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Thanks @jperry Sounds like Shindo's are a very popular option. I have considered a few based on some good bedtime reading on the forums including:
Does anyone have any experience pairing these preamps up with their tube amps? Would love to hear your thoughts.
After some research and some good bed time reading, I think I've narrowed the field down to these preamps that may be worth trying with my integrated LM.
I would try before I made any change. You're adding additional circuitry and connections (generally not advisable) to what seems to be a pretty decent preamp in the LM, plus you will have the added expense of (and angst in choosing the right) interconnects for the combination. You might have trouble keeping the synergy already built into the LM.
Several LM805 users switched to a separate Pre-Amp due the very cheap and basic line-stage and all came away with a much more revealing and musical LM. I didn't get the opportunity to try the pre-amp being that I sold the LM and there was a 3 month waiting list for Don's DS2 to be built.
Don Sach’s KT88 is so much better across the board and is the best equipment I have owned.
@rcprince I am looking at trying :) I think this will be an experiment of sorts. I’m unsure of what difference adding an external preamp will make but it seems that the success rate of adding a pre to an integrated is very dependent on the system. Won’t know until I try it out.
@wig I actually really, really enjoy my LM but perhaps it is the case of not knowing what I don’t know. I have compared the LM to Naim, McIntosh, Primaluna, Hegel, Modwright, etc and liked the LM by far more than the rest. Great to hear that you like Don's stuff so much though! I might bite and get his preamp to try.
Just a quick update here. I did work with Don to get the preamp fixed and this was sent back to me to try with my Line Magnetic. After about a week of extensive listening, I struggled to hear a big difference between using the preamp on the pre-in vs just having the source go directly into the LM. It didn't make it sound any worse but it wasn't the large improvement I had hoped for. I can only think that the reason for this is due to the Line Magnetic's configuration where the preamp is not bypassed even when using the pre-in input. That is likely the limiting factor.
Will it be any different if I used another preamp? Not sure. But I know that the Don Sach's didn't have the effect that I wanted to hear unfortunately. Don is a great guy to work with though! Maybe in the future I will go for his pre and amp combo but for now, I'll be returning his preamp.