assuming your front is pure digital streaming or local hard drive.
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I've heard preamps that influenced the sound character as much as amplifiers have.
But the reality is amplifiers are a more difficult product to consider because of the need to consider what sort of load it is driving (i.e. the speakers). And thus the larger number of questions and opinions about amplifiers.
I don't think an integrated amplifier is automatically equal to lower sound quality when compared to separates.
A lot of people Claim preamp has more influence on sound than amp.
Yes and these people are what we call, "wrong". No one component is any more or less important than any other. This extends beyond complete discrete components all the way down to component parts like caps, resistors, diodes, wire, etc. Even the chassis matters. Everything matters. Please see the System Description.
But in reality there are close to 10 :1 discussions on amps than preamp. What’s your thoughts?
Yes but that only highlights the inadequate education of the typical audiophile. One who knows the subject knows to compare everything based on sound, and knows everything matters equally, and there would be no such imbalance. Beware the audiophile bearing tech talk.
And how would you distribute your money between them? How much sound quality do you sacrifice for a same power integrated amp?
None. In fact it is the other way around. Its impossible for separates to match the performance of a really good integrated amp without spending a whole lot more money. This is because of the simple fact the two components require an extra power cord and interconnect. Only by not counting those in the total is it possible to come anywhere close in performance.
Those who tout separates therefore must always fall back on imagined gains in flexibility or reliability, or looks, or... well anything other than sound quality. Which simply cannot be matched without spending a whole lot more money.
Since we all regardless of budget are limited in some way it then becomes impossible to beat an integrated with separates. The question of how much you give up in sound quality is difficult to measure. But its there. We tried. We know.
As for the larger question of how much to allocate, that one is a lot harder to answer. Its not really about money. Its about sound. A really superb sounding tube integrated like a Raven Nighthawk for $4k could be matched beautifully with truly awesome Tekton Ulfberht speakers for almost three times as much, and connected with SR Atmosphere speaker cables that cost more than the amp. That would be divine because they are all exceptional and nicely matched even though nowhere near the same in price.
Likewise there are components like the Herron VTPH2A phono stage that are so good for such a reasonable price (under $4k) that it makes it worth the stretch if you are anywhere near there, and almost silly to go more unless you are silly loaded. The best systems are comprised of components like this, where each one offers exceptional performance at its price level, whatever that may be.
Ultimately, go by sound, not price. Use price as only the crudest first step in the process.
Assuming digital source only.How many of you would spend more on preamp than amp? Take Pass For example: how much difference a $9500 XP22 preamp will bring you over the $5800 XP12? I am sure the xp22 will be better. Most people have a limited budget. I am just looking for the most bang for my money. I know the extra $3700 will buy me a lot more power from Pass lab amp which will benefits a lot for most floor speakers.
I own several preamps,
each add their own sound except one.
ONKYO p308 ads bass oomph, and a nice midrange chunky sound which is awesome.
b&k pro10mc is great, almost no added tone, with a slight bass and treble emphasis.
McCormack LD-2 is great adding a bit of midrange depth,o and treble clarity.
sanders sound preamp is the best straightwire pre, I’ve ever owned. It’s essentially a straightwire with gain as I’ve found.
At low volume, it seems bass weak, when pushed,, the low end just appears. With 2oK of capacitance, it shines at louder levels.
Best pre I’ve heard in a long time.
You need to listen to a lot, and decide for ur self.
happy hunting. I’ve found my trio, and Each is great in their own way.
@kfz03110 if you're not sure about your speakers yet or if you go through speakers more frequently than your other components, it would probably be wiser to allocate higher priority to your amplifier budget in order to get an amplifier that will be capable of driving harder speaker loads.
In other words, if you change your speakers you might find your existing amplifier isn't driving them to their full potential. But that wouldn't be the case for the preamplifier which would either still be paired with the same amplifier or paired with a different amplifier which is still likely to have a high enough input impedance.
(That's all ignoring the question of sound character.)
since running a pre / power amp combo for the first time the sound quality is noticeably a little better compared to my very good integrated amp- slightly better transparency.
what really blows me away is the massive increase in jump factor dynamics and separation of instruments- especially using balanced connections.
the difference is spectacular and highly recommended.
I don’t think it makes much sense to discuss which component has more or less importance or impact. As others have said, it’s a system and every component is critical. That said, in my system I hear bigger differences between preamps than amps, and I did end up spending more on my preamp than my amp. But my speakers are relatively highly efficient, and my guess is that has something to do with why amps don’t sound as dramatically different compared to preamps in my particular system. If I had less efficient speakers or a different system my spending could’ve been completely opposite, which is why I don’t think there’s much point to making general conclusions on what’s more or less important.
And as far as sacrificing quality with an integrated, I don’t buy that. There are advantages and disadvantages both ways and depends more on parts quality and how well the amp is designed. Again, blanket statements that one or the other is superior is pointless and decisions need to be made on a case-by-case basis IMHO.