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  #1  
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
Ritmo Ritmo is offline
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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 06-26-2012, 04:39 PM
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I ended up purchasing the ARC LS27 for several reasons, I liked the wider soundstage and image a bit more.
Good choice, one of THE best pre's for the $$ spent !


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May be able to get a used one with low hours in nice shape for about $4k.

Good luck!

Mike
excellent advise, given the Op's love affair with ARC, you can't go wrong !
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Old 07-06-2012, 07:24 PM
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The real problem (or saving grace) is that I know of no store that carries Mac, Bryston and Parasound so I could do direct comparisons. Something like that could push me from "what if I needed a new preamp" to "I'm buying a preamp" rather quick.

I know now that as for an equipment rack I'll either keep my Sanus EFAV (still not set up in the system) or go for a basic Salamander Synergy 30, so I've been working system layouts with each. Now, I may need to think about how any new preamp would fit into those layouts. I'm starting to sound like I'm actually going to buy one, despite my initial intent being hypothetical. The C50's phono section got a nice mention in Hifi News by Ken Kessler, describing it as "finely detailed, quiet, easy-to-tailor." Sounds like it would be at least the equal of my Aragon 47k phonostage. That description should go for the C48 as well. A JC 3 phonostage is surely going to be better than either.

Working the system layouts may reveal some things. We'll see.
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Old 07-08-2012, 06:01 AM
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Ok, maybe the idea will pass, but I've been induced to add the C2300 and ARC LS27 to the mix, despite my normal aversion to tubes. The list now is (in order of price, high-low):

ARC LS27
Mc C50
Mc C2300
Bryston BP26
Mc C48
Parasound JC 2
Parasound P7


The LS27, at almost 7K, is too much; as I think about it the C50 is just about too much also (but looks-wise, my favorite), but for now both stay.

Last edited by prepress; 07-14-2012 at 09:21 AM. Reason: List update
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Old 07-29-2012, 04:32 PM
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I am beginning to lean away from the tube units on the above list. I just saw in another thread where someone experienced a failed tube in a C2300. That isn't the first time I've seen such, though it's not the norm, I'm sure. Still, it can and does happen on occasion, and feeds into one of my reasons for avoiding tube equipment in the past. Unless the current mindset changes, the list will be down to the C48, C50, and JC 2. These three are the core of the list and I realize that. And while I'll still think about the others, in the end if I take the plunge odds are strong it'll be one of these three.
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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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