Pre amp discussion/ recommendations sub $10k

Good day fellow Audio enthusiasts,

After many changes and upgrades this year I’m sitting at a point were i need a preamp. I originally was going to buy a supper integrated but sort of fell into a pair of 2A3 mono amps from triode labs and well the integrated is now shelved.

I’m now running a VPI prime 21 table, Koetsu Black Gold Line cart, Gold Note PH10 phone stage, as my analogue source.

Digital is streamer to the Schiit multi bit DAC

Currently still using my restored and upgraded Sansui CA2000 as my preamp. its no slouch.

That drives my Triode labs 2A3 mono’s with RCA gray plates and CV4003’s tubes.

and they drive my LaScala’s. and or Tannoy Monitor Gold 15’s in Lancaster cabs. I have other amps in house for more power when i need it for the Tannoy’s.

- I need a remote! That’s not so fast with the volume that it’s a single click up and its to laud and single click down and its too low. big issue with hi efficient speakers. this also raises the issue with low count stepped attenuators.

- The above brings me to an issue with over all gain i’d like to keep it low. so 30db preamps are a no. sorry audible allusions.

- I need two outputs ( RCA preferable but i can convert one for the sub’s if needed)

- I need min 4 inputs. 3 RCA 1 balanced is min, but 4 RCA is fine too as my DAC can go both ways.

So long story. I’ve considered a few tube ones but have not heard them yet ( that’s proving to be difficult). below is what i’ve thought of and some like the Pass are out of the running.


Mcintosh C22 MK5. I can get a very good deal on a new one from my dealer.

Luxman CL-38uC

Pass labs xp12 (i believe) i heard one in my system and its not really better than my Sansui granted its got a remote. so its out. maybe the next one up the line?

Heron Audio; Keith wont sell to Canada so that’s out.

Atmosphere ?


there are a few from Europe I’m looking at too but nothing that stands out yet.

I’d prefer Tube but i wont count out a good SS either ( they are quieter) Also if i can get a good internal phono stage that can replace the Gold Note ph10, bonus maybe desirable.

So what are all you folks using out there or have you heard any of the pre’s I’ve mentioned? what’s your thoughts?

oh i do not know the input impedance of my amps can not seem to find it anywhere in the manual but i don’t suspect any strange values as its acting quite nicely with longish cables.

I'm on the west coast of Canada , Victoria BC, so I have access to Vancouver as well but its a full day/multi day trip. Seattle of course but pandemic and all traveling is an issue.  


I run a Cary SLP-98 F1 with my Quicksilver monos (and others). SLP stands for Sweet Little Preamp and it truly is. They will have to pry it from my cold dead fingers. 

Check out Canary Audio C1800.  I have one that is a year old.  If interested send me a private note.

+1 on the LTA microzotl preamp  I just upgraded mine to the level 2 model and it is fantastic.  On the level of great preamps with clarity and drive across the frequency range.  Compared to the original version (no slouch), level 2 has a bit more authority in the bass and more air on top - generally improves everything without changing the basic character of the pre-amp.  The ability to adjust the gain by a wide margin is also a nice touch and sounds like something that would be useful to you.  Also has two outputs.  I have a nice collection of preamps right now - Luxman c900u, LTA pre, Supratek Cabernet/DHT.  Each is different and special but each holds its own against the others.  This places the LTA in rarified company...

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- Russ69; I used to own a Cary pre i was quite happy with it after some mods. 

- Carlsbad( jerry);  no I've got tube integrated's in my place already (845 SET and a el34 amp) I now have some very good mono amps the (Triode labs 2A3 SET amps) that i really like so I'll be sticking with them for now. 

- Wjob; LTA is on my list but i have to be honest I've read the remote volume is not great. what are you experiences with it, is it too fast? Also i think the gain may be too much i'll have to re-read the specs. But they are on my list. 


The upgrade to the LTA/newer models with the adjustable gain adds more steps to the volume control. I am getting pretty fine adjustments now. I know they work with efficient speakers at LTA - just give them a call and ask.