Tube preamp and McCormack DNA-500

Looking for a tube preamp to match and perform well w/ a McCormack DNA-500. Want to spend 1700, preferably less. Speakers: Ohm Walsh 5000 (4 ohm 82-87 db efficient). Listen primarily to classic jazz (hard bop). Emailed Steve McCormack about using a tube preamp with the DNA 500. He responded:
Most tube preamps will do a fine job with the DNA-500 - you just have to watch out for the few that won't. Check the output impedance spec of any preamp you are considering - lower is better, at least in this regard. As long as your preamp has an output impedance spec of 800 Ohms or less, you should be fine.

Looking for a tube preamp that does not roll off the highs, full sounding (not thin) in the mids; detailed presentaion is good, not rolled off in the low end; in other words I like low end extension and weight; Not looking for leanness or soft bass. I like transparency; complete and utter neutrality is not my priority as some gear seems to lean towards. Some tube sound is preferable but without a veil. Suggetions please? Thanks
I've been using a Rogue 99 Magnum with a DNA225 with great results. Used would be right in your price range...
I also need 2 pairs of preamp outs.
The Manley Labs Shrimp has an output z of 50ohms and 2 pairs of preouts. Price New $1880 w/o remote $2300 w/remote
There is a used one on this site for $1050.The ad has all the specs.No affiliation,just trying to help.
Try this one:

It works wonderfully with my DNA .5 Rev A, especially after upgrading the coupling caps to teflons.

First what have you been using before?

In my knowlege there aren't too many tube preamps that are realy good for DNA500 which dictates the limited choice.
Manley Shrimp seems to be a great match only if $1k is true for used.

Not sure if this one will outperform your current setup if that is what you're aiming for with tubes.
I also need 2 pairs of preamp outs.

Keep in mind that most (though not all) preamps with two sets of output jacks simply jumper them together, at the connectors, just inside of the rear panel. A relatively small number of preamps provide separate buffer stages for the two outputs.

That has two implications if you choose a preamp that does not have separate buffer stages for the two outputs:

1)The preamp will see a load impedance that represents the parallel combination of the input impedances of the two devices to which it is connected. The specifications for the DNA-500 indicate that its input impedance is 10K ohms. If the preamp were simultaneously connected to another 10K load, the combined load would be 5K, and you would want to have a preamp with an output impedance of no more than 400 ohms, to maintain the ratio Steve recommended of preamp output impedance to power amp input impedance.

If the input impedances of the two loads are not equal to each other, they combine as the reciprocal of the sum of the reciprocals of the individual impedances. If there are exactly two loads present, that is the same as the product of the two values divided by their sum. So 10K in parallel with 25K, for example, would yield a combined impedance of about 7.14K, which would mean that the maximum preamp output impedance that would be consistent with Steve's recommendation would be 800*(7.14/10) = 571 ohms.

2)You could use a y-adapter cable in conjunction with a preamp that just has one set of outputs, and (assuming the cable is good quality, and connections are good), the results (and the required preamp output impedance) would be no different than using a preamp with two sets of outputs which are not separately buffered.

Keep in mind, also, that running two sets of cables from the same preamp output buffer stage (whether via a y-adapter or from two sets of jacks that are connected together within the preamp) will double the cable capacitance that the preamp has to drive. If cable capacitance is too high in relation to the preamp output impedance, upper treble rolloff will result.

-- Al
"First what have you been using before?"

Haven't been using any preamp before; just got the 500.
There's a pro product called ATI "The Match Maker" that has an output impedance close to zero and is very newtral. You can sometimes spot it on ebay for less than $100 and consider that as a very cheap tweak.
That will bring your choice of tube amps way up above the limit.
Modwright SWL.

I been there and done that. Really nice combo.
Marakentz's suggestion of the Manley Shrimp seems to be a solid recommendation. It has the specs to drive the 10Kohm input impedance of the DNA-500 without bass roll-off (because of its 50kohm output impedance), and it has two sets of outputs.

Also, you might keep an eye out for a used Juicy Music Peach I. That preamp has a LoZ switchable output impedance, and has the sonic characteristics your described. However, it only has one set of preamp outputs.

Do you need two sets of preamp outputs, or can you use a set of line level tape monitor outputs?
Need a second set of pre outs for subs.
You can run a sub (or subs) without a second set of pre outs by using these ACI Speaker Level Converters (scroll down the page).

They connect at your amplifier's speaker outputs and into your subs' rca line level inputs via RCA interconnects. I've used them , and they work great, IMO.

08-14-09: Tvad
...(because of its 50kohm output impedance)...
Typo. 50kohm should be 50ohm.
Cary SLP98 has 2 sets of preouts. Great preamp too.
Try VTL TL-5.5. It's right at the top of the spectrum of your budget. My impression of this preamp was excellent dynamics, transparency, full and large soundstage.
Not quite your amp but I have a DNA-1 with McCormack Platinum mods. I use a Art Audio Gill Alana tube pre with success on a variety of speakers. My Rogers 15 Ohm LS 3/5a's, Harbeths 7 es3's, Meadowlark Blue Heron II's, Merlin VSM-Mmx, and B&W 801F's were thrown in the system All but the Harbeths seem to shine with this Alana: clean, full soundstage with very good definition and clarity. The Harbeth's sounded somewhat muddled, just didn't seem to like the combo. An Art Audio preamp shows up on 'Gon from time to time; I would not hesitate to mate one with the 500 if it is in your price range.
have very good results driving McCormack with a Golden Tube SEP2. The SEP3 is the same pre but with a separately boxed power supply (for allegedly lower noise). Great stage & imaging, full bodied, musical, warm sonic signature, remote control, very low noise (much unlike many other tube pre's that I tried, some quite expensive). The SEP's are out of production but can still be found inexpensively, although unfortunately Solo Electronics is history. Service is yet available from a number of sources if ever needed. The single ended triodes are readily rollable with a number of alternatives, but I have never felt the need. Very satisfied with this pre; bigtime performance for low cost.
Well, I just recieved the Jumbo Shrimp,from Manley, as a gift. I own the McCormack DNA 0.5. I really like the J.S., lively sound, quiet, good bass. The cost for the J.S. is $2300.00. I have seen the Shrimp listed here with in your price range.
IMO, the output of the Cary preamps is much too high to match well to the DNA-500's 10kohm input impedance. Rolled off base and/or highs would be the likely result.

John Atkinson writes in his Measurements section of the Feb. 2004 Stereophile review of the SLP-98, "...but [the output impedance] rose at 20Hz to 6.8k ohms, due to the limited size of the output coupling capacitors. This will prematurely and audibly roll off the bass with power amplifiers having an input impedance of much less than 20k ohms."

10kohms is even too low for the Lamm LL2 Deluxe, IMO, and the LL2 Deluxe is *right* in the wheelhouse of what Foster_9 describes as his desired sound and output configuration.
Just get a used Juicy Music Peach, set it to Low output impedance setting and you are done.
I have had both a Manley Shrimp and a Peach hooked up to a Gamut D200 solid state amp with a relatively low input impedance and the Peach won hands down. The Shrimp was lacking soul in comparison. It sounded nice and checked all the typical audiophile boxes but it just didn't have the flow and naturalness of the Peach.
Sold the Shrimp a long time ago. Still have the Peach.
Tvad, thanks for the detailed posts and good looking out. The Lamm LL2 was off my list already because of results I saw posted by another DNA-500 user. As Steve said about preamp output impedance specs, "lower is better, at least in this regard."
08-15-09: Bnrlaw
Just get a used Juicy Music Peach, set it to Low output impedance setting and you are done.

I made this suggestion earlier, and I agree. Foster_9 has said he needs two preamp outputs, but if he uses the ACI Speaker Level Converters to run his subs, he can use the Peach I and have everything he wants (plus save half his budget if he buys one used).
Thanks everyone, and any more thoughts are welcome...
I think you could buy a used Peach and have Mark Deneen, the owner of Juicy Music, install another set of pre outs.
He would be happy to talk about it. Very nice guy.
No longer selling new units but he will service all units currently in field, as it were.
Bnrlaw, that's a good idea.
Bnrlaw and Tvad, I'll consider your suggestion. I like that cherry cabinet on the Peach II on sale now, wish it was an original Peach.
I'm sure you're aware that the original Peach has more varied tube rolling options with its 6DJ8/6922 tubes.

The Peach II uses the 6H30, which offers few tube rolling options, and the options that exist don't change the sound as significantly as is possible when rolling 6DJ8/6922 tubes.
I would try VAC, used. Had very good luck with my 500.
Thanks again for all the recommendations. Which of the above preamps leans more in the direction of a smooth tube sound as opposed to leaning more to a smooth solid state sound?

Example: I've read that the Modwright Swl 9.0 sounds very good with the DNA-50. But, I've also read that if you're looking for any tube presence with the Modwright look elsewhere, but if you're looking for neutrality the Modwright delivers.
08-16-09: Foster_9
Thanks again for all the recommendations. Which of the above preamps leans more in the direction of a smooth tube sound as opposed to leaning more to a smooth solid state sound?

Juicy Music Peach I and VAC for sure have the smooth tube sound versus the more solid state sound of Modwright (IMO).

The VAC Standard LE would be the preamp in your price range. With a 350 ohm nominal output impedance, it could be OK with the DNA500.

I'm not sure the output impedance of Fplanner's Phi 2.0 preamp. Perhaps Flpanner2000 has some output impedance measurements.

If you can find a used VAC Standard LE, it might be worth a try. They hold their resale value. I'm not sure if the Standard has two sets of preamp outputs, though.
I had the VAC Standard LE first with the DNA-500 and that was the preamp I had in mind with my post. Sorry I wasn't a little more clear. It was also much better than "OK".... you should be very pleased if that's the route you choose.
It was also much better than "OK".... you should be very pleased if that's the route you choose.
Fplanner2000 (System | Threads | Answers)

What I meant by "OK" was that it will work OK, not that it will sound only "OK". If the bass is extended and controlled, it will sound exceptional.

The 350 ohm output impedance was a little concerning considering output impedance can often go much higher than the nominal figure, but perhaps the VAC Standard LE is similar to the VAC Renaissance Signature Mk.II preamplifier tested by Stereophile, which has a 150 ohm output impedance that doesn't vary significantly from that figure.

If Fplanner2000 says it sounds good with the DNA-500, then it's a very safe buy-and-try component and a good recommendation.

Fplanner2000, how many preamp outputs does the VAC Standard LE have?
I have also had a Vac Std. LE on loan for a week from a friend. Great pre but a lot more tube rush in my system than the Peach.
Maybe my friend's tubes needed replacing so I'm not sure that is a fair statement. It sounded great, however.
Also owned the Modwright for awhile. It was very quiet and had great prat. Too solid state sounding for my taste, however.
I'd take the Peach any day of the week over the Modwright.
In fairness, though, the Modwright I owned was an earlier unit that did not have tube rectification. From what i have read, this makes a very nice difference and may make it a closer race with the Peach.
Hope my audiophilia nervosa helps you with your search.
I believe my VAC Std LE also had 2 outputs.