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.


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.
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.