Need a good inexpensive stereo pre!

Ive just listened to a myriad of cds from my Pioneer DV414 (it uses 24bit/96khz dacs) and the sound is very good except for alot of brightness in the higher frequencies. I'm using Transparent Link 100 rcas between the dv414 and Chase RLC-1 pre ($59!!), and the pre and an Acurus A200 stereo amp. A double run of DH Labs T-14 speakers cables connect the amp to NHT 2.5is. I dont know if the brightness is coming from the dvd player, pre, amp, speakers or a combo of components. Anyone with ideas about other stereo pres passive or active? What about the Creek OBH-12? Thanks in advance! Ricky [email protected]
Audio Alchemy DLC, with No. 3 power supply. Use a very good power cord and line conditioner, and you won't want anything else, unless 2 or 3 thousand is pocket change to you.
The Creek is very good equipment.However the Forte preamps are very good and build quality is unsurpassed. The model 40 can usually be had for around $300.00.
Check out the PS Audio 6.1 pre. In passive mode ('straightwire' in PS Audio talk), the sound is detailed, clean, neutral, and balanced across the audio spectrum. I used one for years before upgrading to a Levinson 38. 6.1s can be picked up for anywhere from under $200 to $350 and up. At the under $350 price point, I don't think you can do better.
The Adcom GFP-750 is a Sterephile "Class A" recommended component, and can be purchased used for $750-850. If you want something even cheaper, primarily for use with LP's or other analog sources, the older Adcom GFP-565 is a superb buy as used equipment. I owned the GFP-565 for a number of years, and was constantly amazed at the quality of reproduction it provided with LP's. The newer GFP-750 is even better.
If you are complaining about it being to bright, try a Musical Fidelty X-Pre or the 10D which is just a tube buffer. Both will reduce bright sounds. If you already have a preamp, go for the 10-D buffer, else the X-Pre. I have the X-Pre, and it is great at $250, adding the PSU heavy duty power supply will add another $200, but will help clear up and extend the bass. I think you may find the passive preamps still too bright and maybe even to lean. I have used some passives in the past, and they let everything trhough, and sometimes will make the bass a little lean, further emphases on the brightness.
I would replace the source of the problem. And that is **Pioneer dv 414! No offence?! But, yor speakers are too good for the rest of you "gear"! And they(NHT 2.5i) will exploit, the weakness in your system, which you, obviously, can hear. My suggestion is, instead of putting "the band-aid" on the wound, cure the "illness"! For the long term satisfaction, look around for good CD,(abundance of those, for reasonable amount) or DVD player (if you are heavily into movies)and you will see the difference! ** friend of mine have dv414, and is plagued by same problem. However he's got Denon A/V integrated amp, and Monitor Audio gold 3ce, very "sweet" "liquid" gold dome tweeter! Regards!
I have a Pioneer DVD 525 which is similar to your 414. I also noticed the brightness problem right after I inserted it into my system. I cured my problem by adding the MSB LINK DAC. It's pretty much all music after that. Good luck.
I was just going to disagree with Eldragon but had to correct myself. I thought you were using a DAC with that like everyone else. As a transport only the 414 can be bettered for a lot more $$$, but it is certainly not bright. I have compared it to better transports and if anything it is not as extended. Without the DAC it is a disaster. I am using an MSB DAC and it is a huge improvement. Smooth and a little lush, with more detail and dynamics. Mine was $300 new. You should be able to get one with a cable for a good deal less, (used) unless you want to splurge on the new upsampling one. As far as a better preamp, forget it for now. I am not familiar with the preamp you have, but I can almost guarantee if you put your money there you will hear a lot more detail and more into your problem (especially with a passive preamp!!!). I also just got a Sony SACD, and I would say if the 414 is ground zero, the MSB/414 is three quarters to the SACD! By the way, I have a mint Audible Illusions L1 tube preamp for sale if you're interested. Very smooth, but you will certainly hear the grain if it is there.
Ricky - I would suggest a used Conrad Johnson PV10 - very warm, a great match for a bright system.