I think I may have misread your requirements. Are you looking for a preamp with a built in phono stage? If so, then the Ref2 is not what you are looking for because it is a line stage and you'd have to add a phono stage. BTW, I like your Pass XP-15 choice, those are supposed to be incredible. Pass phono stages are highly thought of. So are their XP-10/20 line stages. In your budget I'd also look at a used XP-10 if you want a great line stage.
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@abrew19 Thanks, yes I am looking for a preamp with phono. I really liked the New Record Day review of the Pass XP-15 and he too uses it with a Cronus Magnum so although the source and speakers differ, there are still some parallels. I auditioned the Rogue Ares tube preamp and I just didn't care for the tube on tube. Too much for me. I enjoyed an SS phono-pre matched with my tube power amp.
Thanks everyone for your input. I've decided to audition the Pass Labs XP-15 and the Herron VTPH-2. Mark at Reno Hifi has been very helpful and Keith Herron called me directly to discuss and we had a great conversation.
i should have the Pass by next Wednesday and the Herron shortly thereafter and will provide a critique once broken in.
Incidentally, Modwright never got back to me.
asp307Hi, I noticed that you want to keep your Rogue Cronus Magnum Integrated (that has high gain 12ax7 input tube), but you want an external preamp.
No one bothered to check that your Cronus integrated only has pre outputs, but no poweramp inputs, to make it serve as a poweramp, as there are no input rca's for an external preamp.
So if put an external pre into the aux input you will have way too much gain especially with the Zu speakers, and two volume controls and two balance controls to deal with, with so much gain you may not get passed 8 o’clock.
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