Need a pre to go with a pair of Odyssey Kismet Reference Monos that Klaus just upgraded. I currently use a Cary DMS 600 streamer/dac and it really sounds good but usually it’s played at -30 to -20 so probably losing a little resolution ( 3 volts out so the scale goes to +8) I am integrating a swarm sub system w/2 mono block Dayton 1,000 watt amps. So need something with at least two unbalanced outs. I had a MicroZotl2.0S but it was a little noisy and too much gain and could never get the volume quite right in my previous room Also had a MODWRIGHT anniversary pre and Odyssey candela prior. Tubes are not a must but kinda like them paired with SS amps. Speakers are Persona 5 ‘s which can be on the brighter side of neutral if not paired well Budget is 3k Previously owned is fine. Thanks for the input, I know there is a lot out there. Trying to get something that is current model so can sell at a reasonable loss if it doesn’t work out.
I remember we've had good discussions previously on other threads about the iTube2 and our mutual use of the Audio Kinesis Swarm DBA system but I forgot the details of your setup. I know the iTube2 is a tube buffer stage but I don't recall exactly why and how you incorporate it into your system. For benzman and my benefit, could you give a short description again of how and why you utilize it? I was thinking benzman would be able to incorporate his Swarm system simply by connecting it through the Ls 100's left + right unbalanced rca tape outputs, either with or without a couple of rca connector splitters. Lastly, I know the LS100 has been discontinued. I was wondering your opinion on whether he should seek out and buy a used model in very good condition or buy a new version of its replacement model preamp?
I am running two interconnects (R / L) from the Main 2 output of the LS 100 to the iTube2. I have two splitters coming out of the iTube2 that go to the 4 subs.
My reason for doing that was reading about the possibility of impedance mismatches with the preamp and subs. I was running all 4 subs from the LS100 with no issues, but thought it would be a relatively inexpensive way to eliminate that potential issue. It certainly hasn't been detrimental and it gives me the option to easily reduce or turn off the volume of the subs if I want to. There's no detectable difference in sound quality (to my ears).
If you can find a good deal on a pre-owned LS 100, I highly recommend it. I like the sound of the
I scored a used Rogue RP-7 a couple of months ago and it has lifted the SQ of my system a good many steps beyond an outstanding SS preamp. All over, but particularly at the low end--it has a very substantial power supply beyond what I have seen in other high end preamps. That never hurts..
Extremely flexible for the present and the future. Step attenuators means you can use the balance control without compromising SQ--and I do often, just because it's there, to dial in sound stage. It has extremely small volume steps. Also, two pair of XLR outputs. one of which I really need and 2 pair of XLR inputs, one of which I need. Plus a bunch of RCA ins and outs.
I bought a pair of Mullard/Hammond tubes to dial in the sound I want. It seems that rolling two of the 4 tubes is all you have to do. The unit has microprocessor control of turn on/off presumably to help tube life.
There are lots of great preamps out there. Just my $.02..
Yes, you do have a lot of tube preamp choices. I currently use a ss preamp in my system but I previously used a VTL 2.5 tube preamp, with NOS (new old stock) Mullard tubes swapped in for the 4 stock Russian or Chinese tubes, for a few decades with various ss class AB and class D power amps. This provided the 3 dimensionality, warmth and euphony that, during that time, I believed only tubes in the audio chain could provide. The VTL 2.5 is a good option if you want to utilize tubes since you can tailor the sound you prefer through tube rolling, it has HT/passthru if that's needed and it has an extra set of l+r unbalanced outputs to accommodate subs and your Swarm. I now believe the qualities of 3 dimensionality, warmth and euphony mainly exist, or not, in the music itself. The main factors that enable them to be perceived in a home system begins with the use of high quality recordings, continues with the signals being conveyed through very low distortion,low noise,highly detailed and accurate components and cabling. The Benchmark LA4 is another good option for a ss design if you want to try out the low distortion/low noise, highly detailed and accurate approach while avoiding the complications of tubes altogether. The final segment in preserving the fidelity in our systems are the speakers we choose. Unless one employs highly accurate studio monitors, few other speakers will be as neutral and accurate and this is generally the area where compromises in overall system accuracy, neutrality and fidelity usually occurs. I don't currently have a good solution for this compromise and typically recommend individuals just choose speakers they really enjoy listening to over extended time periods. Personally, I've found it difficult to maintain the strict discipline and commitment required to assemble a low distortion/low noise, highly detailed and accurate system from top to bottom. I tend to include components and speakers that have a bit of flavor that I really enjoy (currently ML preamp and Magnepan speakers) that stray a touch from absolute fidelity and neutrality. Perhaps you possess more discipline and commitment to a specific approach than I apparently do.
@benzman I'd like to know your thoughts on the Candela. I ended up not getting one and getting a Quicksilver instead but I'm not as happy as I'd like to be (though not unhappy). I'm running a heavily upgraded Khartago.
@gochuchgo The last 3 pre's in my system were the Candela , Modwright anniversary, MicroZotl 2.0S. Unfortunately I changed speakers from Merlin MXR, Magico S3 version 1, and now my Persona 5F's The MicoZotl was the best sounding vs the Modwright as I had them for the Magicos and the Persona's. I did get the Candela to sound real good with some upgraded tubes and a black SR fuse. The Micro Zotl sounds great if you can live with the high gain. I would try to find a used one of those with the upgraded Linear PS. Try to get the 2.0S version. LTA upgrades their products along the way. They are awesome to work with. Klaus upgraded my Kismets as far as he could go. Broken in after 3 weeks and they sound fantastic. Sure wish I could convey how good they sound but they are special. I have friends with Jeff Rowland, Audio Research, The big Krell's and cant wait till they hear these, and that's without a pre in the chain.
Thanks Tim for your thoughts. I built a 29x17x10 room with audio in mind. Coffered ceilings, angled front wall, 3 dedicated 20 amp 10 ga. circuits, Double 5/8 drywall w/ green glue, additional grounding, yada. The room sounds so good I probably didnt need to drop 4k on the swarm system that is not even hooked up yet( custom painted by Duke's guy). I originally was just going to use my Cary DMS 600 Streamer/dac ( which I have been using) but I really need single ended as the Cary has one XLR and one Single ended. These Upgraded Kismet amps are fantastic and they certainly deserve a decent pre.
I think we may have slightly different tastes in things. For example, you're a Mercedes Benz man and I'm more of an Audi guy, you're continuing with a preference for tubes in your preamp and I've drifted back to ss with none. However, I believe these differences are a good thing; it's what makes you you, me me and the world go round. It'd be a pretty bland and uninteresting world if we all had the same tastes in things, right? From what I've read about the Rogue RP7, which amounts in total to just this Absolute Sound review: https://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/rogue-audio-rp-7-preamplifier/ , it seems to me like you've made a very good and well researched choice. The RP7 is described as a particularly low noise tube design with a more neutral sonic character and it offers the necessary connectivity to accommodate your Swarm distributed bass array (DBA) system. Speaking of the Swarm system, apparently we do share the same taste of enjoying near state of the art bass performance in our audio systems. Prepare to be amazed by the Swarm's overall performance in your custom room.