You really want an Ayre preamp. Don't go to a lesser unit..wait until your budget permits.
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A great preamp for the money and within your budget is the Coda 01p which has on board phono section. If not into analog look at the Coda 02 same unit less the phono stage. New these were near 3K. Often call the Rolex of preamps.
Of course the ultimate with that amp would be a Klyne preamp, but above your budget. Nonetheless specatcular though.
You seem to have a lot of experience with Ayre - what is your opinion on the AX7 - I don't need a ton of power with the GMAs and although the V3 is a good deal used, I am concerned about it's issues with heat and power consumption - Plus, I hear you about pairing an Ayre pre-amp, I agree that I will have to wait to buy one.
I am thinking I could just wait to find a used AX7 and be done with it.
so what do you think -
Option 1 - V3, wait for preamp (I can use my Monarchy DAC24 as tube pre-amp in the interim, it does not have balanced outputs).
wait for AX7?
Thanks for you feedback.
Forgot to menetion the Pass Labs Aleph P preamp and is every bit the measure of any ss pre I have heard. Carefully and astute shopping you might get a non remote unit for near price you have in mind. Has RCA and Balanced in and out connectors for each selection. Seldom come up for resale though. Heavy unit at 35 pounds case work milled out solid aluminum stock. If it had a on board phono section I would have one. New it sold for $4,000.00
Drewh1, My suggestion is to go with an AX-7e. Check out this system:
I've communicated with this audiophile and his AX-7e has plenty of power to drive his GMAs (though note his room is small). More than enough power for him - he listens with the volume at 15-20 indicated whereas I usually listen at 35-40 with my Vandersteen 2s (86 dB) in a medium-large room (clipping is at around 45-50 in my system). If you search the audioasylum archives, I believe you might find a post wherein Charles Hansen implies (or explicitly states?) the AX-7 is better than the V-3.
If by reading this thread your headed in the direction of an integrated as opposed to separates. Then the Pass Labs INT 150 should be on your short list. I heard that unit not long ago and hands down there is nothing and I mean nothing in an integrated that can come close to the Pass Labs INT 150. In fact I am seriously considering the INT 150 and do away with my separates. Only thing holding me back is lack of on board phono section. I do not like using outboard phono preamps. Just more cabling to deal with. If your not into analog, then this piece from Pass Labs has no peers and stands alone as the finest integrated I have ever heard and I have been in this hobby since 1957. It is mind blowing to say the least. This time around an integrated in a no excuse compromise. Only from the gifted mind of Nelson Pass, whose previous company Threshold set new world standards for high end audio.
Hey! That's my system! :) Thanks, Rufipennis.
The AX-7e is great. I would recommened finding a AX-7e, or negotiating a great deal on an AX-7 then sending it back to Ayre for a check-up and the upgrade. It sounds soooo nice with the GMA Callistos.
As Charles, says (and you can search for his post out on AA) he'd rather listen to an AX-7e w/ the L-5xe than the V-5xe / K-5xe without the L-5xe. Now, that's sayin' something.
I love this site!
I posted a wanted ad and am going with an AX-7e. Next time I will listen to Roy the 1st time! I spoke with the guys at Ayre and they recommend the AX-7e over the V3 with some pretty clear and candid comments. Ayre seems like a great company, made in US, and so far great customer support and I am not even a customer yet.
Nrenter - let me know when you upgrade your GMAs, I will take those Callistos off your hands in a heartbeat.
I will post a follow-up when I secure the AX-7e and try it out. By the way, it will be used with Anti-cables.
Drew wrote: "Do you know if the 7e is much different from the 7?".
Well, I had my AX-7 and CX-7 upgraded to "e" status at the same time so I can't disentangle the contribution of each piece but . . . the upgrade is definitely worthwhile (although I never thought my original '7s were lacking in any way). After the upgrades, my system had notably more resolution, especially in the bass. Also, music became more liquid and, well, musical. I just saw an AX-7 on the 'gon that went for $1100 (I thought about telling some of my quasi-audiophile friends about it). Ayre charges just a few $hundred to upgrade older units (the exact amount dependent on the age of the unit). IMO, money well spent! Good luck!
Thanks Rufipennis - your advice and help has been greatly appreciated.
I am going to try to find a 7e - Ayre charges $250 or $350 depending on age and still does the upgrade. I thought I missed out on the previous deal but when I add it up, I think it is less overhead to get the later model from the start.
FYI - I am on about 20 hours of listening to my Ayre Ax7e and feel pretty confident I made the right choice (I usually like to give my ears 50 - 60 hours to break in!).
thanks to everyone's input. I can sit back and enjoy the music for awhile now. I am going to review the Ayre under reviews if anyone is interested in the details.