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    What are you guys using for preamps?

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    islanddave

    Posts : 11
    Join date : 2012-10-15

    What are you guys using for preamps?

    Post by islanddave on Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:52 am

    I just built my ST-70 and am breaking it in. I opted for the stepped attenuator so my cd player just runs through the amp. I also have a turntable that I would like to use. I have been using my old denon receiver for a phono pre amp but have not been entirely satisfied with what it does to the sound of my amp. So in my way of thinking I might as well go for a preamp that has a phono stage as well, rather than just a separate phono preamp, because I would like the ability to effect tone through treble and bass adjustments.

    Any recommendations other than the obvious kits that Roy supplies?

    Thanks Dave

    bcinnamon

    Posts : 26
    Join date : 2011-05-07

    Re: What are you guys using for preamps?

    Post by bcinnamon on Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:44 am

    To drive my ST-120 I started off with a Jolida pre-amp that had a remote volume control, using a CD player as a source. But then I decided to rip all my CDs (lossless compression) to an old Mac, so I never have to get my butt out of a chair. Now I go direct from the Mac to the ST-120, and have also used a separate Schitt DAC to reduce the jitters (much better than the cheap D-A chip in the Mac); cutting out that afternoon espresso also helped. The stepped attenuator is very handy as a volume limiter. The best thing is that I can use an iPhone to remotely control both the volume and the tracks/playlists. I think CD players are doomed (I hated reboxing and filing all my CDs). Vinyl lives as sort of an archaic manual ritual that is the opposite of remote-controlled digital audio. I wish I had a phono pre-amp so I could see how my old Thorens turntable sounds.

    ramon68

    Posts : 83
    Join date : 2009-04-12
    Age : 75
    Location : naples fl

    Re: What are you guys using for preamps?

    Post by ramon68 on Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:36 am

    I bought a used PS audio GCPH phono amp on Audiogon. It allows me to run a low output MC cartridge directly into my power amps.
    It has a volume control, swichable loading, and swichable gain of up to 66dB. You can buy an old U.S. made one for around $500.

    Tanner

    Posts : 23
    Join date : 2009-11-15

    Re: What are you guys using for preamps?

    Post by Tanner on Sun Dec 23, 2012 5:34 pm

    I sold my Mac C28 and built this one from a kit
    http://www.siliconray.com/audio-amateur/amplifiers-w-case/6j4-6p6p-6z5p-hifi-tube-preamplifier-kit.html

    It took some time but it was worth it in the end. I replaced the rectifier tube with a sylvainia and the pre tubes I used RCA's and the output (driver tubes) Electro Harmonix . I have had zero issues with it. It has no phone RIAA so it purchased a Yaqin and that works great

    It is very warm and smooth sounding !!! Plus is was fun to build. I have not put it up against any thing else besides the Mac. It was better sounding than the C28 by far !!!

    thegage

    Posts : 7
    Join date : 2011-10-04

    Re: What are you guys using for preamps?

    Post by thegage on Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:31 pm

    ramon68 wrote:I bought a used PS audio GCPH phono amp on Audiogon. It allows me to run a low output MC cartridge directly into my power amps. It has a volume control, swichable loading, and swichable gain of up to 66dB. You can buy an old U.S. made one for around $500.
    I have the Underwood modified version and sometimes use it direct into the amps, but most of the time I use a Parasound Halo JC2.

    John K.

    ArlanB

    Posts : 52
    Join date : 2011-01-23
    Age : 69
    Location : Santa Cruz, California

    Re: What are you guys using for preamps?

    Post by ArlanB on Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:17 am

    I purchased my VTA ST120 almost 4 years ago and have been driving it with a Dynaco PAT-4 preamp that I purchased refurbished at that time and it has been serving me well ever since. I use the system almost exclusively for my vinyl listening. I am from what you would call old school audiophiles. I believe in tone controls because there are recordings that were so poorly mastered they need help. I like the ability to set the controls in the center position (out of circuit) for 98% of my library and for the other 2% make adjustments to make them listenable. Sometime in the future when I can afford it I would like to upgrade to a tubes4hifi preamp kit. However until then the old Dynaco fills the gap well.

    ArlanB


    islanddave

    Posts : 11
    Join date : 2012-10-15

    Re: What are you guys using for preamps?

    Post by islanddave on Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:21 am

    ArlanB wrote:I purchased my VTA ST120 almost 4 years ago and have been driving it with a Dynaco PAT-4 preamp that I purchased refurbished at that time and it has been serving me well ever since. I use the system almost exclusively for my vinyl listening. I am from what you would call old school audiophiles. I believe in tone controls because there are recordings that were so poorly mastered they need help. I like the ability to set the controls in the center position (out of circuit) for 98% of my library and for the other 2% make adjustments to make them listenable. Sometime in the future when I can afford it I would like to upgrade to a tubes4hifi preamp kit. However until then the old Dynaco fills the gap well.

    ArlanB

    I can relate to your desire to control the tonal qualities due to certain recordings. My system (ST-70 VTA amp and Cornwalls) really brings out the best and the worst of recordings.

    peterh

    Posts : 642
    Join date : 2012-12-25
    Location : gothenburg, sweden

    Re: What are you guys using for preamps?

    Post by peterh on Wed Dec 26, 2012 6:25 am

    I use a pas-3x to my newbuilt vta-70.
    I'm not fully satisfied yet( bass is boomy ) but the combination is dead quiet!
    I had to dampen about 7dB since vta is much more sensitive then st-70 ever was.

    Bass fixed! It was one of : ( i did both so i cannot really say which one did it)

    - 1uF caps at output in pas3
    - bad speaker cables , i replaced fancy "special" ones with 4mm2 black/red car cable with
    pressed cable connectors. The old ones probably had less then optimum pressed contact shoes.

    pas-3x still dead quiet and i have all units connected to 220 outlet ground.


    Last edited by peterh on Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:44 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : problem fixed)

    Tube Nube

    Posts : 603
    Join date : 2008-12-06
    Age : 53
    Location : Calgary, AB

    Re: What are you guys using for preamps?

    Post by Tube Nube on Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:34 pm

    Using Roy's SP14, before that an SP8, and before that a Transcendent Sound grounded grid pre-amp (modified by Roy).

    For phono stage, Im still using the TS phono -- a separate free standing component from the pre amp.


    quadaptor

    Posts : 59
    Join date : 2009-05-04

    Re: What are you guys using for preamps?

    Post by quadaptor on Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:45 pm

    I tried a PAT 4 with my VTA 70, but eventualyy went back to the PAS 3X I've had for 27-years as the PAT sounded to solid state. I'd like to try one of the SPs, but personally know of two people (and read other accounts on this forum) who had issues with hum that couldn't be corrected.

    kevinmi

    Posts : 54
    Join date : 2009-11-17

    Re: What are you guys using for preamps?

    Post by kevinmi on Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:57 am

    I have found that using a cheaper preamp will do more harm to your sound than any other piece of equipment. A high quality preamp (or directly hooking up a source to the amplifier, if feasible) is mandatory to get the best sound from your system. I have used many preamps, from SS units from McIntosh, to vintage Dynaco Pass3 tube units. I prefer tube preamplifiers, especially if they have a tube phono section. I currently use a Cary SLP98p(F1)that has the mm phono section. Although this preamp was quite expensive, it has made the biggest improvement to my system. Although there is no tone controls, I can tweak the sound by using different tubes

    thevic24

    Posts : 29
    Join date : 2010-01-31

    Re: What are you guys using for preamps?

    Post by thevic24 on Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:38 am

    I have a few that I use...

    Adcom GTP-400,
    Yamaha CX-630 (this one kicks some you know what!)
    and a H/K AVR 40

    tubes4hifi
    Admin

    Posts : 1261
    Join date : 2008-11-30

    Re: What are you guys using for preamps?

    Post by tubes4hifi on Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:48 pm

    I'll agree 2000% with KevinMI on the preamp having the greatest influence on the quality of the sound system.
    My introduction to tube audio over 25 years ago was adding a tube preamp to an good quality Adcom SS amplifier.
    Huge difference, which then brought me to a Dynaco ST70, which I tried a dozen different mods to, which was the beginning
    of all this wonderful experience which I've now shared with thousands of customers.
    But if you have a CD only source, then all you need is a tube amp.

    arledgsc

    Posts : 330
    Join date : 2012-11-30
    Location : SF Bay CA

    Re: What are you guys using for preamps?

    Post by arledgsc on Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:15 pm

    But if you have a CD only source, then all you need is a tube amp.
    I concur. I run a DAC directly into the ST-120 with the optional stepped attenuator to control volume and it sounds wonderful. The less the better as far as I'm concerned.

    poconoman

    Posts : 106
    Join date : 2013-01-17

    Re: What are you guys using for preamps?

    Post by poconoman on Sun Jan 20, 2013 9:24 pm

    Adcom GFP-565. VERY quite and transparent.

    xlr8

    Posts : 68
    Join date : 2010-02-09

    Re: What are you guys using for preamps?

    Post by xlr8 on Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:36 pm

    I'm currently using a '59 Eico HF85 that I re-capped with PIOs a couple of years ago. I'm driving 2 VTA boarded st70s in vertical biamp to a set of home made dipoles. It sounds pretty damn good. I'm about to have both SP14 and PH15 kits in my hands by the end of the week. They are in the mail! Cool bounce cheers

    Tube Nube

    Posts : 603
    Join date : 2008-12-06
    Age : 53
    Location : Calgary, AB

    Re: What are you guys using for preamps?

    Post by Tube Nube on Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:46 pm

    Xlr, please post up your experiences of the new pre amps! I'm delighted with my "14"!

    Tiziano73

    Posts : 29
    Join date : 2012-09-11
    Location : Italy

    Re: What are you guys using for preamps?

    Post by Tiziano73 on Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:58 am


    Fully restored PAS-3X. Deadly quiet.

    Tiziano

    tubes4hifi
    Admin

    Posts : 1261
    Join date : 2008-11-30

    Re: What are you guys using for preamps?

    Post by tubes4hifi on Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:47 pm

    SP14 and PH15 !!! Also have had an SP12 and PH12 (absolute best deal in the world for tubes!, IMHO, which may be slightly biased)
    currently doing probably my 100th PAS3 rebuild with all new parts, a PH10 phono, PAS-AIKIDO line stage, and regulated power supply
    with two flat-pak transformers to replace the *@%# that came with them 50 years ago.

    Zimmer64

    Posts : 112
    Join date : 2013-01-29
    Age : 52
    Location : Switzerland

    Quickie

    Post by Zimmer64 on Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:59 am

    Hi there,

    I am using a Bottlehead Quickie with my newly build VTA ST 70. The Quickie has been modified. I have put in Clarity MR output coupling caps (cost more than the Quickie, but worth every penny) and I replaced the stock pot with an Alps. I will also try my Rowen Absolute Pre, but I have not yet.

    Best

    Michael


    corndog71

    Posts : 444
    Join date : 2013-03-19
    Location : It can get windy here

    Re: What are you guys using for preamps?

    Post by corndog71 on Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:49 pm

    I use a fully modded version of the Bottlehead Quickie.




    captn

    Posts : 14
    Join date : 2010-01-17
    Location : Coastal Virginia

    Re: What are you guys using for preamps?

    Post by captn on Sat Mar 23, 2013 8:27 am

    I use an Emotiva USP-1, which I like very well. I also have a SP9 and a heavily modified PAT-4 that are not in service at this time. Both of those preamps I hope to get operational at some point.

    Andy Jersey

    Posts : 69
    Join date : 2012-09-29

    Re: What are you guys using for preamps?

    Post by Andy Jersey on Sat Mar 23, 2013 11:48 am

    I have one of Roy's SP 14 with a PH 12 phono driving my VTA ST-120. Super thrilled overall!

    Rich

    Posts : 31
    Join date : 2013-01-17

    Re: What are you guys using for preamps?

    Post by Rich on Sat Mar 23, 2013 1:16 pm

    Using a McIntosh C-22 line stage clone+ EAR 834P phono. I can't find myself better preamp yet (need to try Roy's SP-14), but I've tried Counterpoints, SS macIntosh, Musical Fidelity's, Conrad Johnson, Carvers, Linn, and many others. It is not a brand or a model, it is the right match according to your tastes that will make a Preamp be the right one for your system, and the only way to get it is trying until you find the right one, it doesn't matter it is cheap or expensive, just don't get wrong by choosing a preamp for it's brand or price tag.

    TN Allen

    Posts : 124
    Join date : 2013-01-01

    Re: What are you guys using for preamps?

    Post by TN Allen on Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:09 pm

    I've been using a $20 junk shop Hafler preamp, so I can also use a turntable, but am presently using a Chinese attenuator with a Rolls 7 band EQ; I did the same with one of Mr. Latino's attenuators, both work as well or better for me than any of the preamps I have. These seem the best combination so far with an ST 70 I upgraded with the VTA 70 board. I've also used a PAT 4, only sightly modified, and plan to use a PAS 3X I've been upgrading with Mr. Mottram's boards once I send it off to him, and he figures out the source of a persistent hum, and sends it back, humless.

    Were it not that I need to boost the higher frequencies to compensate for my somewhat compromised hearing, an attenuator and a selector switch connected to a few RCA jacks, and a separate phono preamp, would probably be my choice, rather than a preamp.


    Last edited by TN Allen on Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:12 pm; edited 1 time in total

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