World's best Pre-amp for $10K and above?

Looking for the HOLY GRAIL in Audio? Here it is. I'm in my early sixties and retiring to my final system, which I was going to purchase during the past twelve months and decided to put on the brakes, and investigate whats out there as the most advanced engineered high end audio products for the money in the market place. As far as I'm concerned, the two top engineers in the world for the best Amp and Preamp at low prices are Bent Holter with Hegel Audio in Norway and Roger Sanders with Sanders Sound in Colorado. Why? The Hegel P-30 Pre-amp is a game changer, and will easily compete with Pre-amps at $30K and above. The FM Acoustics 268 Preamp that retails for $107K, uses a technology thats called "feedforward" instead of feedback.
Amps and Pre-amps since the early 80's have all used either global feedback, zero feedback or local feedback to filter out noise and lower distortion by sending and filtering the feedback current to filter capacitors or or an extra filter transformer. A small amount of voltage feedback occurs at the output stage in amps and preamps which goes back into the parts and boards causing noise and distortion which smears the quality of the music.The best Preamps in the world all have S/N noise ratios at 125 db's or above. The Hegel P-30 Preamp uses the same feedforward technology as FM Acoustics but is a more current design that Bent Holter calls "Sound Engine" patented technology that eliminates feedback which is why the P-30 Preamp has a S/N ratio of 132 db's, which has never been accomplished in high end audio with a Preamp costing $10K or below. The same applies to Roger Sanders Magtech amplifier which uses a patented linear voltage regulator that controls and regulates voltage with no excess voltage going back into the amp causing heat and distortion problems. The amp puts out 900 watts into 4ohms. Krell makes a pair of mono blocs that also use a similar voltage regulator. The amps are $100K a pair. HERES THE PERFECT SOLID STATE SYSTEM. A Hegel P-30 Preamp. A Sanders Magtech amp, A pair of Aerial Acoustics 7T speakers. The worlds finest SACD player, the Playback Designs MPS-5, designed by Andreas Koch, who invented SACD technology when he worked for Sony. He built the worlds first outboard DAC in 1982 and is legend in digital engineering. The MPS-5 is the most analog sounding player on the market which costs $17K. The Hegel P-30 is only $7500.00 and the Magtech amp is only $5K. The Aerials are $10K. Buy the solid core cables from Morrow Audio. They are low capacitance cables which matches up perfectly with these components. This combination sounds like the very best tube and solid state gear on the market. The whole system will cost about $42K but will sound as good as any system costing $200K. All of these products are game changers. If you want better looking cabinets and faceplates, then blow your money, but you will not get better performance for what this system has to offer. It is the HOLY GRAIL you are searching for and there is no better combination for the total cost of the system.
Really? I can't see from the specs or description what sets this preamp apart. Have you heard it? Could you explain more?
Is this a post or an advertisement?
I think he's convinced himself that it's the best. If it makes him happy...
Us old farts (fartesse) think we know it all.
Kind of going full circle. When we were all young we though we knew everything... I guess some of us oldsters still think they know it all.

My pile of stereo crap is no better or worse than any other piles of stuff.
MY pile of stuff happens to PLEASE ME. i doubt it would please more than 5% of all of you..
So take that and smoke it. Because obviously the op here really is smoking some good stuff if it makes him really believe what he is spouting.

And the fact it would displease many of you makes me laugh. Like WTF why should I care?
Well said Eliz, at least in your own way, well said!
The worlds finest SACD player, the Playback Designs MPS-5, designed by Andreas Koch, who invented SACD technology when he worked for Sony.

In no way diminishing either the PD or Mr. Koch's accomplishments, I think the last part of the sentence is a stretch.

If you heard the top of the line Shindo system you might think differentl Of course that system will set you back about $240,000 and it doesn't even have a cd player. Just a turntable
Why use Aerial Acoustics 7T speakers? Those cost about $10k a pair. Did you forget about the Polk speakers in this thread? They're about $6k less, and will probably (according to your description) sound better yet! For less money! Wow!!!

What next, a killer system from a big box store?
Do you actually own this combo of gear already? The way your post reads I'm not sure.

All the gear you listed is very good I'm sure. Is it a good combo? How did you arrive at that mix of gear? From your post it sounds like you arrived at your conclusion based on specs and marketing hype.

Before you jump in too deep you may want to look into a "Passive Preamp" as you are probably aware the shortest signal path, and the most natural and dynamic sound will be from a direct connection from source to amplification.

IMO, preamps do more harm than good. Even the most expensive ones.

Have you ever counted the number of parts in a preamp and know their function and what they are doing to the very delicate signal measured in Micro volts and preamplified into volts?

A good primer on the subject can be found at: from Arthur Salvatore.

Try the Bolero test for yourself on your own equipment and see if the Preamp you select can match or better it. If not, the answer is clear and you can spend the extra money on music or a fine bourbon or wine.
Shut the doors, turn out the lights & close the forum; it was good while it lasted -- the best equipment, based on history, logic & specifications has been identified! No need for further discussions!

I've read a lot of head scratching, jaw dropping comments in my life, but this post or should I say pronouncement -- prefaced with a subject line containing a question mark -- is one that must be delusional, farcical, or a combination of both.

Please tell me that you're not serious and that the tug I think I'm feeling is my leg being pulled. Or, might it be that after discovering the "unified theory of everything" --that had until now, eluded Einstein and every other physicist -- you have really found the meaning of life?

Geez, beam me up Scotty.....
If your intent was to persuade any of us to give serious consideration to the Hegel (or any of your other components for that matter), it doesn't seem to be working. Claiming "HOLY GRAIL" status of a thing followed by a bunch of marketing speak and technical specs tends to have that effect in this subjective and highly personal hobby of ours...just saying.
I always like to start my day with something funny. Now that I've found it, my day is ready to unfold.

As my coffee is kicking in I had this thought:

The thread topic is what I would call a "digital" post in that digital processing has its errors and error correction steps in to make things nice. Maybe that's why some people feel analog is correcting going on.

When I read things like the above, "The whole system will cost about $42K but will sound as good as any system costing $200K"....that's an error that my brain has to correct/reformat into a "his opinion" read. Many things he says aren't true until I "correct" it to his opinion.

An "analog" post would read something like, "the best ???? I've have found/heard is a ?????". Easy to read, no correcting needed.

We haven't heard back from him "yet". Maybe it's an ad, maybe he's a shill, maybe his writing skills need to be more analog. Who knows.

So, at least until I've had my 2nd cup, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. btw, I drink Kirkland (Costco). It's the best coffee in the world. The rest of you don't know what you are missing. :-)

And I was looking forward to going to my first RMAF this year.

You need to hurry & send should a link to this post to the RMAF organizers & exhibitors alerting them to fact that their efforts are for naught. The audio holy grail components have been discovered -- there is no longer a need or purpose for those pesky auditions, R&D, manufacturing, and marketing!
The speakers listed are not what I would put in "world class " status. There are YG, Wilson, Acapella, Magico, Magnepan, Revel, and more including Aerial 20T's I would consider first. This is a confusing info-mercial-personal faves post, leaving me questioning the purpose of.
I have yet to find the perfect SS system. Tubes give me more for less. Enjoy retirement,

It sure sounds like somebody's been drinking the Kool-Aid.

What's the S/N ratio on your preamps?
This is great news.

I've been struggling with this problem for years. Glad somebody has the definitive solution.

Now about that chicken or egg thing.......
Hifitime..never deceive yourself on the price of a speaker.
Look behind the curtain and study who the engineers are and their history. Michael Kelly is a legend in designing drivers and speakers since 1974, the year he became V.P. of A.D.S. and their chief designer. He is a engineer and designs his own drivers. In 1975 he had A.D.S. build a 40K size plant and by the end of the year was making ten thousand drivers a month for other speaker companies.. His partner since 1974 is Dave Marshall, a brilliant crossover designer. The Aerial 7T was three years in the making and Michael went through twenty drivers before he was satisfied. He designed the tweeter, midrange and woofer in house. The tweeter and woofer are custom made for Aerial by ScanSpeak. The midrange is made by SB Acoustics in Wisconsin, who also make all the midrange drivers for Wilson Audio. The $10K price is due to the nine layer bentwood cabinets made in China. The speaker is a mind blower. Takes a 1000 watt amp with no sweat. Performance is stunning. Better than Wilson or B&W. They roll off around 22hz. No need for a subwoofer.
Kool-Aid? Thats so 60's..Red Bull Baby!.I need to clarify further on feedback designs and why preamps with feedback methods are inferior. Since the early 80's, designers of Preamps loop and feedback the signal current through the Preamp several times which raises the gain level. Your best Preamps in the world all have S/N ratios between 125 and 135 db's since they use different methods to avoid or minimize feedback looping. The negative with feedback is lower S/N ratio and more distortion. FM Acoustics in the 90's developed the most advanced circuitry called feedforward instead of feedback which avoids looping the signal. This keeps noise and distortion out of the signal path and boards. Hegel has come up with a patented feedforward design they call SoundEngine which eliminates feedback, equal to the FM Acoustics design, which is why their $7500.00 P-30 Preamp sounds and performs like a Preamp costing $30K and above, and why the P-30 has a S/N ratio of 132 db's. A real game changer. No bullshit. I recently heard the Hegel system with the P-30 through a pair of Amphion speakers. Blew me away. Very, very analog sounding. Rich, lush, slightly warm, with very smooth highs and mids. Bass was killer.
Audiozen, I'm curious as to why you didn't include the Neutral Audio D.R.E.I. in the system. IIRC, you had a thread about a year or so ago in which you characterized D.R.E.I. as being the holy grail.

-- Al
Wow, Audiozen, I don't know what kind of crazy stuff you're on, but keep it to yourself!

You can improve your presentation by brushing up on your descriptions -- see the Audiophile Cliché Generator for some ideas!
Good point..I jumped the gun on the D.R.E.I. topology and moved on..however, Bent Holter is in a whole different league at Hegel. He holds a degree in micro electronics and is a transistor engineer. His challenge was to equal FM Acoustics at a fraction of the price with his Sound Engine patent. Mission accomplished. I'm still shaking my head how damn good the P-30 sounds for $7500. I have not heard any better up to $35K. And its been compared to units at much higher prices.
Kana813, certainly nothing like what is being claimed in this thread! We have found though that if you want tubes to be quiet, you have to do very similar things that the transistor designers do- fully differential, with excellent regulation and 2-stage constant current sources.

We developed a proprietary voltage regulator that gives our supplies some of the best numbers in the business, and to date I think we are the only manufacturer using 2 stage CCS circuits in our differential amplifiers. Plus we have that patented direct-coupled output, a real game-changer :)

Of course the entire preamp is zero feedback and I think we are still the only manufacturer that has sorted out how to do differential equalization, a real game-changer :)

The noise floor on our line stage depends on low noise tubes but is typically in the 100 db range, so its quiet on horns.

Sorry if I am being a bit flippant; when I hear cliches like this sometimes it bothers me, especially when its obvious that the user of said cliches has not seen/heard everything thing out there that might have an innovation in it.
The Playback design is the most analog sounding digital player, ha. It is to me the complete opposite. It is lean, lean, lean in the midrange. I won't continue on your other products.
Audiozen, now your recommending these "warm, lush, and laid-back tubes," as the sound you prefer. Sounds like your chasing your tail...
Get the Lightspeed thing and put the other $9,500 into your 401k or lap dances....
Audiozen, your Post is very unfair. I know some very wealthy Audiophiles who
can't sleep well when not spending 5k per week for audiophile components.
Your Post will show the final solution to them and they will fall in a black hole
when they don't know what to do next. Probably they get depressions or they
will start talking with their wife about buying a new kitchen ....
Jwm..I don't buy your opinion of the Playback Design MPS-5 player. It needs a minimum of 500 hours to break in. Why do you think some of the top disc players from Sony years ago had a very warm organic sound? Andreas Koch, thats why..the years he worked at Sony as their chief digital engineer resulted in designs he implemented which were used in their top players including the SACD technology he invented..The MPS-5 is the closest I have ever heard to vinyl..the player sounds identical to studio master tape.
Hifitime..not chasing my tail at all..the system separates I describe in this thread all have a very natural warm organic character. For example, the Sanders Magtech amp, which is manufactured by CODA, is a co-effort design between Roger Sanders and Eric Lauchli who use to be the head design engineer at Threshold when he worked for Nelson Pass back in the eighties, then broke away and started CODA when Nelson left to start Pass Labs. The Magtech amp uses the Linear voltage regulator that is Sander's own design and the rest of the amp is Eric's doing. The linear voltage regulator is not used in Coda's house amps.
Syntax..not unfair at all..their are two types of Audiophiles I have experienced over the years, the ones that have the big bucks, that buy,,sell.. every year, constantly in a loop of a endless obsession to have the latest and greatest high end gear to display like a game trophy from a hunting expedition, to impress their friends as if they bought the latest Beamer. Music is secondary to them. The other type is the Audiophile/Musicphile who has very deep passion for the love of music. where the music is their life, who enjoy Coltrane, Davis, Getz and Beethoven. The system components I suggested in this thread are designed by engineers who are at the top of their game. True Tier One designers whose products and techniques are closer to true analog sound regardless of price. Over the years, I have heard $100K systems in peoples homes that sound like crap and $30K systems that sound spectacular.
$100K systems that sound like crap? Stupidity rules. $30k systems that sound spectacular? They better do, that's why they cost so much.

You would really have my attention if you were reporting on a $5K max system that sounds spectacular.
OK Auditor..heres your $5K System that will sound spectacular..a pair of three way full range speakers..the Swans Diva 5.2's for $1049.00..sold by Audio Insider. The
Onkyo Reference P-3000 Preamp for $ at lower prices..the Wyred4Sound ST-250 stereo amp. $1000.00..
The Denon 2012UDCI universal bluray player..plays all disc formats including SACD..$900.00..Total cost..$4648.00..the remaining balance of $352.00 will get you a complete cable package from Morrow Audio..their low priced solid core interconnect and speaker cable or whatever budget cable you prefer.
The MPS-5 is the closest I have ever heard to vinyl..the player sounds identical to studio master tape.

Sorry- this is complete baloney. Spend some time around some master tapes before saying things like this!
I have listened to master tapes in studio's many times over the years and have two friends that are recording engineers with state of the art studios in their homes. I doubt very much you have listened to the MPS-5 player. Andreas Koch who is considered the best digital engineer in the States, worked in the Studer broadcasting studio's in Switzerland as a designer, and also worked in the Dolby Labs studio's as a designer as well in addition to the digital design work he did for Sony.
I've never read anything like this thread in these forums. I don't really
know if the OP is joking, serious, or if he is a dealer for these products.

I have one question: Once you have assembled these holy grail
components, who is going to set it up properly for you? You might be
surprised, but proper set up in a good room is critical to great sound.
Peterayer, let me elaborate where I'm coming from and you'll fully understand my
position, first and foremost, I am not a dealer or conform to any of the crappy high end mags on the stands that favor products based on the ad revenues they generate annually from their high end audio companies ad contracts..I don't give a crap's ass on the brand of the month, whether its Boulder, Levinson, Krell, Rowland, Esoteric or the Euro brands. I focus on one thing only, the audio design engineers behind the scenes who are the best in the industry who are never fully recognized and given the credit they are due based on their contributions providing the most advanced design technologies in the high end field on world class audio products at reasonable prices. As far as setting up a system, I have been doing that for years. As any true audiophile knows, never set up a system in a square room to avoid standing wave problems.
Can I have the 10 minutes of my life back reading this useless thread? As someone else pointed out, the OP has done this thing before with another "end all" solution to audio. I wished I recognized his handle earlier.
I have listened to master tapes in studio's many times over the years and have two friends that are recording engineers with state of the art studios in their homes. I doubt very much you have listened to the MPS-5 player. Andreas Koch who is considered the best digital engineer in the States, worked in the Studer broadcasting studio's in Switzerland as a designer, and also worked in the Dolby Labs studio's as a designer as well in addition to the digital design work he did for Sony.

Sorry- Now I am really not buying it. If this is true for you it explains why the Sony stuff sounds so bad.

I'm calling you out: either you have serious hearing loss or else the systems listened to were utterly lousy or you are lying. The master tape will smoke the digital copy every time.
I hear Mr. Koch is also able to "leap tall buildings in a single bound" and is "faster than a speeding bullet". Gimme a break - What a huge waste of time - again. Mark your calendars...
Audiozen I don't care who Koch is. I had the Playback Designs CD player because of the questionable raves. I put 800 hours on it and it was still lean, lean, lean. I could not wait to get rid of it.
Most of the high horse engineers that you so respect have no ears what so ever. I think we are going back to spec wars my TIM distortion is lower than yours.
Boy Jwm..what a load of rubbish..your assessment of the Playback Designs player is completely false..I love it when some shill is threatened by a product that blows away products at three times the price. Last summer I heard the MPS-5 for the first time at a Audio Club meeting in northern Washington. Their was just over twenty people in the room for the demonstration. Next to the MPS-5 was the three piece DCS Scarlatti. At the end of the session it was unanimous with the group that the MPS-5 was far superior to the Scarlatti, ehibiting a very organic, warm analog character with a lush full midrange with an outstanding bottom end. Not bad for a $17K player up against a $50K!..
Ooops!..type-o.."exhibiting"..not "ehibiting"...
That does not say very much as I don't like the DCS as well. I am glad you like the MPS-5 and Koch, you are entitled to your opinion as I am to mine. I will tell you the the player I use now only cost 3,000.00 and it beat the MPS-5 hands down. I had two other people over as well with different ears who thought the same thing.
Jwm..Don't believe you ever owned the buy a $17K player then listen to it and decide you don't like it after you make the purchase?..yeah, right..any legitimate Audiophile will ALWAYS test a piece of gear and evaluate and listen before spending that kind of money..I have twenty acres of swamp land I can sell you in Florida..only costs $17K..
Any Swamp Apes on that land?
LOL! This thread gets more absurd by the moment.
No..but there has been Sasquatch sightings..
If its your business I bought it used on Audiogon and had it for three months and yes I sold it to another audiofool. I could put the receipt on line, but this is not a communist country.