Parasound New Classic 200. With LS-50s you don't need any tube softness, you need accurate with a good top end. Good remote, thin unit, and MM or MC input.
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Thank you russ69.
This is an interesting choice and I see your logic. I appreciate it.
Admittedly I'm not an expert but I think most agree that the LS50s can deliver good accuracy and top end with the right components. I think the parasound could work...
I was thinking because the Schiit Aegir gets reviewed well with the freya (tube like) and the LS50s get glowing reviews with the croft integrated (tube like) that a tube pre would create good balance with the aegir and ls50s?
Any other thoughts from folks with the Aegir and maybe Kef ls50s.
I was using a Topping pre90 with Benchmark AHB2 mono amps and LS50's (totally neutral). It was great. I just sold the Topping yesterday, which cost $600 new. I also used a Benchmark LA4 pre with the AHB2 and LS50. It sounded the same as the pre90. The LA4 is still better because it worked with all amps (plus more features) whereas the pre90 worked great with the AHB2 and Parasound A21+, a bunch of other amps had volume issues with the pre90. The Topping will be reviewed on Stereophile in Feb. So, it will not be a mystery component anymore.
I am putting my KRELL K-300i integrated on the LS50s now. Not because it is better than the per90 + AHB2 or LA4 + AHB2 combo, but because I did not want to sell the KRELL and needed a place to use it. It is a much warmer piece and also sounds good with the LS50, that extra bass from the KRELL is pretty nice.
I have Freya+ in my bedroom, and pairing it with the LS50 is not something that I tried nor do I think will be great considering my preference for the neutral sound of the pre90, LA4, and the AHB2 with the LS50. The KRELL is close to being too tubey for the LS50 but it does not cross that line.
This is just a perspective comment. I would always concentrate on what preamp I want in my system foremost. It is the primary driver of the character of the system… the centerpiece. Then I would want to get a complementary amp. Given you have amps you already want to use, your question makes sense. I guess, I would still look for the very best preamp you can possibly afford, one that reflects your tastes in sound. Then, if for some reason your amps are not complementary, swap them out.
For most of us, pursuing high end sound was not something we could do in one jump, but something to work at for decades… so each purchase ultimately was temporary… maybe for a decade at a time, but temporary. The trick is to reach a really good plateau where all equipment is complementary and synergistic and enjoy it for a good long while. So, sometimes you might think you just about got it… then the new piece throws something out of wack and another adjustment is necessary.
So, I guess my recommendation is to think about a preamp independent of your amp. Get the very best you can, then see where you are.
Yes, I use the DAC from the C2500. I AB tested this DAC vs the CXNV2 and it was a very big improvement over the CXN. I still use the CXN but not it's internal DAC. I really love the C2500. It was such an improvement even my Amazon echo listening wife declared it sounded amazing and demos it to her friends ;). I purchased it used mid 2021 and I couldn't be happier with the value/$ I received.
Thanks varchard this is good information about the DAC. Also ghdprentice I appreciate your guidance about pre-amps. It makes sense to me...if your a separates guy :). In the past many would say the speakers are the most important item to base your system on but I got what your saying.
My requirements remain the same and I do think it's challenging.
My current setup is Schiit Aegir, Kef LS50s with NAD preamp (class A) is very good in a small room (11x14). Also while I'm flexible in my setup, I don't typically go for large components. The preamp I'm looking for is most likely class a, small form with a phono pre. My budget which I didn't state before is about 2k at most. The most intriguing preamp, I've been able to find so far is the LTA MZ2.
The topping pre90 is just wrong for me, so many balanced inputs...really not necessary in my opinion.
The parasound doesn't measure well
The benchmark is over my budget.
The MAC C2500 is a possibility as a used buy because I do use a dac (so, it's 3 components). Although I would be moving away from small separates.
The LTA MZ2 just about fits the bill - small form factor, class a, remote but no phono pre and affordable 1300.00 in its base form. It's also gotten pretty good reviews. I'm getting close to pulling the trigger on it.
Any other thoughts? And thanks to everyone who has commented.
I have an Aegir that I really enjoy. It was originally paired with a Saga+ but the problem is that, as only a unity gain preamp, it was just a bit short in reaching my desired listening volume (about 85 dB max) even though the amp had power still available.
I ended up switching to a Schiit Lyr 3 which offers two gain levels (about 3db and 17 dB.) The 3 dB gain boost was sufficent to give me the extra I needed, and the Lyr sounds just a good to me as the Saga.
The Lyr does have some drawbacks -- it has only one input, and there is no remote, but I don't need either of those features so it is perfect for my situation. (And, the Lyr also gives you an excellent headphone amp that the Saga doesn't have.)
So, just another data point for you.
I have LS50 Metas and just added a Freya + in front of my McCormack DNA-1 Deluxe. I think the Freya + is an exceptional preamp. It replaced an Adcom GFP-750 and an Acurus LS-11. Both were very good solid state preamps for the money. I disagree with the notion that LS-50s don’t pair with tubes. They do. If you’re really set against having tubes though, get the Freya S. It’s $600 bucks and you can return it if you don’t like it in your system. Happy shopping!