Please help a newbie Choose, whats the best preamplifier for $1000 or less used


Hi Everyone,

Still new here and learning, the help from this site has been amazing! I am trying to choose between 3 Preamplifiers and could use some help again. My power amp's are original Dynaco MK3 monoblocks unmodded and speakers are Wilson Audio Watt2 puppy 3's. I use a Pro-Ject Pre Box s2 digital DAC (that I want to upgrade next) and a U-turn Turntable (also a needs upgrading) I would take a built-in Phono or I can use and outboard one Should I go for a modern Pre like the Schitt Autio or a VTL 2.5 version 1 that is 10 years old? Or my 3rd choice right now is the AR LS-7 because I always wanted to try AR. I have read a Modern Pre is geat with vintage Tubes.

On a side note, I can also buy locally a Musical Fidelity A308CR for a few hundred more or a Quicksilver for about the same price. The budget is under $1,000 and I have no idea what to do. I do know I like a warm musical sound signature and not analytic. I love the holographic thing and a good soundstage. i also have a Mcintosh MC225 that needs more efficient speakers and I'm hoping to use it with that in the future. Crap that's a lot of Pre's to choose from. Any help is greatly appreciated. And I hope everyone is healthy and safe during this Madness. John
johnwahl
Hi,
if you want to try ARC then SP-9MKII, MKIII or SP-14 would be fine.
They carry an excellent phono stage also.

I like a warm musical sound signature and not analytic. I love the holographic thing and a good soundstage.

So what are you doing with separates? You can't get anywhere near as good quality with separates as with an integrated amp. Certainly not at this budget level. Sell the amps, up the budget to $3k and get everything you want - holographic, warm musical sound- and more with a Raven integrated. https://www.ravenaudio.com/product/nighthawk-mk3-tube-amplifier/
Your Wilson's will sing with this better than anything you can afford with separates.

I saw the MC225. That is a great little amp. Very special sound with a good preamp and a power supply rebuild.

1000.00 preamp, biggest bang might be the VTL.
  
But really all stock, never worked on...Be careful. YOUR STUFF.

I've had AR, VTL, Mac, Marantz, Pass, APhase, Decware.
VTL has a great phono section for the 1000.00, and hold up better than the older ARs. Again without work. Might be thinking about that too..

Regards
Thank you, Sorry my post was misleading, they are not modded for performance upgrades and look stock.  The MC225 has been worked on and is functioning well.  Some bits were replaced inside and I just purchased the Dynaco MK3's.  They look to be very original, everything on the outside looks old.  I haven't looked inside yet. The seller bought them from an audiophile that had them sitting for "many" years.  He powered them up on a Variac and they sounded great so I bought them.  Do I have to worry about them?  Or my other gear they are connected too?  I haven't had an expert look them over yet, other than the guy I purchased them from and he knows his stuff.  The seller also had them connected to his Klipsch La Scala's when I picked them up, so he wasn't too worried, I guess??
I am leaning towards the VTL, But love the look of the AR and always wanted one.
Had an ARC LS7, bought new, and I hate to say this as I really like ARC but that was my least favorite preamp. I’d look elsewhere before visiting that old girl. What did I replace it with? Sonic Frontiers SFL 1 is a better preamp hands down with the right tube... and yes I ran NOS in my LS7 as well. Read up on the original ModWright SWL 9.0 SE which I once owned, that is a killer preamp for the money. The little ModWright has great PRaT and will keep you up late at night.
Jump on the used VTL ASAP!!
The seller bought them from an audiophile that had them sitting for "many" years. He powered them up on a Variac and they sounded great so I bought them. Do I have to worry about them?
@johnwahl  Yes, you do. If sitting for a long time, its a good bet the filter capacitors are shot. If you run them, the risk is that the increased current of the old filter capacitors will damage the power transformer. If that happens, a new transformer is the most expensive part in the amp and the old one will make a really nasty smell (and mess) when it fails.


So get the amps properly serviced out- they will sound better too!
It's not likely you could buy a better sounding preamp than a Schiit Freya + tube preamp, certainly nothing with the features and flexibility they offer, and they're 900 bucks or so brand new. I'd try one of those (I own an earlier version and it's amazingly good) before any used item.
+1 Schiit Freya + tube preamp. 100% agreement with the Wolf-man, it most definitely is amazingly good.
Counterpoint Sa-2000 then send it to me when you are ready for upgrades.  One musical preamp that does many things so well.  Mid-range beauty, dynamic, good looking, but add a better volume control, a few caps & resistors, tube regulation and even better.

Happy Listening.