Specific needs for a new preamp...

I'm looking for a solid state preamp (or a tube preamp that sounds close to a solid state preamp with just a touch of warmth) to mate with a Threshold SA/4e.

The preamp needs to have the following:

1. XLR output impedance around 50-100 ohms (the 4e has an XLR input impedance of 600 ohms).
2. No DC offset/leakage (the 4e is DC coupled).
3. Remote control of (at least) volume/gain.
4. Phono stage would be nice.
5. Spend around $3500 (would like to buy new but will consider used).

Does a preamp like this exist?
Rowland Synergy IIi, but it doesn't have a phono stage. With companion Rowland Cadence phono stage, it would cost roughly $4,000-$4,500 used. Other than the darTZeel and Rowland's Coherence II (my preamp), it is the only consumer preamp I am aware of with a 50 Ohm output impedance. In fact, it was built to be used with Rowland's Model 2/6/8/9 amps, which all have 600 Ohm input impedences.

The Rowland is very well built and I would not worry about buying used, especially because it is powered up constantly (no on/off switch) and thus can't be abused by the owner turning it off and on.
Thanks. Hmmm. I remember the Coherence well - back in the day.

Haven't looked at Rowland stuff in a while. Seems like I need to do some looking around. =)
Anyone have an opinion on the Simaudio Moon P5.3? It appears that it has a 50ohm RCA and 100ohm XLR output impedance.
Current Rowland Capri may also match your reqs. Fully differentially balanced. Output impedance of 80Ohms balanced. Remote control. Cost approx $2500 new in black livery. Optional phono stage card costs $350. I have commented abundantly on this pre on other threads. The device requires well over 500 hrs to break in. . . assume 3 or more months of significant use before it stabilizes.
There are two very good and reasonably priced preamps that will fill your requirements. The first, and in my opinion slightly better of the two is the Aesthetix Calypso. The Calypso is a tubed preamp that requires (for best performance) for you to upgrade the tubes to NOS tubes upon receipt. You should be able to find these new discounted to your price range and used for below your price range (used with good NOS tubes included). There is an upgraded SE Calypso coming out, so this is why you should be able to get the Calypso discounted new to your price.

The other preamp is the Capri as Guido referenced above. New you can secure these for under $3K without phono and used for just under $2K with or without phono.

I believe (just checked my Calypso manual, but it does not specifcy this), but I believe it is 100 ohm output impedence and does incorporate coupling capacitors to protect against dc leakage. Remote control is basically a full function remote with balance, input, volume, mute, etc. . .

If you need the phono card, the Capri is a better choice. You can add one to a new or used Capri direct from JRDG for about $500 and I understand it is a pretty good phono card. The remote is more basic with the Capri, volume, balance, mute, input (no power switch anywhere on the capri, if you want to turn it off you have to unplug it).

Be forwarned, the Calypso is a huge preamp and the Capri is a tiny preamp. Doubtful that has any impact, but thought I would mention it anyway.
Ckoffend, lack of on/off switch on Capri is an urban legend, probably started on review of Capri/102 on AUDIOENZ. Capri has a regular on/off toggle switch on the backplate.
Yep, the on/off switch is there. However, if I might nit pick I'm curious why:

1. When engaging the balance control on the remote the display does not show the tracking (if only temporarily).

2. Why you cannot switch phase via remote.

If I'm missing something here let me know, but these features would be nice.
Hi Clio, you make very good points. The lack of phase
inversion on Capri remote is a little annoying. . . and so is any lack of balance tracking on the display. The lack of phase inversion toggle on the remote has historical origins. . . Capri, being an 'entry level' product, has inherited a minimalistic remote created in 1994, when phase inversion was not yet popular. I believe the new Continuum has a new remote with phase control.
Guido, thanks for the tip on the back panel. I had read there was not one and as a result, never looked for one, just assuming the review was accurate. I am actually happy to hear this for when the entire family is out of town, it is much easier to turn devices off than unplug everything. Clio, I too wish the phase inversion was available via the remote, which in my opinion is really helpful for determining the correct phase - for hearing the difference.