Would an integrated tube preamp sound better than say a Maxxed out or Cary 98 paired with another separate? What's the best solution given my system for about 3k with prepared gear?
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Just purchased a Belles 150A Reference amp.
You need to look at the gain and input impedance, before jumping in, so should others.
With an input impedance of 100kohm and gain at only 1.27v!! for full output the 150A is begging for a passive preamp or active with very low gain.
As a medium/high gain preamp will have it’s volume control too low down for very high listening level already, not giving you much control over the volume, and also having higher noise figures because your throwing away the sources gain.
A Shiit Freya will give you the option of passive, tube or solid state outputs at lower gain than normal active preamps. As it has many good features.
And get a good phono stage with low output impedance with medium to high gain.
Is there a simplified video crash course or articles that help me understand why those numbers should be alarming to me.No not really that you would understand.
To put it simply as possible, most sources have over 2v output, your 150A only needs 1.27v in, for it to give full watts output.
So you don’t need more gain from an active preamp. What you need is a preamp with little or no gain.
This is why the Schiit Freya is a good match as it has little or no gain, depending on which output you use.
What would an acceptable small amount of gain?
Still something like the Freya, would be the best as it’s the only one I know of with low or nothing gain, and you have the choice of tube, solid state or passive output.
And it's remote volume with the best, 128 position relay controlled, multiple inputs, and outputs, single ended or balanced. And you can sent it back if you don't like it.
Looking into the Schitt FreyrIt doesn’t have a phono stage in it, but they do make one, the MC or MM Mani that has a nice low 75ohm output impedance and adjustable gain settings. So you'd need both the Freya and the Mani.
ironclaw1; Listen to one who knows! John Rutan of Audio Connection is The MAN. He set me straight on my whole system. I have a Rega Apollo-R, with AQ Wind into an Audible Illusions 3A, AQ Wind IC into the Belles 150A Ref amp, AQ Oak Bi-Wire into Vandersteen 2Ce. This will blow you away in dynamics, soundstage, sweet highs, mellow mids and bolted to the ground -wall shaking BASS! Regards, Thomas