If I had one again I would mod it and reduce the overall gain significantly.
A little more analysing here to find the best of what to choose from, instead of just plucking from the air.
If you look at the input sensitivities of both Vincent SP-331 or McIntosh MC2200, they need very little to drive them to full output, only 1.2v at (47kohm) for the Vincent and only .75v at (50kohm) for the Mac.
The Schiit Freya will be the best, a very good match for these in all modes, (passive, tube or S/S) as it have very little gain, which is a perfect match for these amps
The Conrad has way too much gain, and as a result the volume control will be very loud even down low in the range.
George is spot on on his analysis,your best choice for under 1k is the Freya.Can be used in passive or tube gain mode and definitely sound better than the cj or Mac.
I had a Freya but didn't really like it and sent it back for a refund during the trial period.I'm a very picky and fussy audiophile,Might work great for you.
At your price point I can't think of any other than a Freya,Your always taking a chance with the older gear.
Best of luck to you,
Thanks for everyone's input particularly George for taking the time for looking up the specs of my amps. The (unusually) high gain in most if not all of CJ preamps is a valid concern. The MC2200 does allow to toggle the input sensitivity between 0.75v and 2.5v which might work with the CJ pre but I'd rather keep my options more open. That Quicksilver pre also looks real good.
I have the Freya and it is very nice.I haven't heard the CJ but I did look at them when I was searching.The Freya also has 2 outputs which work well for me.One set goes to 2 Emotiva XPA100 Monoblocks and the other set goes to a Primaluna Prologue 5 .I rarely use the passive,it is either the Jfet or the Tube output.The Freya is made in America as well.Plus ,I kinda like their Schtiik and I can say I have some good Schiit man.
Line 2CHT was the one I got quoted a little more than the standard because of the HT bypass.The specs are:
includes the PS 2C power supply, tubes, line cord, and power interconnect cable. The Line 2CHT will have 3 line inputs, with Input 3 being your HT channels. The selector switch position next to Input 3 is labelled HT and it bypasses the Input 3 signal directly to the output jacks, of which there are two pair. You can power off the PS 2C when in HT mode. There is not a "REC" output on the HT model.
I do wish it had a remote power on/off.The remote It does volume & input selection.The Freya is in the Harmony Database which is nice.I also wish there was a way to turn the Tube section off when not used.They will eventually make some "Solid State Tubes" for this i read somewhere.They call the ones they make LISST Tubes (linear, integrated solid-state tube) .6BZ7 currently is the tube this will swap out for..in THEIR stuff.
Lol,I do get impatient once I've decided to get something.I really did like the dual output feature of the Freya when I was pondering my purchase.That kinda helped swing the decision and ,at the time,there weren't any used Mapletrees I could find.I really don't mind buying used at all.The Primaluna Prologue 5 was used but like new.
If you doubled your budget,you might want to look at the Linear tube audio MZ2s.Lot's of good reviews either professional or users on this one.I have one on order but won't get it for 2 weeks,the only drawback is the remote only controls volume but if it sounds as good as what I'm reading I can live with that.
Thanks again for all the great input. Its very helpful. The Mapletree piece looks like a really great option - thanks for the suggestion, but . I’d consider that over a Freya assuming that the build/wait time is not outrageously long.
axememan, the Mapletree L2C does appear to have two outputs. Did you mean Freya allows you to select the output and L2C doesn't?
Axememan, the stand out ones for me were Belles 20A and the Cary/AES units I have owned along with the Mapletree. Those would be SLP-88, AES AE-3 DJH and a modded AE-3. I did not like SLP-308 or the AE-3 MkII as much as the others. In stock form the AE-3 DJH is a giant killer with the right 6sn7s.
The ones I did not like at all were Audible Illusions 2D, AVA T8 and a Chinese one, Antique Sound lab or something like that. The rest were fine, probably just a system match thing.
PS: to those thinking about the $699 Freya. That don’t need balanced.
There’s also the Schiit Saga at half the price $349!!!, single ended (no balanced), 5x inputs, 2 x outputs, active tube or passive outputs (no s/s) output. It still has a remote control, and again relay controlled 64 positions volume control 1db increments, which is plenty I use 48 with no problems.
stfoth, thanks for the great review, appreciate it. I'm thinking the main reason for my interest in getting a tube preamp is to experience this so called "tubey" sound that everyone talks about. At the end, I might not like it as much - which I doubt, but just feel the need to experience it. Great word by the way: tubelicious!
Mapletree Line 2 - I looked at these because everyone says hey have excellent sound. I do believe that. However, if I am going to drop $800.00 I do not want control knobs that are from the 1940's. I have seen antique radios with these same style of knobs. I know, you cannot judge a book from it's cover. My opinion only, I think they are ugly looking. They look like they were made in someones garage. I just cannot get past that. The Freya if even a close competitor is very nice looking and the route I will go unless something else strikes me before I buy. The Freya has a remote too.
@maplegrovemusic that sounds like a serious issue.. Had you verified with Schiit to be sure it wasn't something else? Anyone else experience this? Assume you mean can't use balanced and rca at the input at the same time. What good would the option be really if that is happening. I am considering going for one but this not boding well in terms of their design topology .
@skiroe I ran the Freya this way : Sonyhaz1es - balanced into freya for music listening . Oppo 203 - rca input into Freya for tv/movies. There was a loud hum that stayed consistently loud when both inputs were connected , but only using one at a time . Once I took out either the balanced or RCA input connection the hum would be gone . I used a balanced out from the Freya to my amplifier .