Awesome Knob Pre-Amp Recommendations

Strange request for recommendations.

Right now, I’m rocking an SMSL SU8 DAC to a Liquid Platinum for my headphone needs. However, I have a pair of powered monitors on my desk that I am currently using a JDS Labs Atom for as a pre-amp for those.

I love the Atom…I do. But the Knob is absolute shyt.

So, I want a knobby pre-amp.

Here is the problem…the knob must be on the front fascia as I slide this pre-amp into little slot in my stack. I’ve got MAX 1.5 inches of space. So, something awesome like an EL Amp with that knob isn’t possible.

The height of the Atom is perfect. The fact I can turn the amp off from the front fascia is important. The knob just sucks.

I was looking at getting another Magni (have owned before)…or the ifi Zen, but not being able to turn it off from the front fascia is a problem. Or, can I on these?

I currently own a Nobsound NS-05p…which is knobby goodness, but its too tall by about a half an inch. Plus, you can’t turn it off.

tl:dr –

Any Single Ended functionality is only a bonus and not required. Looking for a nice, slim (about 1.5 inch) pre-amp or amp with pre-amp option that you can also turn on/off from the front fascia that has a good knob. Don’t want to spend more than say…$150, but tbh, that better have some solid Single Ended capability. Would prefer in the hundred range.

Thanks in advance.

Have you thought about replacing the knob on the Atom? The current knob apparently pops off easily and can be replaced by many things from the knurled world.

I’ve tried with what I have available…haven’t been feeling it.

These are great.

Also available in many, many colors.

The Magni Heresy should be fine if left on, it runs pretty cool but I don’t recommend its knob… it has too much resistance, like it’s churning through molasses… unless that’s what a good knob is supposed to feel like?


Any thoughts?

tl;dr for you
I’m limited on space. I’ve got about 8 inches in width and 1.5-ish in height for a switcher or preamp feature to powered monitors. Currently using the Atom. Willing to keep it, for now, I just hate the volume knob, it it were metal and silver, I’d be in heaven. I guess I can find a knob, but whatever.

So far, looking at
(below are in silver to match the SMSL-SU8, which it’ll be sitting on top of)
Schiit SYS (no on/off, fits function)
Schiit Magni 3+ (on/off on back - sad face)
SMSL SAP12 (extremely slim line, but head-amp and on/off in front - any reputable reviews on the sound?)
ifi Zen Dac (but I’d have to buy a power supply…I don’t need the DAC feature)

Being an alternative head-amp to the LiquidPlatinum for some other headphones is cool, just not on the top of my list…there are just a ton of options in the $100 range. So, 50 for the SYS or 120 for something is no big deal if it comes with a fun headamp alternative to something I already have.

Have also looked at the Heresy, but just seems like a metal version of the Atom. Whats the point?

Thoughts? Anything come to mind?

I wanted the Asgard 3, but its just too big for the current set up.

1 input versus two, but 2.4 watts versus 1 watt. But I suspect your question was “Magni 3 vs Magni Heresy”, and… it’s just two different ways of doing the same amp. The insides are different but the specs are the same.

More of a comparison to the Atom that I already own. Black color way + analytical and clean.