Preamp selection advice for rock music.

I am seeking the collective wisdom of the Gon experts.
I do not have the ability to A/B my picks or to audition
them in my system. I am fairly new to this hobby too.
I have an Audio Aero Prima CDP feeding into a Rotel 1066
prepro. The amp is also a Rotel, model 1095, that is going
to JM Lab Electra 926 Speakers. I have the CDP connected to
the prepro through the multi input so as to avoid the Rotel
DAC's. Not sure if this has an affect on the signal.
I like to listen to classic rock mostly and am looking for
a preamp that will help some of the 'HOT' recordings sound
listenable. Mostly helping with simbalance of the recordings
from Led Zepplin, The Doors and etc. I enjoy the detail and
extension that the Audio Aero CDP gives me along with the
expanded sound stage and would prefer to keep these features. The tubes in the CDP helped some but I think that
a tubed preamp would probably do even more and help with the musicality as well.
The two preamp choices that I have made are the Cary SLP
88 and the Conrad Johnson PV10BL. They are available here
on the gon for about $1000.00 and that would be my price
limit, new or used. I also would like to keep an eye to the future upgrade of my amp the next time upgradeitis rears its
ugly head ! Does it ever end ?
Any other suggestions would also be welcomed. HELP !!!
Given loads of time you can search our forums using 'audio aero' and you will on occasion find people using a preamp to modify your audio aero feed.

I have the Capitole Mark II and it is my understanding tht there is not that much differance in the two unit's DACs.

I was so used to using my pre for bass and treble control that it took me quite some time to just un-plug the pre and stick with the Audio Aero. I doubt I will ever own a pre again except that it does allow for better switching between components.

Since you don't live in an area where you can audition that which you want to buy, I suggest leaving well enough alone. You can try to get a better range amp and speakers as the Audio Aero will output both higher and lower frequencies than components down the line can assimulate.

Still, if you don't get satisfaction on this thread do try a search and I do remember some very respected Audiogoners do use a pre, rare that it may be.
Well, I haven't heard the PV10, but for the last several days I've had the Premier 17 in my system and listened extensively to Echoes from Live at Pompeii. I just the Premier 17 out and went back to the Rogue 66 I've been happy with for a year now. The music doesn't seem to have the same weight and richness, the cymbals are a little mushier, and the soundstage is slightly more compressed. At your price limit though, I would give a serious listen to the Rogue 66 Magnum, because even though the 17 from CJ sounded better, I don't know if it was $3500 worth of better. You can usually pick one up on the Gon for around your price limit. Of course, I can't say anything bad about CJ stuff in general either.
According to your answer, does that mean that connecting
the CDP to the multi input of my prepro would be the same as others who can connect their CDP directly to the amp ?
Or, in other words, the Rotel prepro is not affecting the
CDP signal going through it to the amp.
So are you hoping to keep the RSP-1066 for HT, and add a 2-channel preamp? Or are you abandoning multi-channel and going dedicated 2-channel? I also have the RSP-1066, and while I feel that it is a top unit in its price range, I have been hit by the upgrade bug pretty hard, and I am looking to either add a high end 2-channel pre or (more likely) get a top pre/pro with respectable 2-channel performance (like Krell HTS 7.1 or Theta CasablancaIII).

If you are doing the 2-channel route, but still want to use your Rotel for HT, make sure that whatever preamp you pick up has a "processor" or "HT" pass-through. I know that all newer Audio Research preamps have this, and I would think that a used Audio Research preamp with this option would be a tremendous upgrade for you. Bot the Cary and the CJ are going to sound pretty nice, too, but I don't know about the pass through. If you were going to try and upgrade to another pre/pro, if you sold your RSP-1066, and added your $1,000, you could problably pick up a Theta Casa Nova, which are sonically very excellent, but going for a song because they are only 5.1 channel (and have no muliti-channel input).

Good luck, Tom.
I would try not to alter the signal coming from the Audio Aero. If you can pass the signal through your pre without alteration, and this means also trying not to change it into multi-channel.

I do suspect that, given the greater amount of information coming from your Audio Aero, you would still get a very decent result should you change it to multi-channel; I just woudld't do it.

I would only use a pre as a gloriied switch box and resist using tone/bass controls, etc.

I'm in agreement with what Unclejeff's suggesting. To that end, I love my Blue Circle 21.1 tubed linestage preamp (with Shallco attenuator and NOS tubes). Very musical, big soundstage and fun to roll tubes with.
Some great responses from the pros !
I intend to keep the 1066 for home theater use and was just looking for a preamp that would tame the simbalance of some of my many classic rock CD's. I put the Audio Aero into
the multi input of the 1066 to avoid the DAC's of the 1066
when used in the CD input mode. This was the only thing that
I could think of to do to avoid using the Rotel DAC's.
Am I understanding some you correctly, when you say, that
the Audio Aero is outputing more info than my amp 'and' speakers are capable of handling ? I thought that the JM Lab
Electra speakers werea pretty decent items. I know that the amp is now the weaker link in the system.
Thahks for all of the great info. I really have learned a lot reading these forums.
Your Audio Aero is a great source as it is a match for just about any analog amp made. As a matter of fact there are some test CDs that push the limits of speakers especially at the high end(tweeters) and they come with a disclaimer that says if you use this test CD at a fairly high volumn you can do damage to the speaker that is not built to handle the range, even when putting 100 watts into a 300 watt rated speaker. Take this test Cd and put it into an audio aero and you will amazed at the extraordinary range you get.

I was playing with one using my McIntosh 2102 amp a while back and it reproduced a window breaking and I actually found myself ducking what sounded like a rock coming through my plate glass window!
Hello Saki,

I have heard both the Cary SLP 88 and the Conrad Johnson PV10 on my system and I can tell you that the Cary is richer and more dynamic than the Conrad Johnson PV10. The Conrad Johnson PV10 wins out in terms of the width and depth of the soundstage and the tightness of the imaging but is a bit more dry sounding than the Cary.

The Cary to me is more realistic and really helps you just relax and get into the music. Both preamps reveal very fine musical details but the Cary SLP 88 seems to paint a complete picture better than the PV 10. I have found that adding tube dampners to the Cary SLP 88 helped improve the imaging and soundstage on an already excellent preamp.

In summary, I think both preamps will take away the "hot" sound you are experiencing but the SLP 88 will be fuller and more musical in my opinion.

I hope this helps.