I know the Bedini 25/25 is a bit hard to come by, but no one?!
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I had a 25/25 years ago so I can only share some historical perspective with present day speculation. I had a buffered line stage from Stan Warren (Superphon) that I paired with a Threshold phone stage. I then moved to the matching Threshold line stage. Keeping that in mind, Pass Labs would be a good choice today. If you want tubes, then I suggest Herron Audio. I would also look for a used CJ Premier 18 or 16 LS2 and the CJ phono stage.
Thank you, Cellorover! (I knew I couldn't be the only Bedini owner left.) I used to have a Threshold line stage and wondered about using one again. And it is interesting that one of your suggestions would be Herron, because I started looking into that possibility about 3.5 years ago and am leaning in that direction now, although the price is right up there. How do the Herron and CJ pre's compare in your experience?
Good question: Herron versus CJ. I loved my CJ Premier 18, yet the reviewers said that the 16 LS 2 was better-- maybe it was because it was a tubed CJ. Who knows. The Herron preamp is as everyone has described it... it sounds more like music. The 18 was pure and clean and never got in the way. Quiet, musical, etc. It is a great preamp whose sound I remember very well. The Herron brings the music to you. That is the only way I can describe it. I am pre-ampless now, but giving serious consideration to re-introducing one to my system. IMO you cannot go wrong with either.
Just posted this for someone looking for a preamp for his Pass amps. I also have a Bedini 45/45 that have excellent synergy with the CJ pres.
"I started with their CT-5, then ACT 2.2 and now their ART 2 and 3. I haven't heard but feel confident in recommending their older Premiere 16 and 17 if budget is a concern.
These are very pure in design: Just one gain stage, pure class A, no negative feedback and no cathode follower."