 3.
Right at $5k and sometimes a little less, it is a stunner.

The new Reference 6 is $14k.
.
Another vote for the Modwright. Best pre Ive owned.
Spectral DMC-10. Particularly if you need a phono preamp. Forget the DMC-6. All Class A discrete design with a real tape monitor loop. Blindingly fast. No remote. Manual volume control an input selector only.

You can probably find one for under $1500.
Cary SLP05.  $4k and it is a good one.
There is a Herron VTSP-3A pre listed for sale on this site at less than half retail right now. I have read some amazing reviews of Herron products.
agree w mapman. two under 5k Krell preamps listed now for under 5k. The road would stop w the Phantom that is listed but it's listed for 10k. 

Forgive me for saying under 5k twice. stupid head!

This may be fairly old school, but the BAT VK-3i (if you can find one) is off the scale when it comes to sound vs value. I hardly ever see them up for sale as most folks keep 'em ... they're THAT good.
Post removed 
georglelofi, I have no argument with your point of view; but just for the completeness sake, or at least the pursuit therein:
http://audiophilereview.com/amps/nelson-pass-interview.html


If you can find one, an Ayre K1xe would be perfect for you.
Can't go wrong with an Audible Illusions. Got my Mod. 2b on audiogon for $375 and it came with 5 extra tubes.  Wonderful preamp!!
Next week its the CJ this week ARC in 3 weeks BAT.
It's Christmas! Dig a little deeper into your pocket! There is plenty of gear out there! Buy for your ears!
The old Counterpoints with a few modifications.
There is an Aestheetix Calypso for sale for $2400.  A very nice preamp.
Ayre K1XE has always intrigued me.
SLP-05 is a fantastic buy.  I've owned one and it was one of the best I've ever heard but couldn't handle the lack of remote control options.
This one is easy. The Linear Tube MicroZOTL 2 used as a preamp it is a knockout! It is also a headphone amp. Friends of mine were raving about it so I took a demo home and I don't want to give it back! Really that good. I have had ARC ref 5 and CJ Art 3 for frame of reference. Mine is on order now.
Mcintosh C2300
https://www.audiogon.com/listings/tube-mcintosh-c2300-preamplifier-2017-01-22-preamplifiers-95822-sa...
Great pre w/o DAC

I recently purchased a NOS C2500 that has an internal DAC which I have no intention of using but the 3 years Mcintosh warranty cinched deal. So for a few hundred more, I got NEW and just disregard the DAC, then again I don't need a tape loop either.



A used Doge 8 tubed preamp (4 x 12AT7, 4 x 12AX7) is the best value under $1,000 at the moment.

YMMV.