Looking for advice on amp/pre amps...

Hi all, i'm new to Audiogon and i LOVE it! I'm looking for advice on amps/preamps. I can spend in the $2k price range, maybe more. I listen to all types of music, mostly pop/rock. I'm looking to power my Paradigm Studio 100's. I have little to no knowledge on this subject, but am willing to do research and take advice. I'm going to listen to CD's and watch movies and would like to have a nice surround sound set up. I guess thats all, please help! thx, Bob
Sit down at the computer with pen & paper & start taking notes by searching the archives, both here & at AA. When you've compiled a list of pieces that seem like they fit your listening parameters, then you can start auditioning. Please also research auditioning, taking into account new vs. used vs. bricks & mortar vs. the web.

There are also a few other important considerations, specifically your room & your AC. The room plays a huge role in the overall sound & synergy issues & AC should also be considered. Do some research in these areas too.

That's it in a nutshell & that should keep you busy for many hrs. You'll be glad you took the time to do a little research, as you'll have a better understanding of what's out there & the interplay between it all.

Welcome to A-gon & I suggest you make decisions based on what you hear (in home auditions are best), not what somebody else tells you sounds best, although reviews & suggestions can be a good place to get information. I would be hesitant to make any recommendations based on such a broad question & simply suggest you do some research.
Very true and thats what i'm doing atm, thx for your reply. I guess at this point im going to keep on researching to get my audition list narrowed. Re-reading my original thread i realize that it is a very broad question and does need to be narrowed. Thx again, Bob
Driver is 100% correct. Here are some suggestions for your consideration:
-Prepro and amp for under 2K is difficult to do
-Try getting a good prepro (Audio Refinement Pre2-DSP or NAD T197 are good options)
-Mate it with a good 2ch amp until you can afford to expand your system (Parasound is a great bang for the buck even new, which does give you a warranty)
-By only buying equipment that you can continue to use and buid up from you will not be disappointed by buying everything all at once on a limited budget.
The best solution in your pricerange is a Panasonic SA-XR45 or SA-XR70 (due out shortly). These are around $400 and give you 100 watts per channel. They can be modded for around $1000-$1200 and sound superb once modded. You will not be able to achieve this kind of sound for less than $3-4K using separates.

What components do you currently own and intend to use in a future system? Do you have a dedicated CD player, DVD player, VCR? Depending on your answer, there are some other possibilities concerning a "stepped" approach toward a future HT/surround system.

Instead of buying a pre/pro and amp now, you could buy a quality integrated amp (especially one with an HT/processor bypass loop) to power your Paradigms now and have a good 2 channel system. You could then add HT in the future by getting a good HT receiver that has pre-amp outs and you could use it to power your center channel, surrounds, LFE subwoofer and support your digital source components.

If you do it this way, you won't necessarily have to sacrifice any 2-channel sound quality today and then when you add the HT receiver in the future, you will also have good surround sound quality.

There are many great integrated amps on the market today for well under your $2000 budget.

This type of setup has been discussed many times here and on the AudioAsylum forum. Look for subjects like "combining 2-channel and HT". You can also do a forum search using my user name "Reubent" to find my previous comments on this type of setup.

Of course, another option would be to buy a quality receiver now and then buy a quality integrated amp (or power amp) in the furture to improve the 2-channel music portion of the system. The B&K AVR-202 at about $750-900 used would be an excellent choice. Or you could move up the B&K line and still be within your $2k budget. Heck, you might like these receivers so much that you won't feel compelled to spend any more money in the future!


Wow, very nice suggestions, i should clarify one thing, i am able to spend roughly 2k on each piece, pre amp, amp, cd player(or combo), etc. I'm single atm so really money is not a big concern however, i'd like to keep it somewhat reasonable. Keep the info coming, i love it, thx again, Bob
Oh, sorry forgot to include my current system. Keep in mind i didn't do research and made the mistake of the local salespitch/costs alot so it has to be good.

-Pioneer Elite VSX-09TX reciever(looking for more music oriented system, less movie surround sound)

-Pioneer Elite DVL-91 cd/dvd/ld player(played 20times broke, no one seems to be able to fix it)

-Paradigm Studio 100's v.2(just picked up slightly used for a song, the reason i'm looking at upgrading.

-Roughly a 15'x30' living room in an apartment, off it is the kitchen with open bar, the other side is 4 - 4'x6' windows with curtains.
Things i've learned in a short period of time thx to you guys and the forum...

1. Nobody knows what sounds good to me except me
2. Don't buy the first thing u see/hear
3. I need to get educated(in the process) on just what the heck everyone is talking about, lol, i really am a newb. Meaning, terms, tech, etc. what is obvious to most of u, is French to me.

Keep the info coming! Thx again, Bob
Sorry, i forgot to mention my goal with the system is mainly listening to music, then movies. I'm more concerned with how my music sounds than if bullets seem to be coming from all directions. Don't get me wrong, i love movies, its just if i have to pick one or the other i'm more concerned with its definitly the music.
Look for Sean,or the audioengr guy on this site,they are real knowledgeable,good luck,Bob
The NAD T163 (notT197) retails for 1,499. It gives you lots of flexability which you may need plus all of the latest and greatest.
The Parasound A52 retails for 2,000 and is a beefy 5ch amp.
The Parasound A23 retails for 850 and is a 2ch amp almost identical to the A52 but just a little better (higher amperage output, 2ch share one power supply rather than 5ch).
The combination of the above three units for 4k would be a standard discount from a retailer. The 10 year Parasound warranty has given me great peace of mind though I have never needed to use it.
Also Lexicon has a bare bones version of the MC-8 called the MC-4 for 4,500 retail.
Good luck.
Hi all! I first want to say thank you to all who responded so far and especially to Usblues for suggesting I talk to audioengr. I can't thank audioengr enough for his help and suggestions.

This is what i've come up with after listening to many amps over a short period of time. JC-1's in a word...awesome! I can't believe that after the break in period and audioengr's mods that they can sound even better. WOW! I tested Arcam, Anthem, Carver and Parasounds. Once i tested the JC-1's i knew that was what i was looking for.

Here is my goal for my system, please feel free to comment/advise/pickapart/help/whatever. I really appreciate all the comments good and bad. Here goes...

Amp - JC-1's(eventually with audioengr's mods)

Preamp - SAS(considering Krell KAV-280p, help on this one since i'll need one with assignable unity gain)

CD/DVD Transport - Sony DVP-s7700(with audioengr's mods, not concerned at this point with SACD)

DAC - P-3A Perpetual Technologies

Speakers - Paradigm studio 100 vs2(i just love these speakers)

Line conditioner - AudoLineSource RGPC-1200's conditioner/power distribution

AnalysisPlus interconnects and powercords

Well thats the shopping list so far, its not set in stone except for the JC-1's and Paradigms. Comments welcome. Thx so much again, Bob