Preamp Options


I am interested in upgrading my integrated musical fidelity kw500 and replacing it with a pair of mono blocks and a preamp.

I am looking at the following pre amps:
Lamm ll2 reference
Lamm ll2.1 deluxe
Von Gaylord uni
Allinic l-3000
Audion quattro 2 chassis

If I go with the lamm, I will probably pair with lamm mono blocks. If I go with the uni, I will probably pair with the uni mono blocks.

I currently have Von Gaylord chinchilla interconnects and chinchilla speaker cables. I have some shunyata power cords and a hydra 8. I currently use b&w 803d speakers that are bi-wired. I listen primarily to indie rock and vocals using a vpi Aries 2 extended with a sound smith smmc1 cartridge.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

All really nice preamps, based on my experience with them, (and in researching the Gaylord). My thoughts on your list though:

Remote Control:
Only the Allnic comes with a remote control.
Do you really want to not have a remote?
(I'll be honest and state that I REALLY like having a remote for the volume control, and it is a must have at this point in my life. I can live without having a remote for most things, such as input selection, display brightness, etc., but for volume and muting it is a must have option, IMHO.)
I should also point out that the Lamm has dual volume controls, (rather than one volume control and a separate balance control), and while this is an elegant solution, not everyone, myself included, likes to use two volume controls.

Do you now, or in the future, wish to run a fully balanced system?
If so, the Lamm is not fully balanced, and nor is the Gaylord, (I believe).
(Again, only the Allnic is balanced, although I think the Audion has it as an option.)
I prefer to run a fully balanced system myself, (but that is merely a preference, and not a requirement of a good preamp, but it is something to consider).

These are all line stage preamps.
This means you'll need to buy a separate phono stage, (and given your list, it will need to be a reference grade unit, so make sure you have the money budgeted for that.)
(I too listen almost exclusively to vinyl, so I prefer having a full function preamp. One can always add a separate phono stage at a later point. But this definitely adds to your costs, as it means another box, and another high quality interconnect. Of course it does mean added flexibility, at added cost, which is a counterpoint to having a full function preamp.)

Customer Service:
Allnic and Audion are based out of the USA, which means service might be problematic, (especially Allnic, as it is in Korea).
Both Lamm and Gaylord are in the USA, which means customer service is usually easier to obtain.
(I KNOW Lamm is a great company, as I have owned the Lamm M2.1 monoblocks for a few years now, and I have communicated with them on a variety of subjects, and they have always been very helpful. But their products are very reliable, so I have not had an occasion to use their service department. Knock on wood!) ;-)

If it were me, (and it is not, as I am pretty happy with my Ayre K-1xe), but I think I would check out the Atma-sphere MP-1 Mk. 3.1. (It is a full function preamp, (i.e. it has phono section and a really great one too); it is a fully balanced design; and it now has a remote available.)

(FYI, this is choice is based on research, and not my auditioning, as I have not had an opportunity to actually listen to this unit. But it would be up at the top of my list to audition were I to fall into some money, (and a lot of it!), which I could use to upgrade my system. As you can tell, while I don't have the inclination or the funds to upgrade, at this point in time, I still have the curiosity as to what I would upgrade to, should the opportunity present itself.) ;-)

My thoughts on your list on anyway.
Good Luck in your search!
Kurt_tank thank you for the response.

I am not too worried about a remote, since I have to get up all the time to flip the LP. I currently have the Lamm LP2 deluxe, which sounds awesome and made me want to consider additional Lamm gear.

I currently run single-ended since all of my runs are pretty short and I have not found any interference issues.

If anyone has done any comparison that would be great. Since I am located in San Francisco, Von Gaylord is willing to let me audition the system, which I will definitely do, but I have no way to audition the Lamm, Allnic, or Audion.

In consideration of your location I suggest you audition an Audio Horizons pre amp,a California based company.Their pre amps are well reviewed and the subject of much discussion on this forum.
The suggestion of reviewing a preamp by Audio Horizons makes good sense. I auditioned some of the names you mentioned along with a Audio Research Ref III and easily chose a fully tricked out Audio Horizons. Hope this helps. Steve
Thanks for the feedback everyone.
The Coincident Technologies Line Stage is an incredible pre-amp and by far the best one can get at $5,000. The only downside is it only has two inputs and no remote. Sound-wise, you won't find a better unit. Coincident also makes a great phono stage at around $5,500.

The Audion Quattro 2-chassis is also an excellent unit.

I have seen on Audiogon the Einstein The Tube Mark II at $11,000. It is also an incredible pre-amp, fully balanced, very dynamic, crystal clear with great micro and macro dynamics.
Since you live in San Francisco you could check out the Shindo products at Pitch Perfect Audio.
Thanks everyone.
Have a look at the TRON Seven. Beautifully made (to order) Brit boutique tube pre distributed by Jeff Catalano at Highwater Sound NYC. Great sound quality and can be customised to suit your system (with or without phono, silver/copper wire, matched cartridge loading etc). I gather a lot of people commented positively about the TRON gear at RMAF.