Preamp HELP!!! for Pass Aleph 3

I have a Pass Aleph 3 and Proac Response 1SC, Red Dawn speaker cable. I currently have a choice of Naim CD 3.5, SF SFCD-1, and Conrad Johnson DV2b. I have Cardas Golden Cross between my BAT VK3i preamp and the Pass, and Red Dawn between the CD player and the BAT. Does anyone know a better full function preamp I could be using? Which CD player would you use? Or any system modifications I could make?
I'm selling a CAT SL-1 III with Phono for a firm $2600, but you don't mention LP's as a source, and if you're not playing them, and especially if you have only one source, I should mention that I've used a DIY passive preamp very successfully with the Aleph 3, and Nelson Pass told me that many other customers of his have too, despite its low gain and lowish input impedance. You can EASILY put together a better passive preamp than anything commercial that I've read about: a ladder stepped attenuator using excellent resistors and excellent switches (dual mono, gives you a balance control too, if you use those things). My passive sounds a lot better with CD's than my CAT. But it wasn't clear from your posting what you find unsatisfactory about your present setup. How do you expect another preamp to be better? What do you feel that you're lacking now?
Wow! You have a very similar setup to mine. I am using a Pass Aleph P, Aleph 2 monoblocks, Audio Physic Virgos, red dawn cabling, and a sony xa7es cd player. I have some questions for you! 1. How do you like the conrad-johnson tube dac compared to the SF and your solid state Naim ? I'm thinking of adding some tubeness to my digital front end 2. Have you come to any conclusions on the red dawn verses cardas cabling ? On preamps: The wadia 830 without a preamp sounded great when I heard it directly (via xlr) into a volksamp 30(same as pass aleph 3), and your model of proac speakers. I recently replaced my adcom gfp 750 (for sale on audiogon!) with the pass aleph P. I did an a/b comparison and found that the adcom (in passive mode) had about 95% of the sound quality of the active aleph P w/gain turned all the way down. I understand they are both from the same basic nelson pass design. I would guess it's the parts quality and 1/2" thick metal chassis of the $4000 Pass that causes it to outperform the $1250 adcom. Earlier this year, I had demoed an audible illusions 3a, and found that the adcom was superior. The ai added a little euphony, but took away a significant amount of detail compared to the passive adcom. The sterling quality of the alephs is their ultra-quietness and incredible clarity. A matching ultra-quiet preamp seemed to be 'enhance' this quality.
I use a Rogue Audio 99 with phono stuffed full of Telefunkens.With my Aleph-3 I get a monster of a soundstage,deep,tight bass and pristine highs.The mids are very tonally pure.My only problem is some slight upper mid forwardness.I think that will be corrected with better speaker cables which I am working on now.Some Kimber 8TC on loan have helped a bit but not enough.Next up Harmonic Technology Pro-11's
I was pleased with the sound of the Pass 3 used with the Audible Illusions 3A. I'd still be listening to that pair if I did not currently have speakers that require more power.
First of all, lose the cheap power cables that Pass sends with thier amps! Second, lose the Bat preamp,Tubes with this amp don't work. Get the Pass X1.Get a good phono preamp. Stick with the Sony Sacd-1, nothing touches it!
P.S I had the BAT5 preamp thinking that i might like it better then my Classe six. The Classe blew it away, and it is also full function! Got rid of the Bat, kept the Classe. I have since been using the Pass X1, now this preamp is in a league of it's own. I have had the Classe for years, iam now trying to sell it. If you need more details you can feel free to e- mail me.
As far as a tube preamp "not working" with a aleph-3 thats incorrect.My 99 mates very well with it.Maybe yours didnt but to say "tubes dont work" is silly.Second,if you read the reviews you will see many tried using different power cords with the Aleph-3 and none that I read found one that worked better than the one Pass supplies and some degraded the sound.The cords are made for the high current.USE THEM and DONT THINK "TUBES DONT WORK!"
I have had an excellent match with a Muse Model 3 pre for my Aleph 2's. Mine is the one without the additional power supply. They are new around 2k, but used in the 800-900 range. I used to own an Aleph 3 and "upgraded" to the monos. I am not sure I like them as much as the 3. I think your speakers are good for the Aleph 3 as well. My system, if it helps is a Muse 5 transport, EAD 7000 MkIII D/A for front end. The model 3 pre and B&W 804s. I used to run the Red Dawn from pre to power until auditioning the WBT 5150 cable. Great neutral cable that worked better in my system- now I'm using a Zeus Audio silver cable from pre to power- large improvement (good product even if the company was awful). Speaker cables are Cardas. I used to run RD speaker cable as well, and it worked wonderfully in my old large home. Now, I have moved to a smaller place and the room acoustics really harshened up the sound I was getting with the RD, so I put the RD away and switched to the Cardas for a short term fix until my abode grows again. Anyway, I found the Muse pre to be very neutral and sounds wonderful with the Aleph stuff.It also appealed o the lazy man in me as it has a remote. Also, I agree with whomever said to ditch the cheap PC's that Pass sends with the amps. I spoke with the Pass guys at length when i bought the amps and they said "not to waste money on better PC's" for these amps. It was hard for me to buy this as someone who has way too much accessory tweaking, conditioning, and cable madness going on,but I went along with the advice and stayed with thee factory cables. I only recently put some very reasonably priced (200 a pop) Discovery PC's on the monos and what a difference! Much more open and dynamic- just like any other time I've improved the PC's on any component- go figure. Anyway, to make your short question long as I have, try the Muse if you have the opportunity, Kevin Halverson- the owner/designer is a very reasonable guy and his stuff sounds great. Hope this was of some help. Todd (tsquared)
Thanks for all the help! I ended up buying a used Pass Aleph P with remote for $1500--I consider it a bargain. I am looking for a pair of Nordost SPM interconnects to link them. Any other suggestions? Rest of system: Proac 1SC, Analysis Plus 12, Basis/SME/Clearaudio, Black Cube, Vecteur CD player (soon, I hope).
I have an ALEPH 5 with a CJ PV10A Pre Amp. I like the combo. Like other CJ tube gear the PV10A tends to mellow the sound a bit. CJ unit is a good value for the $$.