Looking for a new pre-amp!!

At present I have a Belles OCM 200 Amp and looking to up grade to a better pre amp. Looking at a Adcom 565

Sunfire pre amp and Aragon 18k or 24 unit. Also thinking about the Emotiva usp 1 pre amp. I a two channel guy and looking for the best unit with a phono section and great sound.

Any ideals as to the best pick for under a 1000  dollars?


At Under $1000 you'll find several good pre's.... if you want an Adcom, you can grab a GFP750,  best preamp to ever come out with the Adcom label... Its passive and active both. I don't believe that It has phono, but there are several good phono sections cheap.... I can recommend a few, but I'll start with The DB Systems DB8. 

 Tks Timlub,

                   That Adcom 750 does not come up for sale to often and they are asking for 800 to 1000 plus sometime . I have heard a lot of good things about that model.


Hi Wayne,
Looked on Ebay,  a few really nice bang for the buck...
Arte Forma Perla preamp
Muse Model 3 Signature
PS Audio PCA2
Parasound Classic 2100 (new inexpensive, but decent pre)
I hope this helps, Tim

To All ...how does that Emotiva usp-1 pre amp sounds? No tone controls or balance functions.


Hi Wayne,  came across 1 more on ebay for you:
As far as all the models that I have sent vs the Emotiva...Here is my feeble opinion:
*The Emotive with the right equipment can be decent.... I've only heard it once, but in a system that I wasn't familiar with. Many report that it can be edgy & bright, but overall a good value and again with a good gear match can be satisfying.
*Adcom GFP750 is an oldie but a goodie, Nelson Pass piece.  Remote, balanced and single ended, passive and active.  Detailed yet no grain.
*Sunfire haven't heard it, this model has a decent rep.
*Aragon 18/24... I've heard the 24, pretty good really, smooth, decent detail, but single ended only, no remote... should be low price.
*Parasound Classic 2100... I consider this in the league of all the above. Except maybe the Adcom.  A touch smoother than the Emotiva, but not much.
NAD C165BEEE Similar to the Parasound... adds a bit of warmth.  nice piece.
In my opinion,  the PS Audio,  The Muse and the Arte Forma Perla are all 3 in another league from those listed above.

Back in the day, I had two OCM 200's used as monoblocs (Used the xlr input). I was using an OCM 88 preamp which was a superb combo. Only issue was the step values on the remote volume control. I believe it was 1 db which I felt was too large.Living only an hour from the Belles factory, I took it to Dave. He modified it to either .5 or .75 db. not sure which but it was much better than the original value. You'll get many replies to your question, but the OCM 88 IMHO is a real sleeper preamp and a great compliment to your amp.

I'd go for the listed, Quicksilver, Full Function Tube Preamp w/ phono. Still one of the most versatile,w/ huge power supply, very good phono section best sounding preamps you can find for around $1000. Try changing out some of the caps for Dynacaps. Cheers.

Look for a Parasound Halo P3. Fits all your requirements.
If you're thinking about an Adcom 565 remote control must not be a concern. The 565 was ok in its day but there's so much better even in the same era. Might be just a little out of your budget but a great preamp which you'll be able to resale if you ever do so, for what you paid. Conrad Johnson PV12 with phono. Only issue is there is no remote. Heard most of the units noted on this post and I'd go for the CJ easily over them. Another great preamp in the used market but no phono section is a ModWright SWL 9.0 SE which has a very basic remote. Wonderful preamp which again you won't lose money on and they resale fast because it's a killer preamp. A lot of nice affordable outboard phono preamps out there so I wouldn't shy away from buying a line stage preamp and pick up a used Cambridge Audio 651P phono preamp or other.

Should be able to find a used Rogue Metis Magnum under a grand. I have one in my system now and love it. Best of all tube rolling can be fun. It's made in America and you can call Bill at Rogue anytime if you have a problem. 
Check out the Vincent Audio pre for sale here on AG. $475 asking price, no phono however you will have money left over for stand alone phonostage. 

Also a Quicksilver for $645. 

I am a fan of tube pre with SS amp.

 Yes I have look into the Vincent Line on Audio Adivsor  catalog the SA-31 model very straight forward. How does the sound stage sound is it very detail ?


Wayne, I have not owned the SA-31. I have owned the Vincent 226 integrated and thought it outstanding for it's price class. Great soundstage with good resolution, not overly analytical. Convinced me to stick with the tube pre/SS amp concept. 

I think the used SA-31 on sale here is offered at a very fair price. It is a very recent production and comes with a pair of interconnects. A highly regarded budget pre. You would need a phonostage however. 

Not affiliated with seller. Check out his/her feedback.
+mesch Vincent is a very good value having owned an sv237 (I regret selling it) and plan on moving to Vincent seperates. 

I should disclose that I do know the seller but can say that he takes excellent care of his gear. I haven't heard this preamp so I cannot comment on it but I will say that it was because of this lengthy thread on another forum that Vincent showed up on my radar. It's a pretty good read if you have the time.


The Emotiva XSP-1 is an excellent pre amp. Another option is Brown Audio Labs from Texas. Their Pre amp also has an excellent phono stage. It is Tube / solid state hybrid. 
Another vintage hi-end option is Onkyo integra P 388.

Many Belles amps are just around 1v input sensitivity for full output.

Make sure you pick either a passive preamp or active with little or unity gain.

The last thing you want is to have loud listening level around 8 to 9 o’clock on the the volume knob.

And if your source/s have higher than 2v this will exacerbate the problem even more.

Cheers George
For just under $1000, you can build the SP14 kit from VTA and get something to set up against those much, much more expensive preamps you see on Audiogon.


...or you could build the same sort of thing from scratch using boards from Glass-ware Audio. Would cost you about $500 in parts.


Just google "aikido preamp" and do some reading.