Pre-amp opinions: SAE vs. Hafler

I've recently decided to upgrade to separates from my nad 7240pe receiver. For sources i'm using a denon changer and pioneer ct-f500 tape deck. I plan on upgrading the cd source eventually and picking up a tuner and tt (probably an AR xa or xb) once the funds are available. For a power amp i debated between a hafler dh-200 and sae 2200. Ended up with the sae which i should be picking up next week in good condition. My question now is about a pre-amp. I'm looking at a hafler dh-110 or sae mark ixb. Any opinions? i'm very new to audiogon and the high fidelity quest, which can be hard on a student's budget. However i'm looking for good clarity and accurate bass from my polk rt-5 speakers. Any info is appreciated. Thanks
Hello, I have a friend that has a B&K CS-117 preamp. A nice sounding preamp for the money. Again not me but a friend. If interested let me know an I can put in contact.
Good luck, Paul
If you bought the SAE amplifier then buy the SAE preamp. There will be no question about the two working properly together. Matching brands always takes the guess work out of whether or not two components will sound right together. Many folks will debate this theory, but I have mixed and matched components countless times. When matching brands between amps and preamps there is a rightness to the sound every time.
I owned a Hafler DH110. It is a very nice preamp, and very musical.
I know nothing about the SAE.
I like my Halfer pre-amp. A great bargain in the $150.00 range. Lots of information on the web
Keep looking. First I had an SAE, it got noisy so I got a Hafler. The Hafler was musical yes, but nothing special. It was nicer than the SAE but not very reliable. If you looked under the hood, it would be apparent. It's a stepping stone in my opinion. Acurus makes a sweet preamp (L10) which can be had used for less than $300 on ebay that will blow away both the Hafler and Sae, and it's extremely well built, very apparent under the hood. Built to last. It lacks a phono stage however, but you shouldn't rule it out based on that. If you get the Acurus, I don't think you'll get the upgrade bug so fast. I have a friend that started out with a free Hafler (part of a package deal) that developed a channel volume mismatch problem. No big deal to fix, and I offered. Instead, he picked up an Acurus and now won't even bother to waste his time on the Hafler.
Thanks for all the recommendations. Made an offer on the SAE but didn't end up getting it. Decided to bite the bullet and picked up the Hafler for $125 shipped. I'll reply to the sound once everything is received and hooked up. My denon just recently decided to develop a pop and some static so looks like i'll be searching for a new digital source sooner rather than later. Looking at a Marantz PMD320 or potentially an NAD 512 i can pick up locally for around $50. Marantz is going for $60 shipped on ebay, any opinions? Only good part about the changer dying is getting some quality time with my cassettes, all five of them haha

That B&K looks nice, didn't realize i had any replies until today, would've made an offer had i noticed sooner. This forum is a great resource, thanks for your reply.

My dad gave similar advice; keep what you have and save up for equipment that won't need upgrading. He has a nice carver set up with mission speakers, the same system he has owned for the last 20 years (most of my life). This route definitely makes the most sense but i'm a little too impatient. I think i'll end up going through a number of pieces before i settle on a final system. I guess looking for me is half the fun. The acurus is very nice, maybe i'll get a chance to try one in the future, who knows. Thanks for the input.
Here's a site that does repairs. What I found interesting is that most equipment usually fails the same way, so these guys have listed many known issues. Take a look before you jump. Patience pays off in the long run. When I was in college I started out with what I could afford and a plan that when something failed, I would take the opportunity to upgrade it rather than simply replace it. After a while I got sick and tired of being nickeled and dimed to death by mediocre equipment and bought my first "real" preamp (Hegeman Hapi2). Still with me today on a secondary system and sounds great.
Sorry to say it..but listen to your dad. Enjoy the Hafler. It's a great starter preamp.
Great resource, i know the sae and hafler stuff has some weak points, so i'm sure i'll be needing service eventually. The denon will probably end up with my dad, my current repairman. He's actually working on his carver preamp right now. seems like the capacitors all start to go on all these 20+ year old pieces. Is your main system tube or solid state?
Both tube and Solid State. I have a Grado Ph1 SS phono stage that I recently blew up. It's fixed now and currently I am swapping op-amps and bypass capacitors into it to improve it's sound. My current preamp is a (tube) Sound Valves VTP-101, which very recently replaced a (ss) Forte 44. Before the Forte was the (SS) Hegeman Hapi2. Before the Hegeman was NAD, SAE. The Acurus L10 I mentioned was for my son, who prefers an Apt Holman Preamp. The Acurus sits in a cabinet with the Forte as spares.
My amplifier is an Aragon 2004. Can't say enough good things about that one. Before that was an Apt A-1, before that was a Phase Linear 200. I built a Hafler DH110 SS power amp for a friend years ago from a kit (my standard fee is a bottle of single malt) and found the amp very musical, though not as sweet as the Apt. He borrowed my APT, bought one himself and never went back.
I have 3 Tube amps not in use because they all need service, a Dynaco ST70, a Fisher SA-300B, and a Golden Tube Audio SE40. I haven't decided what to do with them yet. The Aragon is really sweet and detailed, and has the power necessary for my speakers, The Large Advents. I'm not sure any of the above mentioned tube amps have enough power to really drive the Advents.
Yeah, the capacitors start to go, but fortunately, there's a lot of options out there that can really improve things. BTW, tell your dad not to forget the capacitors in your speaker's crossovers, they too can go, and possibly ruin your speakers. I replaced mine years ago with some audio grade models, and the speakers got clearer.
Who would've thought??
I'll pass that along, i think he has a pair of mission speakers, same vintage as the carver pieces. Ever owned any macintosh? Also what what's your primary source? I want to get a tt eventually but for now i'm content with digital.
Primary source is turntable, at least that's where I get the most enjoyment from. I have a pretty decent Cd player (Adcom GCD-750) but it can't hold a candle to my turntable. I get a kick out of vinyl, especially when I find a used album for $1.99. Can't beat that feeling.
Hey ces04848, if you can trrryyy to be patient I would hold out even longer and try to afford Aragon amp & pre. Not that the Acurus isn't good, just the Aragon is a cut above and built extremely well. A friend had a Hafler DH500 that although powerful was overly bright,lacked bottom end & uninvolving. Another friend had SAE and that was unbelievably Blah & and also uninvolving musically. The SAE friend moved on to Aragon 4004 amp & 24Ksp pre(has a phono stage)and couldn't believe what he had been missing. The Aragons seem to integrate fairly well with most speakers & equiptment. Hell even though I have Krells, I still have (2) 4004MKII's(they're like children!). Keep in mind as you venture up the $$$audio chain, deficiencies will be revealed with cables,sources,speakers etc!! Good luck & keep us posted. Dave.