My Next Preamp

Discussion in 'Tube Gear' started by Audionut, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. Audionut

    Audionut Next Round Is On Me

    Although I have a Mcintosh C11 patiently awaiting a recap and currently using the MA6450 (preamp portion), I’m not sure either is going to be the perfect match for my bottlehead Paramounts (2a3). That said I’m looking for a little insurance in my next purchase. The two front runners are a Schiit Saga (a big thanks to @TubeHiFiNut ) and the Musical Paradise MP-701 (thanks to @marantzfan and @billfort for turning me on to musical paradise with their great DAC reviews).
    The bottlehead “submissive” was a thought, however it it’s only a passive option and the schiit beat it out having a buffer/active extra option. The beepree may come down the line (at a higher price point). Any recommendations similar to what I have already mentioned (price point and connectivity) or just an opinion on the two front runners?
  2. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    In my opinion, the Saga is an excellent compromise between passive and active plus it is an excellent value. :)
  3. Thermionics

    Thermionics Post Whore In Training

    Are you up for a little DIY? I'm a huge proponent of the Broskie Aikido LV kit.

  4. Audionut

    Audionut Next Round Is On Me

    Thanks THFN, It holds a slight margin of a lead for those very reasons. The MP has the easy tube/cap rolling thing going for it though (no passive option of course).
  5. Audionut

    Audionut Next Round Is On Me

    Not opposed to DIY. Would it be better sonically then these two options at a similar price point? Do you have a good link? In doing a quick search only the board with tubes came up.
    My “end all” pre I imagine should not exceed 2k, looking to play with a few options before I get there.
  6. rogerfederer

    rogerfederer Junior Member

    really really like my slagleformer TVC. pretty easy DIY project. also recommend Pass B1.
    Audionut likes this.
  7. JohnVF

    JohnVF Administrator Staff Member

    I haven't heard anything at any price that sounds notably better than my Slagleformer based TVC that Redboy created. And by any price, I do mean any price. I've heard $50,000 pres that I don't think were sonically better.
    fiddlefye and Audionut like this.
  8. Thermionics

    Thermionics Post Whore In Training

    I'm running mine using a OPS power supply (feeds the 24VDC for the LV plus the 12-0-12VDC for the AD797 HOMC board that's also in the preamp chassis).

    With regard to sound quality, I've found in my applications that it is an extremely neutral and linear-sounding amplifier. Any sins it may commit are probably on the side of omission, but with some good Amperex 6GM8 tubes and a good, stiff linear power supply, it's pretty damn good for the money.

    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
  9. Redboy

    Redboy Knobophobe

    Yes, but they were probably shinier.

    Dang, I should've sent that to you as a demo and then charged ya twice what I did! :)
  10. Audionut

    Audionut Next Round Is On Me

    So do you have another one laying around? :D
    I’ll likely buy the saga this weekend and if I dig the passive option then Slagle will be my final pre purchase!
    Looking forward to hearing @marantzfan pre once he’s done building it.
    TubeHiFiNut likes this.
  11. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    Both the Saga and Slagle deal with the primary (IMHO) issue with pure passive volume controls - high output impedance.

    The Saga uses a 6SN7.

    The Slagle uses autoformers.

    I also plan on getting the Slagle at some point so I can listen and compare. :)
    fiddlefye and Audionut like this.
  12. I have to give a thumbs up to the BeePre. I can’t compare because once in my system, it has never come out.
    I’m intrigued with an all DHT system where gain is a challenge.
    Audionut and marantzfan like this.
  13. marantzfan

    marantzfan Administrator Staff Member

    The BeePre is a REALLY nice Preamp. I think i would have a really hard time parting with mine.

    So, @Audionut, my slagle Preamp is mostly done, just needs to have the top plate powder coated and bolted on. I couldn’t wait, so it has been in my system for a couple of weeks now. With that said, I’ve really only had a couple short opportunities to listen to it.

    It’s very early to be saying anything, but so far so good. At this point at least, it is not stomping the BeePre. It’s pretty evenly matched between the two actually. We will see if more time listening changes that or not.
    Audionut and TubeHiFiNut like this.
  14. paulbottlehead

    paulbottlehead Active Member

    Yeah, I let someone talk me out of my Paramounts with a directly heated pentode drivers. I probably need to make another pair or figure out how to accomplish the same thing in my Kaiju.
  15. Thermionics

    Thermionics Post Whore In Training

    For reference, here's how simple the board is (this is in my office preamp, with one of HypnoToad's AD797 HQMC phono boards):


    Fairly simple circuit. Sounds great. Probably not as good as a BeePre (although I've never done a head-to-head), but then again, it's probably 1/10 of the price when built and put in a chassis.

    Chops54 likes this.
  16. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    BTW.....I'd still get the C11 up and running.

    The McIntosh C11, Marantz 7, etc. are classic preamps that provide a beautiful window to the music.

    "Better" than the Saga? No...not better. Different. Softer.

    IMHO, different perspectives are a good thing. :)
  17. Chops54

    Chops54 Junior Member

    That looks a tidy build Thermionics. I've been promising to build myself an Aikido for a long time and I even have some original diyaudio boards somewhere. I think I need to dig them out!
    Thermionics likes this.
  18. I always wanted to try the Aikido Octal. Now that they have a new version I might just order one. :)
  19. Audionut

    Audionut Next Round Is On Me

    The paramounts are one of if not the best purchase I’ve made to date. Bottlehead definitely knows what they are doing!
  20. Audionut

    Audionut Next Round Is On Me

    I haven’t given up on the C11 just yet, if I’m fortunate enough I’ll have it in a second setup (assuming it doesn’t surpass the other pre’s I’ll be comparing it with). Finally pulled the trigger on end caps and got them in Wednesday. My intent was to pair the C11, MC240 and JBL 4333’s in an end all system, but.... I listened to @marantzfan ’s system and pretty soon I found myself with 604’s, paramount 2a3’s and the possibility of a new end all system!
    Note; I am very impressed with what the paramounts and JBL4333’s are doing at the moment. They power them with ease; plenty of punchy low end, detailed mids and highs.

Share This Page