Preamp suggestions


I am looking for preamp suggestions for my current system. I like good resolution and definition along with some punch and well defined bass. I have little experience with what’s out there as for these characteristics. Mainly been looking in the $800 - $1500 range, new or used.

Amp – Halo A-21
Speakers – B&W 683
CD Player – Cambridge 740

Preamps tried:
Halo P-3 – felt this was way too laid back for what I like. There were some really nice aspects, but overall just not enough punch or resolution.

Rotel RC 1070 – This one just doesn’t cut it on any level for me – not saying it might not work well in some systems, but for mine it’s very disappointing.

Carver CT24 – no joke, this has great resolution in the high end. Even a couple of friends agreed that it is very pleasing. Issues are the mids are a little muddy and over driven and it can seem harsh at times and it’s really old, but it was what made me realize some of the potential of the Halo and B&W 683s and to start looking for a decent preamp to begin with. I just want to reach the full potential of what I currently have – i.e. the Carver is actually “fun” listening – with the P-3 and RC 1070 I missed that.

Preamps I have been considering from reviews and reputation – Cambridge 840E, Arcam FMJ C31 or C30, PS Audio GCP 200 and I’ve seen several used from Krell, Classe and Bryston within my budget. Problem is, without hearing them in my system, it’s another shot in the dark, having little experience with different brands and their specific characteristics. I would also like to stay with solid state at this time.

Any helpful suggestions would be appreciated. I know this isn’t a “high-end” system, but it can certainly be more enjoyable than it is currently and I can’t just keep buying preamps hoping that I hit the right combo for what I like – nice clean sound, good resolution - something that makes listening fun…

Rowland Capri?
Used Adcom GFP-750. Nelson Pass deigned, former Class A product.
Modwright 9.0 might work well for you.
Of the ones you have named, I recommend the best Bryston you can afford.
I use French-made Atoll PR300 with my A21. Used it's in your price range, and has every quality you're looking for. I've never seen products from different manufacturers that work this good together. To me it sounds even better than the Parasounds own JC-2 pre.
Second the Modwright,above average build quality and sonics at your price point.
I third the Modwright. Excellent sound and value. Punches way above it's price point.
I had alot of bass in my
Yamaha CX-1000 pre amp.
It sounded too bassy, now, I use a
Pioneer Elite C-91 pre-amp.
Less bass BUT MORE AIRY.
This may sound crazy but an absolute killer is the Proceed AVP2. One is currently listed now well within your price range. Not only is the a fully balanced analog preamplifier but it also has an EXTREMELY nice sounding DAC and can do some other things as well like digital crossover. It shares a lot of its guts with the Levinson 40.
If you like old school solid-state designs then the Burson PRE-160 has very high performanc/price ratio.
The Coda here for 800 is a bargain.
First of all you have compiled some amazing components so far. I would consider checking out entry level tube models from well know manufacturers. If you are looking for more information aside from learning here before purchasing, pick up the book "The complete guide to high-end audio"

Good luck!
If an audio dealer knows serious about purchasing,I'm sure
that they would let you do a home audition(that's what I do)
when I'm out on the hunt.
Why spent 2-5000 and up on a pc.and when it's at home,in your room,your speakers ect.and find it's not even close to what it was in the store.
Even on here,we can all suggest this and that,but we don't have your room or speakers ect,or most importantly,we don't have YOUR EARS.
I'd go window shopping,it pays off for you and the dealer,
especially if they want a sale and you'll be alot happier for it in the long run.
If you are only using the CD player as your source you may want to consider a passive preamp. They can be had for a fraction of your budget and are easily resold.
You might consider an Audible Illusions Modulus 3A. Ususally can be had for $1000 or so. I know about the reputation for eating tubes but in my experience it's not happened. Great preamp but not the most ergonomic since no remote and two volume controls.
Audition an Audio Research LS-17. Although these are rare, used you may find one if you can extend your budget just a little. It is a different world and provides a great glimpse into the stratesphere costs of their Reference Series. If you are looking for a preamp that embodies its own sound look elsewhwere. I have owned many of the ones in previous notes here and this is a real keeper. Talk about dead silent background and dynamics that are very special. All it has is input selector, volume and mute but in reality that's all that is needed. No bells or whhistles on this model. It does have a remote and balanced outputs that IMO are both requirements. Good Luck in your search.