How much are you looking to spend? do you want to take the jump into hi-fi?
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I would like to spend as little as possible (who doesn't) but for now my max is $500.00 on an amp & pre or on a pre alone, if the Carver will suit my needs. Right now I have a Kenwood receiver, Tascam DA-20MKII DAT, Kenwwod CD, Yamaha KX-w952 cassette & Polk RT-8 speakers.
I record in DAT & just spent a bunch on another pair of microphones so money is tight. Eventually of course I will upgrade everything in the system but for now I am looking for good solid used componants to get me in the mid-fi sound arena.
The price that you want to sepnd is mid-fi stuff.The only contender for high end sound is a couple hundered more for a SS or tube preamp though you could find something in the Adcom,NAD,Rotel,B&K bracket (if so look for XLR on say a NAD.Longer runs if you are going to do studio work).Sell the Carver and look for an Acurus DIA150 intergrated for half it's list of $1600.Has a passive pre section and a good amp well built.A deal at $1600 they are a steal at $800 used and made pretty well so prior use isn't the issue it might be with lesser mass market stuff.