Reliability of brand


For a budget of $3000, which preamp is most reliable? I am leaning towards Mcintosh for the reason there is a recommended service center near where I live. This is a recommended service center listed on the Mcintosh website. I am a new member here, returning after inactive for several years. Recently, because of the crisis and the oil price plummeting, I have some free time on my hand because I was off the job market. So I am looking to upgrade my preamp after using my Onkyo as a processor for so many years. I am trying to learn from this board here so please have some patience.

My system:

Amplifier: Mcintosh MC2200, (it is old, I know, 1976 vintage)
Audio Processor: Onkyo TX-NR801
CD Player: Sony DVP-S9000ES and Yamaha DVD-C920
Magnepan 1.7

I know it is not much but it will do for now. I want to upgrade to a better amplifier and a preamp and that is why I am turning to this board. And the fact that I am not working now is I need to watch how I spend my money real conservatively for it to last for a long time. I hope I can learn along the way and pass it on to some of my friends. I knew two older colleague who also used this board constantly to upgrade their equipment. One of them had a Krell amplifier that died and the weight of 150 lbs alone prevented him to get it repaired. That is why reliability and price are the most two important considerations for me, right after performance.

I had spent half the afternoon reading through my search: "best preamp." The opinion varies by a wide range. The is no collective thought like a report or a chart plotting the results. For an example, if I am looking for a preamp between $2000 to $3000, I wish there is a report stating the frequency of the brand mentioned by the board members and plot them on a chart, like a charting of a survey. Is there such a report or study? Thank you for your input and your time.

sengr
Bryston preamps come with a 20 year warranty, so that is another brand to consider.
And Coda comes with a 10 year, 5 year transferable warranty.
But, my next pre is going to be a Don Sachs....
A well made pre of any brand isn't normally troublesome. Get the one that sounds best. The pre is important! And make sure that it has features that you want like balance, mute or tone controls etc.

I’m a Mac guy through and through. I picked up a Zpre3 Parasound, 3-400.00 dollars. What a cool little preamp.. Remote, sub volume control all kinds of little goodies.

Mac, pick one you can afford and can go through if you need to(older). They have a good phono section, service everywhere. Play through for the HT if you all ready have one. Tone control, is a big plus for me. no matter the manufacture.

Somebody will chime in about a good integrated. That’s an option too, I suppose. Sell the MC2200 and a couple grand aught to get a good Integrated.

That Sony is a real keeper.. a real sonic nugget...

Regards
You want a straight wire with gain, a top of the line remote,
amazi g features, and one of the best volume controls in the business.

 Plus,...GET THIS..........a LIFETIME WARRANTY,  get the Sanders sound preamp, and never look back.

 http://sanderssoundsystems.com/products/preamplifier
 A little over budget, but sign up for the Magnepan website (forum)
 get a discount.
call Roger, he is amazing to deal with and a professional engineer, who invented the curved electrostat speaker with perfectly timed bass driver incorporated in his speakers.
man is a genius, call him, and see what he says, 
30 day trial, risk free.

just call Roger, and talk with him,  one of audios very best.

your welcome.
 Preamp has 20K of capacitance, amazing pre!

just call him, and see what is possible.

cheers.
I've not had a ton of repair experiences but I have experienced incredibly fast turnaround from Bryston. 

As far as Mac, I am fortunate- I can make it up to Binghamton, spend the day in Binghamton, and come back after dinner all in one day. With my almost obligatory stop in Roscoe, it's about 3 hours each way

Reliability is one thing, after-sales service may be another, though the two often coincide.

In the unlikely event the preamp should break down, plenty of companies are very reliable.  Starting with Bryston, but then also Pass, Ayre, Jeff Rowland, Modwright, and numerous others.

Are you buying a preamp based on service/reliability or sound quality.  All of the preamps above have circuit boards.  If you are a long term owner, to me that is an issue.  I repair so many items for several reasons, the design has flaws, the parts are cheap (think tube sockets), poor quality caps & resistors that degrade with heat, etc.

Happy Listening.
oldhvymec,
I recently switched over to the Mcintosh camp and I'm very happy with the results. I also have a Zpre3 for an office system that simply defies it's price and size, great little preamp. If I was the OP I'd grab one of those and save up for a newer used Mcintosh integrated. Another kilobuck would put you real close. 

Reliability and serviceability are important to me as well. But so is the lifestyle factor. I'm working from home now and my stereo is on at least 16 hours a day, doing double duty with the entertainment center as well. This Mcintosh runs so efficient and cool it's hard to tell it's even running by putting your hand on top. So as much as I liked them in the past, no more tubes or Class A for me. 

Good luck with your choices Sengr. 


Glad to see the Parasound ZPre3 getting recommendations here. I purchased one as my primary pre for all my 2 channel listening, (use the HT ZPre3 bypass to run my AV receiver through as my room Is used for both, and another great feature for me vs the more ‘painful’ options of pre’s without), and could not be happier with that piece. For the price, it sure seems to be a bargain. I’ve heard more than one person think it’s equal to more expensive units.
Supratek Chardonnay. 
+1 for the MAC integrated, a used MA 252 might be within reach, the tube front end will add a little sweetness

Best,
-JP 
If you decide to go integrated check the Parasound Halo it really pairs well with Maggie 1.7 speakers. I ran mine that way and it was amazing sounding.It also offers just about everything you need. The older model should be available for under $1500.
Happy listening
Had a Bryston B60. Lightning strike killed everything in the room. Sent to Bryston repair center.

Forgot to mention the strike (dumb) so they called me and asked what happened. I told them straight away.

They said and I quote: "We don’t usually warranty lightning strikes but we’ll fix it this time."

That amp is gone but there is still and always will be something marked "Bryston" on my rack. Eh!


Amplifier: Mcintosh MC2200, (it is old, I know, 1976 vintage)
@sengr If your amp really is that old, if its not had the power supplies refurbished recently then you will want to get that done if you want that amp to run reliably. It will also sound better for it.
Rogers amps have a lifetime warranty.
I would guide you towards a proper matching of electronics to your loudspeakers.  Brand shopping with longevity may or may not get you the sound that you desire.  
Listen and choose...best of luck!
A CJ5 Inspire preamp made by Dennis Had. Save thousands over a McIntosh. All hand wired, high quality parts. Can’t be touched.
Avoid brands that are subcontracted to the lowest Chinese, etc. bidder. GAS (Ampzilla) and Hafler were randomly unreliable.  The designs were great, but like too many audio designers, they contracted out the product, and sold a crap load, then unloaded the company, to begin another. Check to see where it is made.