Opinions on Marsh P2000 preamp?

Thinking of buying one please give me your thoughts if you would. Thank you.

I must preface this comment by saying that I have no direct, personal experience with this preamp. Two audio mags (1 US and 1 British), however, that have done reviews on this preamp were not terribly impressed with it. Neither said it was mediocre -- just not up to the same performance standards as the Marsh amps. Before you buy, I'd try to get in some audition time, preferably in your home system. There are lot of good preamps available right now in the $1500-2500 price bracket, both tube and solid state design, so listen to as many as you reasonably can before making a final decision.
Owning a Marsh P2000 and having tried other preamps, i will say that i was not overtly impressed with it initially and that it takes quite a while to really settle in. Why the longer settling time, i don't know.

I ran it for a while in one system, trying various cables, power amps, etc.. The results were always decent but nothing to write home about. I even took it over to my brother's place to try it in his system. Same results. I then put it back into the box and it sat for a while. At that point, i somewhat considered it a "dust collector".

After selling the pre-processor that i was using in my HT system, i stuck the Marsh in there as a "temporary fill in". While this took me down to strictly two channel, it was at least convenient in having a full function remote until i could figure out which pre-pro i wanted to try next.

The results ??? WOW is all i could say !!! It was the best that system had ever sounded by a long, long, long shot. I'm not just talking against pre-pro's either as i had tried other amps and preamps in that system with those speakers before. It was phenomenally "liquid" and lifelike with the specific combo of cables, amp and speakers. You could literally go into other parts of the house and think that a band was playing down in that room. One of those "magic combo's" that i half-hazardly stumbled across.

Unfortunately, i did want to have surround sound for my HT system as i did not invest in a matched set of rears, center and subs along with another amp not to use it. Obviously, this preamp could not remain in that system. Nor was i about to make use of this preamp / amp / speaker combo in another system, as that would mean having to replace the mains with similar models. No matter what i tried, i just didn't get the same results with different speakers using the same preamp / amp combo. For some reason, the three of those pieces just really "melded" together.

With all of that in mind, it only helped to reinforce my thoughts of how important system synergy is. While i would have written the P2000 off as an average piece of gear, i know that it is capable of truly phenomenal performance in the right system. Then again, that could be said of many, many pieces.

The key is to finding components that suit your needs in terms of features and performance and then working with them to achieve the sonic goals that you want out of that system as a whole. Obviously, some components are easier to work with while others may be tougher, but the end result will always be the same if you put forth the effort: an ear opening experience and education that you will never forget. The Marsh P2000 was one of those experiences and learning tools for me. Sean
I've had a P2000 for 18 months and I have found it to be excellent-very revealing and grain free. The music emerges from total silence. Richard Marsh is a highly regarded designer- he's also responsible for the Monster Cable power conditioners and his capacitors are used by many high end companies. An examination of the interior reveals high quality parts and construction. Sterophile recently commented favorably on the build quality of the Marsh components. You may consider ordering directly from Marsh. I believe that their prices have recently increased but I got mine for $899 and it arrived three days after I placed my order. You may wish to visit www.marshsoundesign.com for more information.
Hi, Sean:

I have always respected your posts, and find your comments to be "bang on". Hence, your comments are very interesting.

As I conceded, I have not heard this preamp (although I have heard the Marsh 400 amp), so your observations about its performance are significant. As I have said many times in this forum -- trust your own ears. The corollary to that rule is: always take audio reviews with a grain of salt...
I'll echo Sean's experience. I substituted the Marsh in my system for my longtime Rotel preamp and the difference was absolutely amazing. I've had several very good stereo preamps in my system and none of them came close to the incredibly and naturally detailed sound and quiet backdrop of the P2000. By comparison it made the Rotel sound relatively hashy, bright, and unnatural.

Then something interesting happened. I substituted a different pair of speakers(more sensitive and more revealing with metal tweets) and my system became way too bright. Plugging my Rotel back in made everything sound much more balanced. I don't know if there was some hookup problem or what, and I'll plug the Marsh in again to see if this was an aberration. That aside I'd have to say the Marsh is one of the best preamps I've heard IN THE RIGHT SYSTEM. I've never heard a preamp change character as much as this before, and I'm hoping there was something else at work here. I'll post again when I have more info. In general, build and parts quality seem way above what you should expect at this price point and is at least worth checking out if you can find one. If it works in your system it can be pure magic. Best of luck.

Rick you might as well try one out for yourself - it might synergize nicely & it might not at all. In my rig the P2000 was too lame & laid back - no sparkle or punch. But if I had experimented with AC cords & interconnects, & perhaps had found some anciliary components that worked well with this pre, then it might have been OK.
My initial results were very similar to Bob's i.e. the P2000 was very mellow and warm, really laid back mids with a slight amount of "tizziness" to the extreme top end. It was so laid back in fact that music seemed slower, lacked pace, etc... The "tizziness" did mellow out but it took quite a bit of time. That is what i was referring to in terms of the long break in period.

Just a while after i had initially tried a P2000 out, I had received an email from an "inmate" at AA and said that his P2000 was phenomenally bright in his system. Bright as to the point of being an "ear bleeder". Obviously, there is a LARGE amount of system synergy ( or lack of it ) taking place with this specific piece of gear.

I will say that the P2000 does respond to power cords. I will say that i found that the Custom's "High Value" and "#11" cords were not a good match for this piece in my system. I had much better luck with a Kimber, TG Audio and cords that i've built. All of these really opened up the mids and lower treble to a great extent. This is not to say that the Custom Power Cord's don't work or are junk, only that they weren't a good match for the Marsh in my system. Just as i found the Marsh overtly "mellow" to begin with while others found it bright, one might also run into the same situation with PC's, etc...

As Bob stated, you might want to try one in YOUR system. That is the only way you'll know for sure. Keep in mind that it does NOT have a phono section buit in. Other than that, the FULL function remote makes this a very nice unit to "toy around with". Sean