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…

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.