Pre-amp recommendation


Hi
My 2 channel reference setup is almost complete.
I'm looking for a suitable pre-amp to complete the setup.
A few that I'm considering :
Cary SLP 05 (used)
Cary 98
Pass Labs X02 (used)
Budget is limited to $5K.
Any other brands are also acceptable

My setup
Source : Esoteric K01
Pre-am : Densen B200 (for now)
Amps : Threshold SA/1 mono blocks ( Mids & Highs)
Sub Amp : Gallo Ref SA
Speakers : Gallo 5LS

It's almost impossible for me to audition so any help will be highly appreciated.
Thanks

shahzada123
Coincident statement line stage and the trl dude preamp are quite liked in this forum at that price point .
Here are 2 very good choices & both have a world class phono stage if you are into vinyl!

https://app.audiogon.com/listings/tube-vac-renaissance-mk-ii-with-phono-stage-upgrade-2015-02-28-preamplifiers-28721-clyde-nc

https://app.audiogon.com/listings/tube-vac-renaissance-mk-ii-with-phono-stage-upgrade-2015-02-28-preamplifiers-28721-clyde-nc
"It's almost impossible for me to audition so any help will be highly appreciated.
Thanks

Shahzada123 (Threads | Answers | This Thread)"

The preamp is the hardest and most important piece to get right. Lucky for you, almost impossible isn't the same as impossible. If I'm not mistaken, your K01 has a volume control. I would use that and wait as long as you have to, until you are able to select the right preamp. Otherwise, you'll just be doing all the usual things people do, when they don't get the right preamp. Cables, power products, tweaks, tubes...etc.
Emotive Audio-not to be confused with Emotiva
I would highly recommend using a tube based preamp because the esoteric can sound very "digital". If you look at tube preamps take your time and listen to at least 3 before you choose. It makes or breaks the whole system and is a key piece to get right. Tube preamps like Dhavilland's Ultraverve 3 sound fantastic without a lot of extras. I like the Manley Labs "Jumbo Shrimp" so much I bought one. I also really liked the sound of the Modwright 9.0SE with the internal tubed power supply (w/ NOS Mullard 5AR4) and the 2 NOS Tung Sol 5687's, this is one of the most beautiful sounding preamps IMO. Just one thing ...keep an eye on preamp output impedance and your amps input (at least 10x's difference is best). The Manley will drive almost any amp it outputs at 200 impedance. Good Luck!
I would lean toward the tube pre-amps as well. You probably can't go wrong with CARY or VAC and Mattmiller has some fine suggestions. I'm running a all tube system on Gallo Reference MK2 speakers. Anthem (Sonic Frontiers) CD1 tube player. N.E.W. P3 pre (Nelson Pass circuit now serviced by CARY). VTL (Manley) Tiny Triode Monos. All running on vintage Telefunken & Mullard tubes. The guy I bought my pre from switched to a Manley Shrimp. Although, I have upgraded the tubes and P3 is much better now. The CDT tweeter on Gallo speakers can be bright and every time I add tube gear, listening fatigue drops and soundstage gets even bigger. Andy at vintagetubeservices can bring your gear up another level with a tube upgrade as well.
Thanks guys!
I had earlier planned on going without a pre amp but directly from the K01, the sound was bright and lean.
The Densen pre improved on that but I feel a better preamp should bring in a lot more.
I myself was leaning towards tubes and with so many recommendations, tubes it is.
Thanks again!
Will keep you guys posted
EAR 868, line only/no phono.
CAT, BAT and AUDIBLE ILLUSIONS should be on your short list.
Steuspeed, it seems you have Gallo Reference speakers - bravo!! I have a pair of Ref. 3.1s (Front L/R) and Ref AVs for the remaining positions (Rear L/R, Center) in a 5.1 system. I truly love the CDT tweeter, what are your thoughts??

Best Wishes,

-RW-
I initially thought the CDT on my CL-3's was a tad bright ,but after couple hundred hours on them I am convinced I just never heard a tweeter with such an extended range.
Never thought I'd find a better tweeter than the Vifa rings on my Meadowlarks but CDT just might be.
Be careful with your choice of preamp as it has to drive both the SA1 (75kohm) and in parallel whatever the input impedance is of the Galo sub is. I cannot find this anywhere.

If it (the Galo amp) is 10khom to 50kohm this can present a combined impedance that could be to low for many tube preamps to sound at their best.

To be safe stick to low output impedance solid state preamps that have output impedances below <500ohms, preferably <100ohms. As the Pass XO-2 pre will have.

Cheers George
Good point there George.
Missed out the dual load.
Will keep in mind when deciding.
Thanks
I have owned the Coincident Statement, First Sound MKIII, Sanders, Parasound JC-2 all of which are great line-stages. My favorite and most musical is the Exemplar Exception from Exemplar Audio. Call John Tucker he can provide some guidance. I believe they are around $4500.
That K01 would absolutely sing going into a Jeff Rowland preamp. He does MAGIC to music (the /magic' button is the battery suply. when you hear music off the grid, you never go back). If there were ANY way to do it, you should. A nice ayre is a strong 2nd (and easilly within your budget but easy aint always best); I would keep things quiet(er) by staying with solid state. The emotive (not emotiva) is sweet. Believe battery as well (or is hat veloce)?
I'm using 2 PS1200 A/C Regenerators to feed the system so... almost off grid. Battery power is not an absolute necessity here.
BTW, the Regenerators made a significant difference in the overall sound clarity.
Also the room has been treated acoustically, which was the biggest improvement.

Now for some pre amp researchÂ….
Many claim that Threshold amps work very well with Audio Research's pre-amps.
I'm not familiar with the Gallo Ref SA. I believe it has RCA inputs. Will you need two pairs of RCA outputs from the pre-amp to connect to both the Threshold and Gallo amps?
I can highly recommend the Audio Horizons preamp. Beautiful sound and A+ customer service.
After almost a month of research, I've decided to go with Conrad Johnson.
Initially thought of an ET3 or ET5 used, but then decided to increase the budget and go for the GAT!!!
Wish me luck guys.
AWESOME!!!!!! Good luck and great sound to ya.
Thanks, Cerrot!
Obviously hoping the GAT will take my system a few notches higher than it is now.
My biggest concern is how the GAT will integrate itself with the existing components.
Impedance-wise it seems to be fine, but those are just numbers....
Lets see how it works out.
Thanks again
PS Anybody out there with any experience with CJ/Threshold combo, please feel free to chime in
I would consider these four Pre-amps as the very best for the money and are at the very top of the performance chain
that will easily go up against Pre-amps in the $10K to $25K range. 1. The Hegel P-20 at $2900.00. 2. The new Spread Spectrum Technologies Phoebe II Pre-amp at $3000.00 base price that will be released this month. 3. The Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE Pre-amp Deluxe Edition at $3749.00. 4. What may be the best of the four is the recently released Sheng Ya CS-3.5 Pre-amp which is the MK.II version of the CS-3. This remarkable 28 pound beast has six large filter and power transformers. The two main power transformers are two large R-Core's that are completely covered to the left of the main
board. Wima caps throughout. This has the greatest cost value at only $2500.00. Be very careful where you buy
Sheng Ya. Their are two large web sites in China that are selling
black market copies of Sheng Ya components. The best place to buy the CS-3.5 is from Grant Fidelity in B.C. As many are aware, Sheng Ya manufactures all the audio components for Vincent Audio in Germany.
Thanks for the tips.
I have changed my mind about the GAT and instead decided to go for the Supratek Cabernet Dual.

The more I research, the more confusing it becomes, so I've taken the plunge with the supratek