Review: Marsh Sound Design P-2000t Tube preamp

Category: Preamps

1 musical tastes is mostly jazz, some rock new and old, r&b
2 sound stage must be as close to a live performance as possible.
3 unreliability, bad product support marsh and velodyne are prime examples.
4 six months
5 soundcraftsman dx4000
6 my old soundcraftsman system was completly replaced, the marsh p2000t was one of four components replaced.
7,8,9 are in my review
10 if money were no object? hmm, THIS PREAMP HAS ALREADY COME AND GONE.

Reviewed by: apachef1, AudioPhile, from MIDDLETOWN CT

Price Paid: $1350 at HIFI FARM

Product Model Year:

I purchased the Marsh p2000t hybrid amplifier new from a Marsh dealer January off 2003. This is a basic preamplifier with a tube input stage and transistor output stage. I was enthusiastic about this preamp when it arrived. The owner’s manual is very basic, covering what you will need to make your connections and operate the front panel controls. The manual does lack a more extensive troubleshooting guide. Marsh must have felt the need was not there. What a miss-calculation on their part!
For the good stuff. The preamp needed about twenty hours of break-in time. The sound was a bit a-miss! Very flat and no dynamics. Very unusual considering the speakers. After about twenty hours the sound is excellent! Great detail, sound staging and depth. The p2000t was used to drive my two vintage McIntosh MC225 tube amplifiers that are connected in mono. These amps are connected to a pair of Innersound Eros mk3’s and are bi-amped with the Eros crossover/amp. Sound was three dimensional and with the Eros 3’s, made a perfect marriage. The p2000t brought the music more to the level you would expect at a live performance.
Now for the not so good stuff. When I first opened the box to the p2000t and lifted it out of the box, the unit seemed very light and tinny. This particular unit has a control knob to have the signal in stereo, mono, or you can reverse the stereo signal.
This control is really not needed and was the beginning of my problems with Marsh.
If I even touched this control, I would get a static sound through the speakers and sometimes one of the channels would drop out. You would have to tinker with it until you received a clear signal. I just did not use this control at all. I was a little disappointed but was not worth my time to return the p2000t to California. I continued to enjoy the sound of the p2000t for six months, until one day I turned my system on only to find out I had no power to the preamp only. I proceeded to check the inline fuse and it was found to be good. The preamp was plugged into a power conditioner, so I tried different outlets including the wall outlet to no avail. I tried a new fuse thinking that the inline fuse may be faulty, and still no power. I contacted Marsh at this point and Jean was very pleasant and took down all the information and said I would be contacted within two days to troubleshoot the problem.
I was contacted on the forth day and was not home to troubleshoot that day. I contacted Marsh a few more times and still did not receive a call back. At this point, I was disgusted with the lack of product support and contacted the dealer I purchased the p2000t from. They agreed to take the p2000t back and apply the full purchase amount to a new preamplifier of my choice. Needless to say I chose a different brand with excellent history in product quality and support.
Summary, Marsh needs to build a solid product and support the product completely.
This is how companies like McIntosh and Audio Research have remained in business through the good and bad times. To say the least, these are not the best of times for high end audio manufactures.

Sound quality is excellent, closer to preamp two or three times the price

Engineering and construction quality. More like cheap Japanese home theater gear

Associated gear
innersound eros mk 3 with crossover/amp,
mcintosh mc225 amps(2),
velodyne uld15 (2)'
music hall cd player

Similar products
lamm ll2
Your review makes a good point - while presumed improvement in sound quality is wonderful, who cares if the equipment that provides it doesn't stand up to basic use. If you really care about the latter, go back to your Soundcraftsmen DX4000. I have the same model and have had it in heavy use since I purchased it back in 1984. Not one single problem with it ever, which shows what the incredible handmade build quality of the Soundcraftsmen equipment was - right up there with McIntosh.
i have the 2000b. i've no reliability issues so far (2nd owner from 6/2005), and I'm not displeased with the sound, but you are right on about build quality: if that is important to you,it might make sense to consider other units. --jmd
Hi: I had the p2000t for a short time and had similar prolbems with all kinds of noise whenever I even walked past let alone touch it. The sound would bomb my speakers. I called the dealer and after a little haggling he agreed to replace it with a P2000b which was problem free. The P2000t seems to have problems with creating residual noise and I've read this about others besides yours. I wouldn't recommend to anyone taking a chance on the reliability of this unit.
Hi Fi Farm replaced the P2000t with a Lamm L2 preamp.
The Lamm is a better sounding preamp but probably not at three times the price. This preamps construction and quality of components is as solid as they get! Considering these facts, the Lamm is well worth the 3800.00 price tag.
I just expected a better product with trouble free operation from Marsh and the talent behind the company.

Good luck with your Marsh if you own one.
I've had the 2000t for 3 wonderful years. It is one great sounding preamp. But now, I have a hissing sound in both channels that is VERY audible. The sound is at a constant level and does not increase with turning up the volume control. I ordered new tubes and hope that solves the problem. It is a tremendously wonderful preamp and I would hate to have to replace it.
i am using a p2000t and was wondering how you other users are wiring your speakers, in phase or out, i listened for quite a while hooked up in phase and have tried out of phase, in the end i like the out of phase sound, i can understand why marsh would build a preamp and put a note on it stating the phase issue after tring both ways, i guess its the same old phase question,
Replaced the tubes, and all is well again. There is a faint hiss in the speakers (Von Schweikert VR4's), but I had the same problem with my Counterpoint SA3. After warm-up, the sound of the pre amp is as wonderful as it ever was. And yes, I have invert phased the speakers. I've used it with both Parasound HCA 2200mkII and Counterpoint SA220 amps with great results.
Just wondering if different tubes change the sound. Marsh says no.
I would love to hear it with Marsh a400 power amp.
A tremendously wonderful sounding preamp.
I love it!
o yes arpierre, that little preamp rocks and provides a sweet sound, i have added a pair of jan raytheon tubes the red labeled version, i have tried a couple of different makes and my ears like the red raytheons, i believe different tubes can make a difference on the preamp, also a sizable sound increase was added by using mapleshade tube anchors, heavy feet, and maple platforms, happy musical days,
Thought I should finally post my experience with the Marsh P2000T. I am driving a pair of Heathkit W6A 70watt mono tube amps with it. Previously have used this preamp on a Curcio modded ST70, a Curcio ST70, Silvertone 6V6 console pull, and various solid state(yuck)amplifiers. In short, it is the best preamp I have ever heard. Granted, I have not listened to $5,000 preamps. But I have listened to a lot of the higher end vintage tube preamps. The Marsh has solid state detail and clarity, with the linearity and superior harmonics of tubes. Tungsol 5687 tubes are the ticket in this bad boy. Only problem has been microphonic tubes, that is the case with nearly all 5687 tubes. Do not blame the preamp for all the noise! I guarantee you it is the tubes. Buy a pile of them, put noise dampers on them, and find a tolerable pair.
I would love to try this preamp I currently own a Melos ma110 with two Adcom 565 mono blocks and a theta data basic II . To Acoustat 3 panels ,and a udl18.. I am not sure if this would benefit my system?
Changed tubes again, and it's still going strong! With each tube change, I've tried different venders and tube makers. There has been a sonic difference between them all. But as Classic_bronco stated, it's the tubes that are microphonic. I try different tubes and listen to the "hiss" and tap them with a pencil to hear how microphonic they are. I also have Pearl coolers on them and have the pre amp on a set of absorb feet to help minimize vibrations. That, and a VPI Brick on the top of the chassis over the power transformer inside the unit.
My audio system has not changed. I am very happy with it. I have thought of replacing the Marsh one day, but as long as it's functioning as well as it is, I see no reason to.
I would have loved to hear this paired with Marsh power amp.
But still looking at the Parasound pre amps....