Personally I'm a big believer in tubes, especially tubed preamps. I think the SF or some other tube pre would sound great with any Rowland or other high quality ss amp. Happy listening!
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I think you should go for the 380S as it's pretty much a tube sounding solid state preamp. Have you ever read the review from Fi magazine on this 380S? I have a copy and can mail you the review free. The bass will be better, it will be quieter, no tubes to change, It's sound will always remain the same because there's no tubes to deteriorate, and it's midrange and highs are as smooth as butter. E-mail me if you want a copy of the review.
I'd keep the SF. I owned a 38S, for about a week, I was not a big fan at all. Now I'm a tube preamp fan at heart, but I've heard many better SS preamps than the 38S.
If you're set on solid state, I'd recommend a Klyne 7LX-3.5b, or if a remote is a necessity, a Threshold T2 or Rowland Synergy IIi depending on budget.
Just so you know, we are talking about the 380S not the 38S. The 380S is in a whole different world and the review tells you that. I haven't heard much better solid state preamps than the 380S and yes I have heard the Klyne and the Threshold and the 380S was way ahead in all sonic areas. Uriah. P.S. Funny how JA from Stereophile is still using his 380S after all these years as his reference.
Uriah, you, not we, are talking about the 380S. Albertobat, the originater of this thread, said he's looking at a 38S or 380S. So your experiences and my experiences share equal validitity.
I have heard the Klyne and the Threshold and the 380S was way ahead in all sonic areas.
That's why Baskin-Robbins makes 31 flavors. I didn't like the 38S even a little bit. My wife, who doesn't say much with regards to my system, even commented that her car stereo sounded better. Nothing offensive, it's just a system synergy/personal taste issue. The ML 38S was much too upfront for my tastes. I felt as if I'd been transported to the front row, with the midrange thrust right in my face. Vocals were very prominent, while I had to strain to hear the music hidden behind the vocals. The guy I sold it to loved it, the guy I bought it from didn't.
It takes all kind.
Funny how JA from Stereophile is still using his 380S after all these years as his reference.
Funny indeed. My experiences with ML have changed my opinion of the glossy rags too. I now question much of JA's opinions, as his tastes obviously differ from my own.
Don't forget that Paul Bolin, also of Stereophile, says that the best days of the ML No. 32 Reference have past it by, when placing it up against the best of today's preamps (VTL TL-7.5, Halcro DM-10, BAT VK-51SE (my current preamp)).
It seems that you place much more faith in magazine reviews than I do. You reference Fi magazine in your first reply, and JA of Stereophile in your second reply. I read the glossy rags, but ultimately, I let my own ears be the judge.
No John, we are talking about the 380S not the one you don't like which is the 38S. I was just letting Alberto know that the 380S is better than the 38S because it's an upgraded unit with better parts. The 380S is also much better than the Threshold and the Klyne both of which sound to transistory. I do respect both companies but their sound is not as natural sounding when one put's them up against a ML-380S.
As far as the glossy rags go, I have no faith in any of them but they do let me know whats out there and I just read them for fun and mostly for a good laugh. When I first read the review in Fi I went right out to demo the 380S and then I found out that I mostly agreed with the review and of course ended up buying a 380S. I only brought up JA having one because he seems to do a lot of recordings and uses his 380S to monitor them. I would think JA would know even a little if he thinks the sound coming out of his 380S is close to what he hear's at the recording site. By the way I think your BAT preamp is a great one. I've heard it and I think it sounds awesome. Uriah