Suggestions on a balanced preamp?

My electronics are currently 60 feet from my speakers (as measured by speaker cable length). I was thinking of getting a balanced preamp (a Linn2250), sticking it between the speakers, and running balanced lines from the preamp->amp.

Currently I have an onkyo integrated home theater (fairly new, $1000ish retail, don't know which one) HD reciever with RCA out. I also have vandersteen quatros and linn preamp/amp with RCA connections. I was thinking of getting a preamp with RCA in and balanced outputs and running the HD reciever into an AUX input of the preamp and balanced from preamp to amp.

When playing CDs, I would just go CD->pre->amp and not include the HD receiver.

First, does all that sound reasonable?

Second, is there a reasonably priced (1-1.5k) preamp that would work, that includes a remote for volume? I suppose if it didn't include a remote, I could run the CD->HD receiver->pre->amp but that seems like it wouldn't be as optimal, especially because I have a cheapish integrated HD receiver. I figure the HD standards keep evolving so better to spend the money on quality amps/preamps that I keep forever.

Third, is there some collective wisdom that would steer me in a different direction?

Thanks for reading this far,

- Sprangle
Why not try a BAT VK3i? It's fully balanced in and out and also has RCA in and out, w HT pass thru. It has remote volume and input selection (optional, but most have it) and would a used one would be at the lower end of your price range. BAT has great service.
Another suggestion would be the Ayre K5xe. It has two balanced and two rca inputs, any one of which can be programed to be the HT bypass input. Used, they run around 2K. I added one to my HT system, and now my two channel rocks.
Just today, there are two Pass Labs pre amps listed, one the single chassis and the other is the two piece. Both are within your range. The way the pass works is to have all signals balanced, check this at the pass site, even the rca are treated as balanced once in the circuit. i love mine, and have had the BAT, Placette, and several others. Will drive the distances you want.
You need a preamp with a good output to drive a long cable. I'd recommend pro gear - for example the DAC1 HDR. Most pro preamps will have a more powerful output stage than the consumer equivalents and are better able to handle the higher capacitance...
Yes, your approach sounds quite reasonable to me.

I second Shadorne's suggestion of the Benchmark DAC1 Pre (or HDR if you need remote volume). Depending on your source, you'll get an upgrade there for free.

I can recommend Belden 1800F STP cables (13 pF/ft).
Keep in mind that the preamp you choose should have low output impedance, and the cabling you choose should have low capacitance (such as the Blue Jeans cables Bob suggested).

Balanced connections do not negate the possibility that high output impedance in combination with high cable capacitance (which is proportional to length) will roll off the upper treble. At least some of the BAT preamps, and some of the Pass Labs preamps, have worrisomely high output impedances in that respect (e.g. 750 to 1000 ohms). The Ayre should be fine, as should the Benchmark for at least some of its output attenuator settings.

-- Al
You might be able to find an ARC Ref 1 line stage which, IIRC, had the lowest output impedence of any ARC preamp. Very high sound and build quality with bal/se capability and (if you're lucky) a manageable price tag on the used market.

Good Luck


Al - "worrisomely"? Cool word, but at least one too many syllables for daily use.
"worrisomely"? Cool word, but at least one too many syllables for daily use.
Yeah, guess you're right. But it saved me the trouble of calculating the numbers more precisely. :)

-- Al
I am thinking through some of these same issues right now too, helpful advice...
Good suggestions offered and practical factors people here on A'goN. Thanks to the contributors and OP.