I'm really surprised at all the responses I received on this question. It's good to see so many who are willing to commit to an opinion.
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Hello Handymann - I will share a suggestion with you for a preamp in this system - the VAC Renaissance should be perfect for what you need. It has XLR ins and outs, can have a great phono stage, has a remote, is fast, has great harmonics in the mids and great extension at the frequency extremes. When paired with s/s amps, it will add just a touch of warmth without any sonic drawbacks. All of VAC's designs are very low heat/long tube life designs and VAC has excellent customer support should the need EVER arise. Good Listening!
I will pipe up here!
The Krell KMA 160s are one of a handfull of classic audio products that deserve a place in Breuninger's Audio Hall of Fame- compare to a 65 Mustang or 67 Camaro.
They produce a wonderful round and dimensional sound and would fair best with a cool and accurate tube preamp such as a Wyetech or Audio Research. I ran a pair with a Motif MC-7 and it was a perfect match. Those Krells are keepers and when you find the right preamp you will enter audio Nirvana.
I was going to suggest Convergent Audio w/phono which I've heard with various Krells, including the KMA-160's, and they do sound fabulous together. But... the suggestion for a somewhat current VAC might be even better since you could use XLR's which would probably lower your noise floor a bit. Either combination would make beautiful music!
Thanks to all of you who answered. Have any of you had any experience with the YS brand Audio Experience A2 or A2-SE. It has 2-12AT7's & 1-5687WB in each channel. It has both single ended as well as balanced inputs/outputs. It doesn't match the quality of the Krells for sure-just wondered. Also, since it sounds like some of you have the "160's", at what age would you suggest a "CAP" or general Overhaul? I have been very pleased with these amps.