I have the Halo A21 as well. After going through several preamps I settled on the TRL Dude. A lot of information about the Dude in Audiogon's forums.
Unfortunately, the TRL Dude is way out of my price range.
Used Dodd battery operated preamp.
used MUSE MODEL 3 is champion at your budget, but hard to find. if you have patience, you can catch it on ebay or here.
I used this YS audio tube preamp with my Parasound a21 and it softened up the sound just beautifully. images just float in the air. Very clean sounding preamp. You will need to change the stock tubes out.
You can drive your amp directly with the Oppo.
Thanks Lak. The Dodd looks interesting. I'm guessing it doesn't have a remote, which is something I definitely want.
Hey Dweller. Yep, I know about driving the A21 with the Oppo, however, I listen to enough vinyl to make switching cables to the amp inputs a PITA.
Emotiva XSP-1 currently on sale for $799....with phono, fully balanced, unbeatable, free shipping, 30 day return
"Hey Dweller. Yep, I know about driving the A21 with the Oppo, however, I listen to enough vinyl to make switching cables to the amp inputs a PITA."
Try it anyway just to see what the differences are. The results may help you pick the right preamp.
Parasound just released a new pre amp, the P5. If anything would sound good with a Parasound amp, you'd think a Parasound pre would.
Do you want an SS pre or are you interested in tubes?
My Dodd has a remote.
Also the wooden front face plate. Different from what the site currently
shows. See it in my rack in my two channel system posted here on the
Mechans: I'm open to SS and tubes.
Czarivey: I'll keep an eye out for the Muse Model 3.
Daniel825: I was reading about the YS pre last night. Do you still run it with the A21? If not, what did you replace it with and why?
Runnin: I've thought about the P5, but I'm waiting for some reviews to trickle in.
I was surprised by the YS audio preamps The prices were very reasonable. It appeared to be a 12AX7 design (not sure), I wondered which tubes needed to be changed. Although I put old stock tubes in my gear where ever it makes sense.
Daniel825 and Mechans: Which YS Audio preamps have you both used? I see there are a few different models.
I am still using the YS Audio "Symphonies with remote model" I sold my Parasound A21 along with the Maggies a while back. I probably would not have sold the A21 but the guy who bought my Maggies wanted the amp also. I am now using the YS Audio Symphonies tube preamp with 2 rotel amps run in mono. I have bought and sold a lot of equipment in the last few years but I won't sell the YS preamp.
Agree with the Muse Model 3.... excellent, single ended, balanced and remote.... Look for the 3 Signature, an upgraded version, should still be had for $800 to $1000
Thanks Dan. What other preamps have you used that you can compare the YS Audio Symphonies to? Where do you think it comes up short?
At first I had the A21 paired with the Parasound P5 preamp and the Maggies. The sound was wonderful on great recordings but very harsh on less than perfect recordings. I was limited to playing about 1/4 of my CD's. Then I switched to the YS preamp and a tubed Vincent Audio CD player. it helped a lot, But still too many CD's were still to harsh. I could not tell you what preamp it compares to because I have only switched out a few preamps and most of them were SS. I can only tell you that as I am getting older I am going more torwards tubes. My new bedroom system is a tube integrated amp with a turntable with tubed phono preamp. The CD player is SS. I can now play all of my CD's.
Czarivey and Timlub: I've been reading about the Muse 3, and it really does sound like a sweet pre. Unfortunately, it also looks really rare on the used market. Anything similar come to mind?
Have patience check used market regularly and hunt for one. Nothing comes close for the price range so far and many current owners chose this one to be the last component. This preamp can seriousely 'tell amp what to do' and performs far beyond the price point.
How about an Audible Illusions Modulus 3? I want a remote, but maybe I could live without it...
You might be able to snag a Klyne at your price point. Excellent full function preamp.
If you used it in Balanced mode, the Audio Research LS 9 can be had for $1000 to $1200
Coda Window's Continuum 3 or 4 might be found at that price.
Adcom GFP-750 can be had at that price
Maybe a Classe 5 or 6 (not DR, Not 50 or 60) DR no remote...50 or 60, most likely more money...
These are all fairly neutral, all are balanced and single ended, all have remote and all will be worth what you pay for it in the next few years.
Thanks everyone. You've given me a lot of options to work with. I'll circle back once I make my decision and purchase something.
Daniel825, I think you are referring to the Parasound P3, not the P5. The P5 only just came out less than a month ago. It sounds like your experience was some time ago. The P3 was discontinued.
So as I continue to hunt for the pres recommended in this thread, I've been thinking (always dangerous) about going with a tubed unit. Any thoughts on the Parasound Halo A21 with either an Audible Illusions Modulus 3A (used) or a PrimaLuna Prologue Three (new)? In both cases, I'd be sacrificing a remote, but I might be willing to do it if the sonic rewards are there.
your amp will do best with balanced preamplification.
Czarivey: Forgive me if this is a stupid question, but are there any balanced tube preamps?
As mentioned above, YS audio has tube balanced preamps:
There are plenty of balanced tube preamps, but do you actually need one? Tubes have larger distortions noise and higher output impedance. Balanced solid state preamplification is prefered IMHO.
The YS audio gear looks interesting, but I'd be more comfortable buying from an established brand (even if it's also made in China). Any other balanced tube preamps in this price range, used or new?
I don't necessarily need a balanced tube pre, but I'd like to consider all of my options.
New possibility: Has anyone heard the Coda CLX pre? From what I gather, it's a Window IV with upgraded parts.
The CLX is a Coda CL with upgraded parts. The CL is a slight improvement over the Windows Continuum 4. I own a CL, it is the highest value pre that I have sat in front of. This is a bold Statement, but I would have no problem putting the CLX in the league of a Pass X10. Very high performance for the $$$. It really depends on your taste, but certainly worth a listen, but....How do you get a CLX for $1000?
I wish I could get one for $1,000, but it will actually be closer to $1800. I'm willing to go that high if the performance is there. But since I'm now thinking in that range, the other pre that seems comparable is the Wyrrd4Sound STP-SE. Thoughts on how they compare?
Also, what are your thoughts on this reviewer's take on the CL's sound?
I am in St. Louis, I've had several established audiophiles sit in front of my system and have heard comment after comment about the transparency of my system... Cables made a difference, but can't comment on the reviewers experience. You would certainly be welcome to my home for an evening of listening.
Thanks for the generous offer Tim. Alas, I'm in NJ, otherwise I'd take you up on it.
So I've definitely narrowed it down to either the Coda CLX or the Wyred4Sound STP-SE. Anyone else have experience with the sound if either pre (or both) using the balanced connections with a solid state amp of the A21's ilk?
Update: I bought the Coda CLX. It was a dealer demo, so practically new and has the full warranty. I'll give my impressions once I have some time with it in my system.
So I've had the Coda CLX in my system for a few weeks now, and I couldn't be happier with it. (I'm running it balanced with Mogami 2534 cables to my Halo A21.)Compared to the Anthem, I'm hearing a lot more detail, a deeper and wider soundstage, great instrument separation even at higher listening levels, and all the dynamics that I imagined were to be had from the Halo A21 driving the Alon IIs. I also like that it's neither noticeably warm or at all lean, but rather staking out a perfect (to my ears) middle ground of neutrality. Timlub mentioned that the sound should continue to improve as the CLX burns in, so it appears there's a little more of the same to come.
It's been a few years but I have the same question you had and I thought I'd try to get your attention and ask if you could help guide me with my quest to drive my Halo A21 to new heights. Like you, I think it sounds ok but know it could sound much better. Now that you've had so much experience with this amp, I wonder if you wouldn't mind helping me out? Which pre do you recommend I buy to make my A21 shine?
Not much has changed in my system since my last post, so I don't know how helpful I can be. Other than the addition of the Coda CLX, I've just put the A21 on a maple amp stand with Dayton Audio spikes between the stand and the floor, and replaced the stock power cord with a Quail, a.k.a. the former Jellyfish Iron Lung. I'm still very happy with the sum total: very neutral and balanced top to bottom.
Louie, take a look at this thread that I did just recently, its not very long to read through, it may help a bit.