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  1. #1
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    It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    Well I recently purchased a new headphone amp so I could upgrade to a balanced headphone experience. The trouble is what I thought would work in the connections, sadly did not work. Now my wife has watched me working on this for a month and yesterday she said, and I love when she says this, "What do you need to make it work". What I needed is a preamp with dual input connections. She says, "What is this going to cost" I tell her, mid 4K range. She gives me the green light.

    Right now I'm looking at the Bryston BP-17 or the Pass Labs XP-12 (she might go that high) ($5800).

    Anything else I should check out? Thanks, Guys
    Speakers- Dynaudio Contour 1.8 Mk II, Amp - Pass Labs X150.5, Preamp - Cary SLP-03, Turntable - Music Hall MMF-9.3, Cartridge - Goldring Eroica LX, Phono PreAmp - Sutherland Insight, Digital Playback - Rotel RCD-1072, DAC - Bryston BDA-1, Headphones - Sennheiser HD-660S, and HiFiMan HE-560, Headphone Amp - Burson Soloist 3X

  2. #2
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    Love that! Good luck with your search.
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  3. #3
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    Jack what do you mean “dual input connections”?
    Marty

  4. #4
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    Quote Originally Posted by nc42acc View Post
    Jack what do you mean “dual input connections”?
    I need 2 balanced outputs. My existing preamp only has one.
    Speakers- Dynaudio Contour 1.8 Mk II, Amp - Pass Labs X150.5, Preamp - Cary SLP-03, Turntable - Music Hall MMF-9.3, Cartridge - Goldring Eroica LX, Phono PreAmp - Sutherland Insight, Digital Playback - Rotel RCD-1072, DAC - Bryston BDA-1, Headphones - Sennheiser HD-660S, and HiFiMan HE-560, Headphone Amp - Burson Soloist 3X

  5. #5
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    Thank you Jack. Do you need both XLR and RCA inputs and outputs. I just found a great preamp I think I may settle with for awhile so I understand your journey.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack in Wilmington View Post
    I need 2 balanced inputs. My existing preamp only has one.
    Marty

  6. #6
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack in Wilmington View Post
    I need 2 balanced inputs. My existing preamp only has one.

    My Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE has 2 pairs of balanced XLR and 3 pairs of unbalanced (RCA) inputs. Other choices, AR, BAT, Bryston, PASS, Gryphon, Luxman, HATTOR Audio for example . Lot of choices and price ranges out there Jack.
    2chl : Pass Xa-30.5, W4S STP, Kef 201/2, KEF 140, Vapor Breeze, Lumin, VPI Classic, Manley Chinook, Bryston CD, BHA-1, HD650, HD800s, HD820's, Dan Clark 1.1, OPPO 203, 105.

  7. #7
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    I think wifey gave him the green light on a budget of $4500 to $5500. Lots of great options

    Quote Originally Posted by CPP View Post
    My Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE has 2 pairs of balanced XLR and 3 pairs of unbalanced (RCA) inputs. Other choices, AR, BAT, Bryston, PASS, Gryphon, Luxman, HATTOR Audio for example . Lot of choices and price ranges out there Jack.
    Marty

  8. #8
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    Quote Originally Posted by nc42acc View Post
    Thank you Jack. Do you need both XLR and RCA inputs and outputs. I just found a great preamp I think I may settle with for awhile so I understand your journey.
    Hi Marty,
    I know I need the 2 XLR outputs for my Pass amp and my headphone amp. One RCA input will go from my preamp to my CD player and one to my phono preamp. I may experiment in the future and try the phono preamp connected directly to my preamp.
    Speakers- Dynaudio Contour 1.8 Mk II, Amp - Pass Labs X150.5, Preamp - Cary SLP-03, Turntable - Music Hall MMF-9.3, Cartridge - Goldring Eroica LX, Phono PreAmp - Sutherland Insight, Digital Playback - Rotel RCD-1072, DAC - Bryston BDA-1, Headphones - Sennheiser HD-660S, and HiFiMan HE-560, Headphone Amp - Burson Soloist 3X

  9. #9
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack in Wilmington View Post
    I know I need the 2 XLR outputs for my Pass amp and my headphone amp. One RCA will go to my CD player and one to my phono preamp. I may experiment in the future and try the phono preamp connected directly to my preamp.
    Jack, I'm confused, why would an output from your preamp go to your phono-pre ? should be the other way around as I see it .........
    Cheers ! …. Dave

  10. #10
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    As far as I know, the Pass Labs XP-12 has only ONE set of XLR outputs and ONE set of RCA outputs.
    Electronics: Pass Labs XP-22, Pass Labs X250.8
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  11. #11
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    Two that come to mind immediately that are both in your price range and have the hookups you desire.

    The Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE Stage 2 has great hookup flexibility and is a fine pre-amp.

    The second I would recommend because I love mine is the Hattor. Hattor is a passive pre-amp extraordinary performance and add the Tube Active Stage and you are in your budget. A true three box pre-amp with amazing flexibility and a fantastic performer. The top resistor choice (AMRG Trans) version is $1900, the tube active stage is $1900. Arek includes 5 inputs and 4 outputs in any combination of XLR and RCA. I got mine with 3x XLR inputs, 2x RCA inputs, and 2x of each outputs. Also, a really nice full function compact metal remote... both units shipped in flight cases.

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  12. #12
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    I vote for the Pass to get that same brand synergy. I have not heard the XP12 but I loved my XP10.

    You might also look at Coda, I believe their entry is around $3k give or take, not sure the in/out array. The 07x is $6k but discounts can sometimes be had, a smaller than normal chassis but the sound quality is far beyond its price. My friend has one that replaced a very capable preamp, the 07x was better by a long shot.
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  13. #13
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    Unfortunately the Pass does not offer the multiple XLR outputs that Jack was hoping to get. I totally understand his desires because finding a pre-amp that offers the connections needed with the quality level you are looking for is not always easy. I simply do not understand why many/most pre-amps do not offer a good array of hookups.

    I went through the exact same thing. I really wanted at least 2x XLR and 2x RCA outputs. I currently use 2x XLR and 1x RCA in my setup. Not may, especially in the more economical range have enough inputs... I would think 5 should be a minimal... and for my use 3x XLR and 2x RCA was a must.
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  14. #14
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    Tino is correct, the Pass XP-12 has only one set of balanced outputs, so we can remove that from the board.
    Speakers- Dynaudio Contour 1.8 Mk II, Amp - Pass Labs X150.5, Preamp - Cary SLP-03, Turntable - Music Hall MMF-9.3, Cartridge - Goldring Eroica LX, Phono PreAmp - Sutherland Insight, Digital Playback - Rotel RCD-1072, DAC - Bryston BDA-1, Headphones - Sennheiser HD-660S, and HiFiMan HE-560, Headphone Amp - Burson Soloist 3X

  15. #15
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    Also take a look at the Atma-sphere MP-3, although it is fully balanced. A friend of mine and a member here has one with a pair of XA-100.5 Pass mono's and it sounds great. I like the pairing of my BAT preamp with my Pass.
    My Gear- Mains System-Pass X250 amp, BAT VK-51se preamp, Luxman DA-06 DAC, Magnepan 1.6's, Thorens TD-145 TT, Dual Martin Logan Subs, Vintage Luxman T-110 Tuner, Other systems- Parasound A21 amp,Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid tube DAC and Preamp, Magnepan MMG's, Monitor Audio S1's, PSB B6's, Def Tech Pro Monitor 1000's, Velodyne sub, Adcom GFR-700 AVR, Music Hall 25.2 modified CDP, Cables by Cardas Parsec, AQ Columbia DBS 72v, Wire World.

  16. #16
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    I vote for the Pass to get that same brand synergy. I have not heard the XP12 but I loved my XP10.

    You might also look at Coda, I believe their entry is around $3k give or take, not sure the in/out array. The 07x is $6k but discounts can sometimes be had, a smaller than normal chassis but the sound quality is far beyond its price. My friend has one that replaced a very capable preamp, the 07x was better by a long shot.
    I have the Coda 07x, and it does have two sets of balanced out. Got mine used for well under the OP's budget, although they don't seem to become available that often.
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  17. #17
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    Jack, if I understand correctly you are looking for a preamp that has two pairs of balanced XLR outputs that can simultaneously feed your speaker stereo amplifier and your headphone amplifier. The Bryston BR-20 will do that and is an upgrade in terms of sound quality over the BR-17. The downside is the BR-20 does not have single-ended RCA analog inputs, in case you need that from your source, and you may be paying for other features you don't need.

    However, you could also try a XLR female to split XLR male connection, from your Cary SLP-03 to your Pass Labs X150.5 and Burson Soloist 3X. The X150.5 balanced input impedance is 20 kOhms, and the Soloist input impedance is 35 kOhms. So your input impedance in parallel will be ~12.7 kOms. The SLP-03 output impedance is 500 ohms. So your impedance ratio when split will still be approximately 25:1, which should be good enough assuming the manufacturer's specified impedances do not vary widely by frequency.

    A splitter adapter or cable will be much less expensive than a new preamp, plus both the Bryston BP-17^3 and BR-20 are going to sound significantly different than your SLP-03 which you may not like. Even if the splitter doesn't work well, it won't have cost much to try.
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  18. #18
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    Quote Originally Posted by NekoAudio View Post
    Jack, if I understand correctly you are looking for a preamp that has two pairs of balanced XLR outputs that can simultaneously feed your speaker stereo amplifier and your headphone amplifier. The Bryston BR-20 will do that and is an upgrade in terms of sound quality over the BR-17. The downside is the BR-20 does not have single-ended RCA analog inputs, in case you need that from your source, and you may be paying for other features you don't need.

    However, you could also try a XLR female to split XLR male connection, from your Cary SLP-03 to your Pass Labs X150.5 and Burson Soloist 3X. The X150.5 balanced input impedance is 20 kOhms, and the Soloist input impedance is 35 kOhms. So your input impedance in parallel will be ~12.7 kOms. The SLP-03 output impedance is 500 ohms. So your impedance ratio when split will still be approximately 25:1, which should be good enough assuming the manufacturer's specified impedances do not vary widely by frequency.

    A splitter adapter or cable will be much less expensive than a new preamp, plus both the Bryston BP-17^3 and BR-20 are going to sound significantly different than your SLP-03 which you may not like. Even if the splitter doesn't work well, it won't have cost much to try.
    Thanks, that's food for thought.
    Speakers- Dynaudio Contour 1.8 Mk II, Amp - Pass Labs X150.5, Preamp - Cary SLP-03, Turntable - Music Hall MMF-9.3, Cartridge - Goldring Eroica LX, Phono PreAmp - Sutherland Insight, Digital Playback - Rotel RCD-1072, DAC - Bryston BDA-1, Headphones - Sennheiser HD-660S, and HiFiMan HE-560, Headphone Amp - Burson Soloist 3X

  19. #19
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    I'll be bringing the Bryston BP-17 home for an inhouse trial tomorrow. My local dealer feels this is the best way to audition a piece of gear.
    Speakers- Dynaudio Contour 1.8 Mk II, Amp - Pass Labs X150.5, Preamp - Cary SLP-03, Turntable - Music Hall MMF-9.3, Cartridge - Goldring Eroica LX, Phono PreAmp - Sutherland Insight, Digital Playback - Rotel RCD-1072, DAC - Bryston BDA-1, Headphones - Sennheiser HD-660S, and HiFiMan HE-560, Headphone Amp - Burson Soloist 3X

  20. #20
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    Give us some feedback after your audition, how does it compare to the Cary etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack in Wilmington View Post
    I'll be bringing the Bryston BP-17 home for an inhouse trial tomorrow. My local dealer feels this is the best way to audition a piece of gear.
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  21. #21
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack in Wilmington View Post
    I'll be bringing the Bryston BP-17 home for an inhouse trial tomorrow. My local dealer feels this is the best way to audition a piece of gear.
    Looks like a nice piece. Hopefully it works out well for you.
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  22. #22
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    Give us some feedback after your audition, how does it compare to the Cary etc.
    Took a couple hours to connect. Some of the after market plugs are really tough to work with. Had a Brahms violin concerto up on the CD player so I decided to play it and get a class of wine to celebrate. First impressions are difficult, but I had just played this piece with the Cary in the starting lineup. It may not have had the warmth of the Cary but it low volume, I still felt I was in grossed in the music. At other times I've felt my mind wander at low volumes. Still lots to listen to.
    Speakers- Dynaudio Contour 1.8 Mk II, Amp - Pass Labs X150.5, Preamp - Cary SLP-03, Turntable - Music Hall MMF-9.3, Cartridge - Goldring Eroica LX, Phono PreAmp - Sutherland Insight, Digital Playback - Rotel RCD-1072, DAC - Bryston BDA-1, Headphones - Sennheiser HD-660S, and HiFiMan HE-560, Headphone Amp - Burson Soloist 3X

  23. #23
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikado463 View Post
    Jack, I'm confused, why would an output from your preamp go to your phono-pre ? should be the other way around as I see it .........

    I agree Dave.
    I think something else is missing here.
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  24. #24
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    Quote Originally Posted by brad225 View Post
    I agree Dave.
    I think something else is missing here.
    Got it all hooked up and running like a top. Amazingly the connection for the headphones on the BP-17 sounds quite good.
    Speakers- Dynaudio Contour 1.8 Mk II, Amp - Pass Labs X150.5, Preamp - Cary SLP-03, Turntable - Music Hall MMF-9.3, Cartridge - Goldring Eroica LX, Phono PreAmp - Sutherland Insight, Digital Playback - Rotel RCD-1072, DAC - Bryston BDA-1, Headphones - Sennheiser HD-660S, and HiFiMan HE-560, Headphone Amp - Burson Soloist 3X

  25. #25
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    Jack, I think you've misunderstood the question, it's about pre-amp / phono-pre connectivity.
    Cheers ! …. Dave

  26. #26
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikado463 View Post
    Jack, I think you've misunderstood the question, it's about pre-amp / phono-pre connectivity.
    I have the Sutherland Engineering phono pre connected to the RCA jacks on the Bryston BP-17. I was originally putting out bad info and I'm sure I confused everyone including myself. Hope that straightens everything out Dave.
    Speakers- Dynaudio Contour 1.8 Mk II, Amp - Pass Labs X150.5, Preamp - Cary SLP-03, Turntable - Music Hall MMF-9.3, Cartridge - Goldring Eroica LX, Phono PreAmp - Sutherland Insight, Digital Playback - Rotel RCD-1072, DAC - Bryston BDA-1, Headphones - Sennheiser HD-660S, and HiFiMan HE-560, Headphone Amp - Burson Soloist 3X

  27. #27
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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    all good Jack......
    Cheers ! …. Dave

  28. #28

    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    Bump
    sonus faber guarneri evolution and raidho c1.2, berkeley alpha dac 2, micro Zotl m2z preamplifier, classe cam 400 mono amps, audio note lexus speaker cables, audioquest water interconnects

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    Re: It's Time For A New Preamplifier

    < deleted: irrelevant content>
    Last edited by Feanor; November 23, 2021 at 03:09 PM. Reason: irrelevant
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