Two preamps in your system

Has anyone ever experimented using two preamps simultaneously in a system? Say tubes on top and ss on the bottom?
What a horrible thought. First, you have to get them to run at the same gain. Second, you have to make sure their volume controls track each other (impossible). Third, you have to manipulate two controls when one should do.

Finally, this old canard about tubes on top and SS on the bottom is just that today. There are preamps of each category that serve the entire spectrum superbly, if somewhat differently.
Agree with Kr4.. At least for 2 channel stereo operation, Bi-Pre amping is not the same as Bi amping. It could be thought of as similar in the sense of running top/bottom controls, but system matching of gain,impedence,and balance would be inaccurate and just plain incoherent. Its difficult enough to get a properly set up bi-amp system to sound good.
im curious as to what you hope to gain by trying this.

Hi Mitch,

Back in the early eighties I did use two preamps in the same system. I used a conrad-johnson PV6mc for the phono section patched in through the tape monitor of an Infinity FET preamp. The CJ had good qualities for the phono yet the Infinity was very dynamic and had much better bottom end. That combination did work rather well for my system at the time.


Barry Kohan
I'm not trying to achieve anything....just wondering if anyone had tried it. I understand that it's basic human nature to be skeptical of things out of the norm....I'm sure the guys that first proposed bi-amping were met with skepticism also. A lot of ideas that are bantered back and forth here are hotly debated, and I think that's one of the things that lead to people trying new things and maybe discovering something beneficial for the hobby as a whole.

The beautiful thing about all of this is...all opinions are welcome.....but be careful of knocking anything before you try it. I haven't tried it, the idea seems intriguing though.
mitch, i should of said how are you thinking of going about this , im not knockin the idea im just puzzled as to how two preamps would hook into the same system.

"I understand that it's basic human nature to be skeptical of things out of the norm...."

Sometimes, the road less less traveled for a reason.
I have a dbx BX-3 power amp (early 80's) that has a hook-up diagram for a "dual 2 channel system" Two pre-amps, up to eight speakers. I've never done it, but a friend who did, used it basically as you would a modern day second zone. One pre-amp controlled the stuff in the family room (four speakers), and the other controlled a dedicated listening room (two speakers). Didn't lose anything on either system, of course both pre-amps were the same, dbx CX-3's.
I would think this would be an expensive option. And to match up SS and tube preamps, not to mention features like volume control designs, for a cohesive presentation would be a challenge. If you're using one amp then you would presumably have to match impedances.
If your shopping I would not say go that route.If you have extra gear lying about which is orphaned from systems due flaw here or there then get to experimenting.I had an Adcom 565(crummy top end decent below)Audio Alchemy DLC(nice top loose bottom)fed a Nad cdp to the DLC and from it to an Amp whose strength was top end and imaging(biased class "A" to several watts)then fed other pair outs to the 565 and from the 565 to amp which had better low end attributes.It took some tweaking cables but that secondary system rivals the main in some areas.The DlC being remote drives the 565 level as well and I just found volume setting on the 565 so low end and high match up.I get funny looks until guests hear it.Maybe luck played some part understanding the disparate components would essentially "see different". Short cabling was used from DLC to 565 to amp.
05-17-04: Mitch4t wrote: "I'm not trying to achieve anything....just wondering if anyone had tried it. I understand that it's basic human nature to be skeptical of things out of the norm....I'm sure the guys that first proposed bi-amping were met with skepticism also."

And many of us retain a healthy skepticism of it.
Ok, confession time for me. I have been thinking of by- amping, and using 2 pre amps (one for ea.amp). This, instead of ripping out the crossovers. Is this what what you were thinking of ,Mitch????
Hey, someone could bi-source, bi-preamp and bi-amp, running off two fully independant 20 amp circuits. But getting each source to cue up at the same time could be difficult.

: )
I keep systems in separate states for isolation. :-}
Avguygeorge ........I'll confess too...I have tried it. I bi-amped using 4 identical monoblocks....all I did was split the signal from the cd player to the two separate preamps via a y-connector.......I only did it for a couple of hours just to see if it was possible. I used a Carver tube preamp on top and an Audio Research LS 10 solid state preamp on the bottom. I didn't take the time to do any serious listening, because at the time, it seemed like more trouble than it was worth to keep it connected like that. It wasn't all that hard to get the volume controls in wasn't perfect, I was just fooling around......I think Ben Franklin and Alexander Graham Bell made some important discoveries fooling around trying out new stuff. I'm sure a two preamp system could have its merits if someone took the time to work out the kinks.

Kr4 mentioned that there are still a lot of bi-amping made my system more enjoyable five-fold....and I'm sure some tried bi-amping it and it just wasn't worth the trouble. Shoot, I've heard of tri-amping but never have seen it. Different strokes for different folks.

Just the thought of a discrete amp and preamp for every section of your speakers seems spine tingling if someone could pull it off.
Mitch; This is what I was thinking. I own a Sophia 845 SET monoblock pr. and a pr. of CJ5 blocks. I also own a CAT3 (2 main outs)and a First Sound Delux mk 2. The SET blocks give you magical mids. But they fall off for the bottom end. The CJs kick; at the bottom end. If I could work it to get the best of both worlds; I never have to talk to anyone;anymore.--- BTW; both these are for sale because I also own a pair of CJ8xs. What to do.----I tried a yard sale but nobody came by. One of my mottos is If you haven't knocked it--Don't try it.
OK. I know this is an old thread, but I must mention that I'm doing this. I'm using two relatively identical preamps (a Audible illusions 3A and a 3B).

The 3B is the main switching hub (all inputs connect here), and it drives two 100 watt tube monoblocks (high frequencies, passive crossover soldered into the input wiring). I use the buffered tape-outs of the 3B to feed the AUX input of the 3A, and that feeds two 200 watt SS bass amplifiers. The Audible Illusions preamps use precise stepped attenuators, so level matching is not a problem.

Sound? Incredible. Advice to the contrary, if you have the appropriate equipment, go for it!

I should note the the speakers I use -- Magnepan IIIAs -- are designed to optionally operate with a simple, passive high pass filter for biamping.