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Trading up my Preamp?


Jamesroy
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Without telling us the rest of system, pros/cons of the B&K, budget, nor what your priorities are for the new preamp, only the clairvoyant will provide meaningful replies.

Help us help you.

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Both: BAT VK51SE preamp> Krell FPB300 power amp > Sound Lab A3 ESLs > > Custom room treatment > 50 yr. old ears(left-handed)

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WD usb2 2 TB external HD Only Music aiff’s) on it

MacBook Pro 2013 8GB RAM 256 internal Flash drive usb3

AudirvanaPlus_2.2.4

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Reference B&K 200.2 S2 Power amp 225W RMS

Reference B&K 5 S2 Preamp

Paradigm 100 S series speakers

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I owned the 2100, sound wise I thought it was very good. however there were a few deal breakers for me with this unit,

they may not matter to you but here it is...

 

1) Volume control. its not precise, clumsy with the remote, no level display.

 

2) limited bass management. fixed high pass at 80hz

 

3) The remote sucks.

 

I ended up going with an Emotiva XSP-1 which eliminated my issues, but if those do not matter to you (many are very happy with it)

its a solid unit.

MacMini > Audirvana Plus > Musical Fidelity V Dac 2 >

Emotiva XSP-1 > Emotiva XPA-2 Gen 2 > Ascend Sierra Towers NRT >

Rythmik F12SE > :)

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I owned the 2100, sound wise I thought it was very good. however there were a few deal breakers for me with this unit,

they may not matter to you but here it is...

 

1) Volume control. its not precise, clumsy with the remote, no level display.

 

2) limited bass management. fixed high pass at 80hz

 

3) The remote sucks.

 

I ended up going with an Emotiva XSP-1 which eliminated my issues, but if those do not matter to you (many are very happy with it)

its a solid unit.

Thanks, a few questions. When you say now level display do you mean it doesn't show how many -db the volume is at, and please a bit more about the bass. I'm not a remote person so that doesn't matter. My old B&K is flat out no bass or rebel controls or even levels for right or left. just a led pf what volume your at. Really old school to todays preamps.

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The preamp us what usually holds most systems back. The reason is because its overlooked. People tend to focus on the "exciting" purchases like speakers and amps. The preamp is just as important as any component in the system. My personal view is that if you can't afford to get an exceptional active preamp, then don't use one. Nothing is wrong with the Parasound, but if the choice were mine, I would use a dac with a volume control or a passive preamp.

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Thanks, a few questions. When you say now level display do you mean it doesn't show how many -db the volume is at, and please a bit more about the bass. I'm not a remote person so that doesn't matter. My old B&K is flat out no bass or rebel controls or even levels for right or left. just a led pf what volume your at. Really old school to todays preamps.

 

Correct, there is no display for volume level, many pres dont have this and alot of people dont care, I do.

Regarding Bass management, its pretty good for low pass (adjustment knob for Frequency) High pass is not adjustable. 80hz fixed.

There is a subwoofer level knob on the front which is nice, however again no readout so no repeatability if that matters....

Over all a good sounding pre with some nice Bass management features. hope this helps:)

MacMini > Audirvana Plus > Musical Fidelity V Dac 2 >

Emotiva XSP-1 > Emotiva XPA-2 Gen 2 > Ascend Sierra Towers NRT >

Rythmik F12SE > :)

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The preamp us what usually holds most systems back. The reason is because its overlooked. People tend to focus on the "exciting" purchases like speakers and amps. The preamp is just as important as any component in the system. My personal view is that if you can't afford to get an exceptional active preamp, then don't use one. Nothing is wrong with the Parasound, but if the choice were mine, I would use a dac with a volume control or a passive preamp.

Thanks,Can you recommend a passive preamp, budget is an issue.

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Correct, there is no display for volume level, many pres dont have this and alot of people dont care, I do.

Regarding Bass management, its pretty good for low pass (adjustment knob for Frequency) High pass is not adjustable. 80hz fixed.

There is a subwoofer level knob on the front which is nice, however again no readout so no repeatability if that matters....

Over all a good sounding pre with some nice Bass management features. hope this helps:)

Well as far as passive preamps it looks like the infamous "Tortuga Audio LDR pass preamps" is out of my price range of around 600.00

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Thanks,Can you recommend a passive preamp, budget is an issue.

 

The first one that comes to mind is the Adcom GFP-750. Its not in production anymore, so you would have to find a used one. You may have to wait, but they do come up from time to time. It was designed by Nelson Pass for Adcom and its just an excellent all around performer. I'm pretty sure Stereophile reviewed it so you should be able to find it on their web site. Channel Island Audio and Creek both make passives that fall within your budget. I would look at those also.

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Thanks,Can you recommend a passive preamp, budget is an issue.

Schiit Audio, Headphone amps and DACs made in USA. that will at a minimum cost let you know if a passive is simpatico w/your other stuff.

 

For around $500, the Lightspeed Attenuator gets plenty of praise, but I'd be inclined to go with a used tube active preamp with minimal circuitry and letting the tubes do the work. Different tubes will let you tailor the sound for synergy with your other gear, and can be easily changed when you upgrade amp, speakers etc. Older Audio Research LS-7 (~$600) or recent Eastern Electric preamps(~$400-500) can both punch way about their weight class.

Digital Source: Synology DS415+ NAS  and Small Green Computer SonicTransporter i5 Running Roon Core > Blue Jean Cable Cat6a >TP optical converter > Sonore OpticalRendu with Sonore LPS> Curious USB > Denafrips Pontus DAC

Analog Source: Dynavector XX2 mk2> Audiomods Series 5 silver arm > Sota Nova Series VI turntable w/Condor & Roadrunner motor controller/tachometer > Nagra BPS battery powered phono stage>

Both: BAT VK51SE preamp> Krell FPB300 power amp > Sound Lab A3 ESLs > > Custom room treatment > 50 yr. old ears(left-handed)

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Schiit Audio, Headphone amps and DACs made in USA. that will at a minimum cost let you know if a passive is simpatico w/your other stuff.

 

For around $500, the Lightspeed Attenuator gets plenty of praise, but I'd be inclined to go with a used tube active preamp with minimal circuitry and letting the tubes do the work. Different tubes will let you tailor the sound for synergy with your other gear, and can be easily changed when you upgrade amp, speakers etc. Older Audio Research LS-7 (~$600) or recent Eastern Electric preamps(~$400-500) can both punch way about their weight class.

 

I agree with this, and though YMMV I found that passive preamps, as well as direct drive from a source component, to sound weak and thin with a narrower soundstage. I'm a big believer in an active pre and I also advocate tubes because tube rolling allows you to dial in the sound that you like.

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B&K Preamp specs.png

Correct, there is no display for volume level, many pres dont have this and alot of people dont care, I do.

Regarding Bass management, its pretty good for low pass (adjustment knob for Frequency) High pass is not adjustable. 80hz fixed.

There is a subwoofer level knob on the front which is nice, however again no readout so no repeatability if that matters....

Over all a good sounding pre with some nice Bass management features. hope this helps:)

Maybe I ask the question the wrong way but for the sake of this old brain. When you say "no lebel display" are your talking about Balance Left and Right or basic volume. Because my B&K has nothing except volume and the bass in the specs, see attachment.

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Schiit Audio, Headphone amps and DACs made in USA. that will at a minimum cost let you know if a passive is simpatico w/your other stuff.

 

For around $500, the Lightspeed Attenuator gets plenty of praise, but I'd be inclined to go with a used tube active preamp with minimal circuitry and letting the tubes do the work. Different tubes will let you tailor the sound for synergy with your other gear, and can be easily changed when you upgrade amp, speakers etc. Older Audio Research LS-7 (~$600) or recent Eastern Electric preamps(~$400-500) can both punch way about their weight class.

Can't seem to find the Eastern Electric preamps for less than 1000,00. Please direct me.

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[ATTACH=CONFIG]24595[/ATTACH]

Maybe I ask the question the wrong way but for the sake of this old brain. When you say "no lebel display" are your talking about Balance Left and Right or basic volume. Because my B&K has nothing except volume and the bass in the specs, see attachment.

 

 

Basic volume. There are a few reference dots.

MacMini > Audirvana Plus > Musical Fidelity V Dac 2 >

Emotiva XSP-1 > Emotiva XPA-2 Gen 2 > Ascend Sierra Towers NRT >

Rythmik F12SE > :)

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Basic volume. There are a few reference dots.

Thanks but that sounds to me like a less advanced product than my old B&K that show the -dB I'm at in volume. Just wondering for 600 bucks am I getting a better preamp than my old B&K? I realize thats a tough question for you guys to answer.

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"Thanks but that sounds to me like a less advanced product than my old B&K that show the -dB I'm at in volume."

 

The volume display has nothing to do with how advanced the preamp is. Its what's inside the box that counts.

 

"Just wondering for 600 bucks am I getting a better preamp than my old B&K? I realize thats a tough question for you guys to answer."

 

Its not a tough question for us to answer. We just can't answer it. This is a choice that you need to make on your own. You're the one who has to listen to your system, not us.

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The preamp us what usually holds most systems back. The reason is because its overlooked. People tend to focus on the "exciting" purchases like speakers and amps. The preamp is just as important as any component in the system. My personal view is that if you can't afford to get an exceptional active preamp, then don't use one. Nothing is wrong with the Parasound, but if the choice were mine, I would use a dac with a volume control or a passive preamp.

+1

The Parasound pre that was excellent was the PLD2000, if you can find one second hand...

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Can't seem to find the Eastern Electric preamps for less than 1000,00. Please direct me.

 

You've got to look at Audiogon new listings every day to catch them soon after they get listed. There's plenty out there, they turn up regularly.

Digital Source: Synology DS415+ NAS  and Small Green Computer SonicTransporter i5 Running Roon Core > Blue Jean Cable Cat6a >TP optical converter > Sonore OpticalRendu with Sonore LPS> Curious USB > Denafrips Pontus DAC

Analog Source: Dynavector XX2 mk2> Audiomods Series 5 silver arm > Sota Nova Series VI turntable w/Condor & Roadrunner motor controller/tachometer > Nagra BPS battery powered phono stage>

Both: BAT VK51SE preamp> Krell FPB300 power amp > Sound Lab A3 ESLs > > Custom room treatment > 50 yr. old ears(left-handed)

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"Thanks but that sounds to me like a less advanced product than my old B&K that show the -dB I'm at in volume."

 

The volume display has nothing to do with how advanced the preamp is. Its what's inside the box that counts.

 

"Just wondering for 600 bucks am I getting a better preamp than my old B&K? I realize thats a tough question for you guys to answer."

 

Its not a tough question for us to answer. We just can't answer it. This is a choice that you need to make on your own. You're the one who has to listen to your system, not us.

I sent an attached spec sheet of my B&K so you guys can't look at it compared to the Parasound 2100 classic and tell which is a superior to the other?

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I sent an attached spec sheet of my B&K so you guys can't look at it compared to the Parasound 2100 classic and tell which is a superior to the other?

 

No. If it were that simple, we could have just answered your question. There's no possible way to tell how a component like this will sound by looking at specs. If anyone tells you otherwise, they're lying. You need to listen to the Parasound and compare it to your B&K. To be clear, the Parasound will definitely work. I'm not saying that it won't function properly, because it will. You just need to listen to it in order to verify that it sounds better than what you already have.

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No. If it were that simple, we could have just answered your question. There's no possible way to tell how a component like this will sound by looking at specs. If anyone tells you otherwise, they're lying. You need to listen to the Parasound and compare it to your B&K. To be clear, the Parasound will definitely work. I'm not saying that it won't function properly, because it will. You just need to listen to it in order to verify that it sounds better than what you already have.

Thanks for the speedy reply. I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico with only one high end audio shop. I may move to Colorado next year but for now previewing hardware is not possible here. I should have mentioned that in the early posts. I just would hate to spend 600 buck and not have it sound any better.

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Thanks for the speedy reply. I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico with only one high end audio shop. I may move to Colorado next year but for now previewing hardware is not possible here. I should have mentioned that in the early posts. I just would hate to spend 600 buck and not have it sound any better.

 

A potential simple solution is rather than taking a chance on something you've never heard, wait until you either move to Colorado, or while you're in Colorado looking at places to move to, stop by audio stores.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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A potential simple solution is rather than taking a chance on something you've never heard, wait until you either move to Colorado, or while you're in Colorado looking at places to move to, stop by audio stores.

Correct, will do.

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Thanks for the speedy reply. I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico with only one high end audio shop. I may move to Colorado next year but for now previewing hardware is not possible here. I should have mentioned that in the early posts. I just would hate to spend 600 buck and not have it sound any better.

 

That was the exact reason for my post. Without a demo, its just a coin toss. I would hold off until after the move. There's a couple of good placed in CO. The best one is Audio Alternative in Fort Collins. Its a great store, and I've been there myself and bought stuff from him. You can also call The Cable Company and see what they can send you for demo. They're very good to deal with as well.

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