Preamp upgrade for NAD 320BEE

My current system includes an Arcam CD73, a pair of Wharfedale Pacific Evo 8 bookshelf speakers and a NAD 320BEE integrated amp. As of yesterday I was using an Exposure Super XV integrated amp, but I constantly get a ground loop buzz sound with it, and despite all my efforts it will not go away.

So I'm back to the NAD 320BEE. Coming from the Exposure, its sound is warmer, which I like, but sounds slightly muddy and lacks the soundstage that the Exposure had. I use jumper cables currently to connect the preamp to the amp of the NAD320BEE unit. I think this means I can use a separate preamp.

Any thoughts/recommendations on a good budget preamp that might add some soundstage and clarity back to my music. FYI, I listen exclusively to classic jazz.

Hi-Since your NAD does not have phono, I assume you dont need it. You dont mention a budget, but I will assume $500. For that, I would look to used gear. I really like McCormack products. The Micro Line Drive pre amp or the TLC pre amp are both excellent, and Steve McCormack is still around to service stuff or answer questions. Other options might be to get a used tube pre amp-conrad johnson, van alstine, audible illusions, but they might be out of your price range or perhaps an older PAS 3 (but it will probably sound a bit warm). Good luck.
You are EXACTLY in the same boat that I was on some months ago. And all I can suggest you is to get a Promitheus TVC. I am sure your NAD will sound much more better than the Exposure you are using. I am using a Reference C-Core version with my NAD C352 ( You might get a used Promitheus on Audiogon for much less. Your NAD has great input sensitivity 630mV, which will work superbly with the Promitheus TVC.

What is the rest of your system?

Thanks for the recommendation. I'll look into that. Rest of my system:

CD player: Arcam CD73
Speakers: Wharfedale Pacific Evo 8
Cables: audioart (both speaker and interconnects)
PS Audio power conditioner.
You'll need to find out the input impedance of the amp section of the 320BEE. Then you can pick a preamp that will work with that spec.

See the review of the C372 for an example:

The input impedance in this example is fairly low, which would probably limit your preamp choices.
What about going the other way? I read some reviews last night that the 320BEE actually has a good preamp, but that the sound is greatly improved by a more powerful amp. I'm assuming that just as I would plug a preamp into the NAD, I could have the NAD go out to a separate amp. I think I might have access to an old Adcom amp of my fathers from the 1990s.
Have you considered adding a sub with an external bass management controller like the NHT X2? That should give you the two attributes (increase soundstage and clarity) that you cited.

Some subs like the SVS SB12-Plus have bass management builtin. I've been very happy with the SB12-Plus in my office system.

Try the NAD C-162 preamp. For the $$$, the C-162 is decent. I know many people who use the NAD C-162 pre-amp with power amps that are 4 or 5 times more expensive than the NAD pre-amp in their audio setup. A pair of pre-amp jumper cable is a cheap tweak that can improve the clarity of your system not much but noticeably.

Or you can try the brand that Mr. Milpai had suggested.

I have owned a few NAD integrated (326BEE, 352, and 372)

IMO, I think the pre-amp section is not as good as the amp section in any NAD integrated.

The budget NAD amps (320BEE, 325BEE, and 326BEE) are great budget amps for the $$$ but because of the way they were designed to compete in their respective price ranges, they may sound a bit warm (a bit overemphasis on mid-bass and upper bass).
IMO, I think the pre-amp section is not as good as the amp section in any NAD integrated.

Hieule5, I completely agree with you on this
That's interesting re the preamp. I have access to an old Adcom preamp/receiver I think from the early 90s. (My father used to own one, paired with an Adcom amp). Paired with the the NAD 320BEE, sounds like that might help, or at least worth a test.
I have upgraded the jumpers on the NAD320 actually. Robert Fritz at audioart cables made a pair for me from his acclaimed IC-3 interconnects. Did make a noticeable improvement in clarity (less "muddy" sounding overall).

I generally prefer a warmer sound than a colder, more accurate system. That's why I generally stay with english equipment. That said, what I don't like about my system is that the soundstage/depth doesn't seem to exist.
Update. Well, I thought the cheapest first step was to try an old Adcom pre-amp that was lying around in my father's basement. Adcom GTP-500 pre-amp/tuner. Hooked it up to the NAD 320BEE integrated.

The sound improvement is remarkable. The soundstage has opened up and some of the warmness that seemed to be masking the details is back. Things like the snar-drum and jazz guitar picking are crystal clear; vocals I can hear the texture in the voice again.

Thanks for everyone's help. I imagine when I save some $$, I'll purchase a better pre-amp.
I am happy for you. Save up the $$$ for a decent pre-amp or at least a used C162