Preamp with Tone Control Recommendations ....


I have a desire to get a preamp with tone controls. Can you recommend something? McIntosh C50/C2500/C2300 come to mind and the C50 is rising to the top. I think I'd like the tone controls on the preamp as opposed to adding an equalizer although I am not opposed to that option. Thanks in advance!
Convert?fit=crop&h=128&rotate=exif&w=128joeinid
Any of those units would be good choices and all have the same EQ capability. Had the C2300 and currently use a C50. C50 warms up faster and is a bit better with electronic instruments, but is somewhat clinical in comparison on acoustic material (something I generally prefer). C2500 is a C2300 with a DAC - don't know if that would make a difference for you.

I'm not a fan of separate EQs in the home environment; extra cables = too much noise potential. Internal tone controls are inherently better shielded. Good luck & happy listening!
Not many options anymore! Looks like an EQ is the only way to go!
Triode Corporation TRX-1 Tube Pre-amp comes with tone controls.

The great thing is that these tone controls can be bypassed too; using the remote.
Get a D'Agostino Momentum preamp for only $32,000. Sure, it's a little pricey but hey, you get tone controls.
Spread Spectrum Technologies Ambrosia
While the TRX-1 is only $3000, $1700 on audiogon.
I got the Mcintosh c 2300 and its fantastic with my Threshold SA4e.It is the best pre with tone controls (maybe D agustino is better?). And you can steer the tone controls via the remote. Thats unice and very handy. It a shame that the bigger Mcintosh get rid of tone controls. Many manufactures claim that tone controls damage the sound. I have had numerous high end pres and the C2300 is better that any of them
Get a D'Agostino Momentum preamp for only $32,000. Sure, it's a little pricey but hey, you get tone controls.

Ha!

I had the D'Agostino Momentum. Sure it has tone controls but they are not independent and have no zero point. So that means once you engage them you HAVE to use BOTH bass AND treble. Not an ideal solution and frankly annoying at that price point. I do have to say it was one of the finest sounding preamps I've ever heard. If it had properly designed tone controls, I would have been happy.
@ Joeinid, Hi, you said you had the momentum preamp?, what do you have now?
Effischer and Ulf,

Thank you. I had the C2300 two years ago and I'm sorry I sold it. The C2500 would be the logical upgrade and the DAC might be a bonus (as long as it sounds good).

Sure I believe tone controls affect the sound, maybe not damage it. But once you cross that line, it dosen't seem to matter.

My ideal preference in the McIntosh line would be a C500T (or even the C500P) with the tone controls of the C50, totally bypassable of course.

Thank you for all the suggestions, please keep them coming.
Essrand,

The Triode Corporation TRX-1 looks cool but I think the output impedance might too high for my situation. I'll check it out.
If you could afford a D'agostino preamp, look for a used Cello Audio Palette or Audio Suite, those might give you the flexibility you'd want. Not easy to find used, though.
A modded Dynaco PAS 3 might surprise you assuming taking out tone controls wasn't part of the mod .
If you could afford a D'agostino preamp, look for a used Cello Audio Palette or Audio Suite, those might give you the flexibility you'd want. Not easy to find used, though.

Thanks, but I'd like to keep to current gear at reasonable prices.
@ Joeinid, Hi, you said you had the momentum preamp?, what do you have now?

Hi,

I have a CJ GAT and sometimes I use my EAR Acute III direct depending on what amps I am using.
I should have added to the post above that I have no intention of getting rid of my CJ GAT. I had one two years ago and missed it so much that I replaced it.
Your experience makes the argument that the preamp itself is a tone control of sorts. When people ask me for a romantic old fashioned warmish tuby sound pre, I point them in the CJ direction.
As a CJ Gat owner and dealer, the GAT is anything but colored like the old CJ stuff of yore, the GAT has an organic quality that is truly outstanding, it is very transparent without being cold or overly romantic.
Your experience makes the argument that the preamp itself is a tone control of sorts. When people ask me for a romantic old fashioned warmish tuby sound pre, I point them in the CJ direction.

I agree with that statement but the current series of CJ preamps is far from the CJ of old. The ET series and GAT are ever so slightly on the warmer side of the scale and certainly more neutral.
As a CJ Gat owner and dealer, the GAT is anything but colored like the old CJ stuff of yore, the GAT has an organic quality that is truly outstanding, it is very transparent without being cold or overly romantic.

Exactly! Very well said. Two years ago I sold my GAT to a friend thinking I could find something better. No way. The GAT is the most satisfying preamp that I've owned. So much so I broke down and replaced it six months ago. It's wonderful. My only reason for a tone control search is some music I listen to on certain speakers can be too much of a good thing. I am just looking for variety.
Thankyou for your response Joeinid, very interesting that you prefer the cj over the momentum.
Accuphase: C-2420, C-2820 or C-3800.
Paul,

Beautiful system! Thanks.
I would also check out the Classé CP-800
Thank you for your response Joeinid, very interesting that you prefer the cj over the momentum.

The GAT is a great preamp. I love it. The D'Agostino is quirky but sounds great.

I would also check out the Classé CP-800

I was hoping the mark II or upgraded CP-800 would be out by now but I think they have other priorities.
Some preamps with tone controls:
Several of the Luxman models
AVM PA5.2
Accuphase
Several of the Triode of Japan models
Marantz PM-1451, SC-1151
Octave HP700