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Old 04-27-2011, 11:55 AM
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Default Preamp Possibilities

I sometimes like to look ahead, namely, what would I do if a component went down with no hope of repair or was otherwise gone. For example, I already know what I would do if my speakers or amps needed replacing. Recently I was considering this with regard to my trusty Audio Research LS3 preamp, serving well since 1994. I have no upgrade plans but the time may come when it, too, would need replacing. I have identified the Bryston BP-16, Cambridge Audio 840E, Parasound JC 2 (though the long break-in time bothers me a bit), and the Macintosh C48 as possibilities; the JC 2 and C48 are at the limit of my likely spending ability, which shrinks as retirement gets closer (about 9 years, Lord willing).

I would be curious as to whether anyone has experience with any of the above they would share. Or perhaps with another worthwhile contender. Reviews are a source, specs another, but user info helps too. The C48 is obvious, since I have 501s, but that isn't a given. I consider solid-state only, as I'm not a tube fan. Thanks.
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Old 02-05-2012, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prepress View Post
I sometimes like to look ahead, namely, what would I do if a component went down with no hope of repair or was otherwise gone. For example, I already know what I would do if my speakers or amps needed replacing. Recently I was considering this with regard to my trusty Audio Research LS3 preamp, serving well since 1994. I have no upgrade plans but the time may come when it, too, would need replacing. I have identified the Bryston BP-16, Cambridge Audio 840E, Parasound JC 2 (though the long break-in time bothers me a bit), and the Macintosh C48 as possibilities; the JC 2 and C48 are at the limit of my likely spending ability, which shrinks as retirement gets closer (about 9 years, Lord willing).

I would be curious as to whether anyone has experience with any of the above they would share. Or perhaps with another worthwhile contender. Reviews are a source, specs another, but user info helps too. The C48 is obvious, since I have 501s, but that isn't a given. I consider solid-state only, as I'm not a tube fan. Thanks.
Quote:
which shrinks as retirement gets closer (about 9 years, Lord willing).
I wish you the best on the up coming retirement.
Thank goodness I made it.
And I never ever even remotely thought of looking back and regretting it for even a second.

Terry
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Last edited by tigerhonaker; 02-05-2012 at 08:44 PM.
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Old 02-05-2012, 05:01 PM
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Though it's not coming quickly, nine years is shorter than it seems. If I'm going to do any buying it should be sooner rather than later, I think. That said, I'm more interested in a new equipment rack at the moment, with several options.

There's work to do!
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Old 02-05-2012, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prepress View Post
I sometimes like to look ahead, namely, what would I do if a component went down with no hope of repair or was otherwise gone. For example, I already know what I would do if my speakers or amps needed replacing. Recently I was considering this with regard to my trusty Audio Research LS3 preamp, serving well since 1994. I have no upgrade plans but the time may come when it, too, would need replacing. I have identified the Bryston BP-16, Cambridge Audio 840E, Parasound JC 2 (though the long break-in time bothers me a bit), and the Macintosh C48 as possibilities; the JC 2 and C48 are at the limit of my likely spending ability, which shrinks as retirement gets closer (about 9 years, Lord willing).

I would be curious as to whether anyone has experience with any of the above they would share. Or perhaps with another worthwhile contender. Reviews are a source, specs another, but user info helps too. The C48 is obvious, since I have 501s, but that isn't a given. I consider solid-state only, as I'm not a tube fan. Thanks.
I listened to the C48/C50 last year as I was doing my shopping. Very nice units. These preamps have a very different sound signature to the ARC gear.

I ended up purchasing the ARC LS27 for several reasons, I liked the wider soundstage and image a bit more. The Mc's present a bit more bottom end. In a nutshell, comes down to personal taste and the rest of the system.

Now, I think it would be interesting if you consider the C2300. I realize this is a tube unit but tons of good comments here and other sites. May be able to get a used one with low hours in nice shape for about $4k.

Good luck!

Mike

Last edited by Ritmo; 02-05-2012 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 02-05-2012, 07:29 PM
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Good advice, Mike.
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Old 02-05-2012, 11:44 PM
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Thanks Stephen!

Mike
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Old 02-05-2012, 11:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prepress View Post
I sometimes like to look ahead, namely, what would I do if a component went down with no hope of repair or was otherwise gone. For example, I already know what I would do if my speakers or amps needed replacing. Recently I was considering this with regard to my trusty Audio Research LS3 preamp, serving well since 1994. I have no upgrade plans but the time may come when it, too, would need replacing. I have identified the Bryston BP-16, Cambridge Audio 840E, Parasound JC 2 (though the long break-in time bothers me a bit), and the Macintosh C48 as possibilities; the JC 2 and C48 are at the limit of my likely spending ability, which shrinks as retirement gets closer (about 9 years, Lord willing).

I would be curious as to whether anyone has experience with any of the above they would share. Or perhaps with another worthwhile contender. Reviews are a source, specs another, but user info helps too. The C48 is obvious, since I have 501s, but that isn't a given. I consider solid-state only, as I'm not a tube fan. Thanks.
I'm not sure you can go wrong with the JC-2 for the price.
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  #8  
Old 02-06-2012, 09:27 AM
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I pretty much narrowed it to the C48 and JC-2. Since I have a turntable I'd need a phonostage with the JC-2. I'm using an Aragon 47k now, which I could keep; or if money served, go for the JC-3, effectively raising the cost of the Parasound overall.

The C48, of course, has a built-in phonostage which is supposedly pretty good. As for the C48's USB issues, they'd not be that much of a deal since I'd be looking at it as a preamp (I have no plans to go digital).

Despite what I said about having no plans to upgrade at the moment, I'm deeply curious about both units and will keep an eye on both. The C48 would be a visual match for my other Mac gear, but the JC-2 has a strong rep as an outstanding performer with many accolades. Being a "semi-" audiophile, as I call myself, practical and other concerns will be a big factor in what I do if the time comes, not only sound.

Last edited by prepress; 02-06-2012 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 02-19-2012, 06:48 AM
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I think I'm in trouble. The thought has just occurred to me (literally) that either of these preamps would come with a remote control. If I get a phone call, it would be advantageous to use the remote to turn down the system rather than having to get up to do that (my LS3 doesn't have a remote). I'm not sure this bit of convenience is worth spending the money despite the fact my LS3 works fine and there are more important concerns in life, but it's in my head now.

On the other hand, if I happened to be playing a record in the same scenario it wouldn't matter. I'd have to get up anyway.
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Old 04-06-2012, 07:01 AM
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Things are changing, and my ARC LS3/Aragon 47k combo may be in jeopardy.

My main concern is exploring a new equipment rack to replace my Hooker console still, but I've read JC 2 reviews from Stereophile and Positive Feedback Online recently and am actually considering a preamp change, when I thought I was set for a while longer. I came away impressed enough with the JC 2 that I'm leaning toward actually getting it, and possibly the JC 3 too .

I know the C48/501 combo is obvious, and that the ARC/McIntosh combo is synergistic as well. I don't know that about Parasound/McIntosh, but I see no reason to think it would be a disaster. I'm planning to replace the Hooker with my Sanus EFAV temporarily (both attached below), to gauge whether I'm comfortable with the look. That setup wouldn't accommodate a JC 2/3 combo easily if at all, even paired with the existing Sanus EFABs on either side, and would mean I stand pat or replace the LS3/47k with a C48 (with the Parasounds, something else would have to go due to insufficient shelves; my current combo stacks easily and the C48 has phono built-in). Also, the Parasounds look nothing like the rest of my equipment and I consider that, too; they'll probably stick out like a sore thumb. And I confess, reading the C50 firmware thread has taken some of my enthusiasm for the C48. Perhaps there's balance there.

This latest complication may pass given enough time. If not, I'll have something else to report in the next few months. Meantime, I've downloaded the JC 3 manual, which joins the JC 2 and C48 manuals. I've been through those last two already but will have to re-read now.
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