Matching Components

I'm kind of new to high end audio and would like to know how I go about matching a preamp and an amp. Or for that matter any of the components. I plan to buy used so I won't be able to audition before purchase. Any help would be appreciated.

Hi Tony,

Matching preamps to amps I feel is a matter of personal taste. And because of this, buying a preamp and amp made by the same manufacturer doesn't guarantee you'll like the match up.

For two years I used a preamp and amp by the same company, but it wasn't until I compared four different amps with my preamp that I settled on an amp from a different maker.

The only technical issue I would be concerned with in matching a preamp to an amp is the possibility of impedance mismatching. This is what occurs when a preamp doesn't produce enough gain to drive the amp sufficiently. This seems to be more an issue when using a passive preamp which has no gain stage between a source with a low voltage output and an amp with a low input impedance. The rule of thumb seems to be finding a preamp/amp combo where the amp's input impedance is 10-100 times that of the output impedance of the preamp. In most cases this shouldn't be a factor though.

By in large I feel the what you choose comes down to personal taste and unfortunately that usually only develops with time and experience. Besides finding manufacturer's equipment which sound good to you, you also have to choose whether the preamp is solid state, tube or passive. And if the amp will be solid state or tube as well. Which means you have a lot of audiitoning and/or buying and selling in your future. Read through the Audiogon forum archives to see what people like and how it corresponds with your taste.

I look forward to seeing you more on Audiogon. Good luck and welcome aboard!
FWIW matching your amp to your speakers/room is far more important than matching your pre-amp to your amp. It really plays the major role in how your system will sound and requires the most research to get it right. Time spent here will save countless hours of frustration later.
Thanks very much for the tips and information.

I humbly suggest you check the archives.