Help finding used SS with unity gain, $1K - $1.5K

I'm looking for suggestions on something nice in a SS preamp in the listed price range. It must have a unity gain output and a good phono stage; also, dual outputs to the power amp are desired, but not critical. Same for remote.

To help in the recommendations, I am currently using a Bedini 866 into an 803 amp. For those of you who are not familiar with this preamp, it gives me a natural, but not warm or soft, musical reproduction, with great extension in the high end, a fine natural midrange, and very good low end. It does not project a tremendously wide soundstage (in that regard I think it could be better), but does have good depth. It produces a very good sense of space around the instruments or voices... produces a very good "the music is in the room" quality without being forward or etched. Detail retrieval is very good (but maybe not great).

What I'm looking for is a used preamp with the desired qualities, that has a similar musical character - but hopefully can better it to some degree. I do not want a tube preamp. While I love what many tube preamps can do, one thing I do not want to do is get into the endless maze of tube rolling. Picking interconnects is bad enough! I'm looking for a natural sound with clarity and extension in both the upper and lower end, but not to a point of being the sort of neutral that quickly translates into "cool" and uninvolving.

Oh, I also will be keeping my Bedini amp, so anyone who knows of a match to it with a great used preamp is welcome to join in!

Showing 3 responses by jmcgrogan2

If you're talking about used prices, look for a Classe CP-50 or CP-60. I owned a CP-60 w/ phono a couple years ago, it was very nice. Powerful, rich, full and dynamic. The CP-60 with phono listed for $4195, and a used one would probably run a bit over your $1.5K, maybe $1600-$1700. The CP-50 w/ phono should be at the lower end of your range, you may even get one for under $1K. Both Classe preamps have a SSP unity gain input standard. The phono card was optional.

I'm not familiar with the Bedini amp though.

Good luck,
Yes, I would say the Classe leans towards the warmer, darker side. This actually suits my tastes, but perhaps not yours. I can't think of any other preamp, off hand, that fits your other criteria of price, phono and unity gain input. I also have quite a laundry list of requests when looking for a preamp. It's amazing how one can find something wrong with everything. I know I felt I'd be better off having one custom built, since I found no preamp to fill ALL of my 'needs'.
I would almost recommend a Krell KRC-3, as it is more dynamic and neutral than the Classe, but I don't think it has an internal phono board, I could be wrong though.

It sounds like you like the Bedini 866, why are you looking for another preamp?

I can understand that, I too have one room for my HT/stereo rig. It can be very constraining. I only mentioned the Classe, because I've used it before and it has all the features you were looking, in your price range. Now, if your going to start picking about sonic qualities....... I'm just kidding.
I don't know of any other SS preamp with phono stage and SSP unity gain in that price range.
Maybe you need to look for an integrated amp, something like a Jeff Rowland Concentra II w/phono?
Just food for thought. Good luck.