Help me complete my system with a tube preamp (w/phono?)


Hi everyone,

I hope that 2016 is off to a great start for you.  As always, I'm very appreciative of the guidance you've given me on various topics.  I've decided to try separates in my analog-only system, and a preamp is what I'm lacking.  I have been using an integrated with an external phono stage. However, I'm going to have my McCormack DNA-125 (which has been sitting in storage since the right channel dropped out) repaired and upgraded by SMc Audio.  My speakers are Harbeth C7es3 - they fit the room beautifully and sound fantastic.  So, they often say start with the speaker and find an amp that will drive them.  Done!  

Now, I need a preamp, and I'm leaning towards tubes but not opposed to solid state - recently read a couple of very impressive reviews on the Wyred 4 Sound STP SE, for example.  My system will be analog only, so I don't need or want to pay for most of the gizmos on many preamps (HT bypass, DAC, lots of inputs, bass management, etc.).  Don't even care if it has a remote.  

I guess my question is how to maximize my budget ($2,500) for both a preamp and phono stage.  Am I better off getting a preamp with a built-in phono?  Saves money on cables and effort in matching phono amp to pre.  Or, should I get a basic tube pre (like something from Mapletree audio or Quicksilver) and then add an external phono stage?  I like the idea of one piece of equipment, but is that a significant sacrifice in sound quality? Or is there a phono stage with a volume control that can drive the McCormack well?  

Any and all thoughts welcome!

Scott
smrex13
what cartridge are you using?
Currently a Grado Statement Sonata 1, but I'm open to trying other carts.  Not married to this one.
We make a preamp called the UV-1 that might work, and we've been using the low output Sonata with good results.

If I'm not mistaken, the amp has a balanced input but will accept single-ended inputs as well. The UV-1 is unlike our other preamps in that it is single-ended, but its got no problems with lower input impedances common with many solid state amps.


Atmasphere - yes I had my eye on your UV-1.  The McCormack is single ended and has the following specs:

Input Impedance: 100 kOhms
Input Sensitivity: 1 volt rms

How do you think the UV-1 would pair with it?

Thanks, Scott
Get the Hovland HP 100 listed here on AG. I would, but am watching my pennies right now.
Audio Research (ARC) pre-amps.
+1 on the Hovland HP 100.  I still have one and up until 8 years ago had it paired with a DNA-125.  Was a very musical and compatible combo.  (Upgraded the amp to a Hovland Radia which obviously was much more $.)  Hovland preamp has a good internal phono stage which saves $ on cable given your budget.
I can recommend the Mapletree 4C. Good phono, great sound, separate PS and well under your budget.