tube pre-amp for active monitors


I have Airpulse Model 1(A200) active monitors currently fed by MacBook Pro > Tidal > Wyred4Sound Re-Clocker > SMSL SU8 > balanced XLR out. I wonder if a tube preamp might yield some gains.... anything not-expensive that might fit the bill? Looking for a bit more enveloping soundstage....
canibefrank
Could be. And there are balanced tube preamps available too.

What is your budget and do you need a phono section?
@atmasphere 
i do not need a phono section. I only use the MacBook pro. Budget would be.. budget as in less than 200 dollars.
If you want a tube preamp for that kind of money you are probably looking at something used and vintage.
@atmasphere 
no chi-fi would be appropos?
A tube preamp for less than $200. Rotsa Ruck!
The last time I looked the tube Freya was $899. Read!
Have you tried various positions of the speakers ? Are they close to a wall, on a desk, or are they on stands, away from reflective surfaces ? Forget an inexpensive preamp, whether tube or ss, as it is not needed.
@mrdecibel 
I was thinking along the same lines but thought that a tube might give up some majik for the ribbon tweeters. I currently have the monitors toed in about a foot in front of me noggin. I need to take the room or of the sound field as it is long, narrow and ask hard surfaces.
" The last time I looked the tube Freya was $899. Read! "
@yogiboy: You are correct about the $899 for a Freya+.
My suggestion is on topic for an " idea " for the write up and video which coincidentally / timely is covered by my darko.audio reference.
By the way well very well done concise and informative.
The topic is " tube pre-amp for active monitors ".
Schiit also has lower priced pre-amps.
But the reference was not about Schiit Gear so much as the topic of discussion.
Sound.


canibefrank OP

Most active speakers have ridiculously low input impedance and many/most tube preamps will not drive them properly, solid state preamps should have no trouble.
QUOTE: " Airpulse Model 1: The input impedance is quite low, so do check that the source is happy with such a loading. Valve pre-amp use is presently contraindicated by that low 2.5kohm value for the RCA input sockets"

Cheers George
@georgehifi
I am using the XLR balanced inputs on the Air Pulse monitors
I wonder if there is a simple stereo tube buffer I can fit between DAC and monitors? 
George makes a good point about impedance compatibility.

The description of your A200 speakers at the AirPulse site **seems** to imply that the balanced analog inputs are received by a Texas Instruments PCM1804 A/D converter chip. The datasheet for that chip indicates that it has an input impedance of "10K single-ended," which may mean that it has a balanced input impedance of 20K. However the website description of the speaker doesn’t explicitly say that there isn’t a buffer chip or other circuitry "ahead" of that chip.

Also, the PCM1802 chip that is described as receiving the unbalanced analog inputs is specified in its datasheet as having an input impedance of 20K.

I wonder if there is a simple stereo tube buffer I can fit between DAC and monitors?

Before anyone can make a suitable recommendation, if in fact one can be made at all, you should contact AirPulse and ask them to clearly state what the input impedances of the balanced and unbalanced analog inputs are.

Regards,
-- Al


@almarg  
The balanced inputs bypass the built-in dac and tone stack
The balanced inputs bypass the built-in dac and tone stack

Thanks.  But how does that relate to what I said in my post?

Regards,
-- Al


ignore everything above 
get a used itube for 100-150$ you can use it at 0 db or 6db gain as a preamp.it's really small  one source rca in and out .great for fighting digital harshness and expanding the soundstage,  the power supply and tube do not require an upgrade they use a nos ge tube which i know from other gear and their  50$  ipower. i'm using the itube with an arcam delta 120 power amp and b&w floorstanders (pc> ipurifier3>nuforce icon hd dac with ifi ipower (>hd700)> ifi itube preamp 0 gain>arcam delta120power amp>?b&w dm580. i am very happy with this set . got the itube from ebay used about a month ago used and a little cosmetically challenged  for a 100. 
Are you using the DAC part of your laptop or do you have a separate one?

@soundsrealaudio

I use the SMSL SU-8 dac via USB with a Wyred4Sound Re-Clocker