I have recently added a tube cd player and quicksilver mini-mite tube monoblocks to my two channel setup. My last decision is whether I should replace my denon avr-3803 receiver which is being used as a preamp in order to buy a parasound 2100 or emotiva usp-1. I've heard it argued that in order to get an obvious improvement in sound over the receiver preamp, I would have to spend over $1k for a dedicated preamp.
I cross over my paradigm signature S2 bookshelfs at 100hz to my rythmik sub and the sound is seamless. I intend continue using by behringer BFD to EQ the lows and an adjustable high pass crossover is important to me. My receiver, the parasound, and the denon all offer the adjustable crossover. There are not many preamps out there that offer the sub out and crossover unfortunately.
Why not go with the Quicksilver line stage? I have often considerend buying this, as it is not too expensive and is a very well made tube preamp. It's not balance though and only has RCAs, so it won't work for me. If they ever do a balanced version, I would be interested. It is an excellent preamp from the same place that makes your amps. My dealer used one to demo amps from Wolcott, because W did not make a preamp and it sounded wounderfull.
I guess where I have a challenge is how to find a preamp which has a sub out and adjustable crossover. Because of room dimensions, I cross over at 100 hz, and as I mentioned, my rythmik sub is sealed servo and it is seamless. I sold my S8 towers because I could not manage the bass and added the EQ. My room response is now completely flat.
If I add a preamp which does not have the sub out and adjustable crossover, I will have the same room problems again. This is why I am interested in those particular units, but if anyone has experience with crossing over their speakers some other way, I am open for suggestions.
I tested the Audyssey in various high end receivers and the result was much less effective than the manual control I had over the BFD. Second, the Audyssey affected my tone in the mids and highs because of the additional analog to digital to analog conversion. My present denon receiver keeps everything in the analog domain (expect for the bass), which it sends to a digital crossover. Typically, most 2 channel purists like to keep things analog, hence the existance of analog preamps.
Get a good 2 channel preamp, it won't color the music like your reciever will (I had that same reciever, and now have the 3808ci), and you will be shocked at the sound.
I love the S2's, I think it's crazy to look at almost any other monitor, especially more expensive ones, once you had heard them. Just a great speaker.
I still like my original advice, if you need a crossover for your sub, get a Behringer, they are a great buy. Also, room correction software, and crossovers are great for movies, not music, in my experience. I finally bought a Rel sub so I could use it for both. It too forever to get the crossover set correctly for 2 channel, but it was well worth it.
Macdadtexas, Would you care to compare the sound between the 3803 and the 3808? Had denon really inproved the 2 channel that much? Have you compared any entry level preamps to the 3808, if so how do they compare? thanks
I seldom listen to my reciever in 2 channel. My preamp (Cary SLP98p F-1) has HT bypass, and when ever I use the reciever it's to watch video only, be it TV or Movies.
All music goes through the Cary preamp. That said, the only difference that I can tell between the Denon models is the set up program and graphical user interface is much better/easier in the newer model, and it has video switching for HDMI. They both sounded v good.
To let you know the difference in sound quality though, and this is very telling, my wife when I am not home, will actully turn on the Cary preamp when listening to music through AppleTV because of the improvment in sound.
Regarding the match of S2 and tube amp, you wrote:
"Based on the impedance curve of your speakers: http://stereophile.com/standloudspeakers/705paradigm/index3.html it seems that they would be a relatively poor match for tube amps."
Funny, I actually ran that impedance chart past quicksilver and the owner said that it wouldn't be an issue. There are countless testimonials of S2 owners using low powered tube amps with success. Second, since I cross them over at 100hz, my reserves are huge. Third, there is a very brief dip below 4ohms but the majority is above 8 ohms. This amp plays effortlessly and loudly at my seating position 8 ft away. Granted the S2's are not as easy to drive as the ultra efficient 94db speakers, but I am confident that they are more balanced and offer advantages that the latter do not have, but that is another thread.
Stereophile: "Its impedance (fig.1) dips briefly below 4 ohms in the lower midrange, reaching a minimum of 3.6 ohms at 180Hz, but stays above 8 ohms for much of the audioband. Even with a combination of 5.2 ohms impedance and 40º capacitive phase angle in the upper bass at 112Hz, the Paradigm will not be too demanding a load for its partnering amplifier to drive."