Tube pre for Sherbourn/Vandersteens?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Dan Driscoll, Dec 12, 2003.

  1. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll Supporting Actor

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    I would like to add a tube preamp to my system to improve the 2 channel music performance. My current system consists of Vandersteen 2Cs mains, Sherbourn 5/1500A amp, Yamaha RX-V-596 receiver (as a pre-pro), MMF-5 TT, Carver SD/A-360 CDP and a Panny RP-91 (for hi-rez stereo from DVD-As). My goal is to get the Yamaha out of the path when listening to music and to add some warmth to the Vandies, without sacrificing detail. I will need at least 3 and preferably 4 inputs and would like dual outputs. A decent phono stage and/or HT bypass would be nice, but aren't necessary. My budget is about $500 and I have no problem with good quality used gear. I've been looking at some of the preamps on Audiogon and a few that have caught my eye are the Audio Experience Symphonies, several Conrad-Johnson and Anthem models, an Audible Illusion and even an AudioNote M-Zero. Suggestions, comments or alternatives are welcome and encouraged. TIA.

    FYI, I have also posted this question on AA and AANx. I like to get a broad range of opinions.
     
  2. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    Try the bottlehead Foreplay preamp. Its the best value in tube preamps. You can assemble it yourself over a weekend. You'll be amazed at the sound. Also it has a cathode follower output that matches well with low impedance poweramps.
     
  3. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    Dan,

    I haven't heard the Odyssey Tempest yet, but it's at the top of my list for the same purpose. It doesn't meet your price (double, unfortunately) and tube criteria, but it's supposed to have an engaging sound similar to that of a tube pre. You can customize inputs and outputs, so 3-4 inputs, dual outputs, and an HT bypass are possible. You can get a volume remote as well. Owner feedback can be found at AudioCircle. Customer service from Klaus at Odyssey is nothing short of top notch.

    The Foreplay does get good feedback for musicality as well, and the price is right (another pre I haven't heard). However, I don't think you'll be getting many of the other frills you want.

    In addition to AA, there's a lot of 2ch pre feedback available at Audiocircle, such as in the 2 Channel Audio section. There are also other vendors with forums there. I don't think there are many used Tempests for sale, but I would guess folks will suggest some others you can pick up at Audiogon besides the ones you have listed, for example, that may meet more of your criteria.

    Doug
     
  4. Scott_N

    Scott_N Second Unit

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    You might be able to find a used Audio Electronic Supply AE3 preamp in your price range. It's the budget line of Cary Audio Design.
     
  5. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the suggestions, I'll be looking into them.
     

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