Maybe it's time to try a tube preamp especially if you want more emotion. You might never go back to a ss pre again.
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I have owned lots of ML stuff and it was all very good. I do understand exactly what you mean when describe it as "dry". I always felt it was a bit too cold and a bit more lab instrument than musical instrument. I tried a bunch of other preamps (albeit not many tube based) but in the end (I know...their is no end) I settled on the Boulder 2010. For me, it was the best of all worlds. Accurate and revealing, yet warm, organic and totally natural sounding at all times. I am not sure it would work in every system, but it has been a great addition to mine.
Having owned the no.32 & many other levinson products I would say go darTZeel & never look back.
I liked the levinson gear but also felt that it was a little cold at times, but still better than 90% of the products out there.
Once I auditioned the darTZeel products my mind was made up.
So natural , musical, detailed. I highly recommend a audition. Emotional !!!!! yes.
this subject keeps coming up regarding mark levinson components, of which i am admittedly biased towards, not against. some ML gear sounds inferior when compared to other, usually very expensive products. or ML updates and improves on a cdp, preamp, or amplifier to a significant degree and thus wins over a large group of (solid state) fans all over again.
i for one had a 23.5 stereo amp which was excellent (and still is in many ways), but now have 33H monoblocks which, imho, are the culmination of clean, transparent solid state- they are virtually invisible to the signal while imparting enormous dynamic capabilities when called upon, state of the art bass reproduction, etc. my impression is that they are "beyond dry", whereas other, lessser ML amps might bleach out the sound to some degree. as for the reference-series #32 preamp, it was/is ALSO supposed to step aside and let more of the signal through than most other preamps without adding ANY character of its own. at $16,000 and alot of listening sessions, the company felt it was the best preamp they could make regardless of price. IF "PERSON-A" feels that it is just that- a state of the art component, then FOR THEM the search is over. for "PERSON-B" who is without question or doubt looking for a different sound, they might be kidding themselves, or they may be onto something that, for them, represents a better approach, whether it's the midrange character of tube gear, or a hybrid design, or a unique solid state component, like the dartzeel (a mere $24,000- probably worth every penny, but costs $8000 more than the levinson, which is already very expensive). boulder will sell you a $32,000 preamp. Kondo will accomidate the discerning audiophile as well, with two knobs and a toggle switch, for twice that. i personally REFUSE to spend more than $10k (MSRP) for a preamp, because according to my religion SOTA can be achieved for as little as $5k,
but then you might want to add a phono-stage. given you STILL have to buy amplifiers, i feel an intelligent designer can get the job done AND STILL keep the price down to a realistic level- again, MY philosophy, that you have to draw the line "somewhere" before you go shopping. unless, of course, a certain component is, without argument, the best in the world. and thankfully that component only exists on a theoretical and highly subjective level.