Looking for a tube preamp with phono stage (if possible) to warm up my class D speaker amp (XTZ edge-a2-300).
Was hoping there are some sub $1000 options since there seem to be so many tube headphone amps in that range. Been looking at some used audiophile-y options like Conrad Johnson but was thinking maybe there are some other more obscure stuff that I might be overlooking.
Noticed that the Schitt Lyr3 actually has a phono stage option but not sure how it works as a speaker pre and it’s primarily a headphone amp.
Yeah you should have many options if you look used around that price range. I think personally I would get a tube preamp and a standalone phono stage for more flexibility (that you would connect to the preamp).
If you wanted something from schiit, the saga + is pretty nice, and also allows you to use the tube or not with a passive mode if you want to bypass the tube.
I personally wouldn’t spend more than 500 all in on the preamp and phono pre with the power amp that you have imo
The other option is to look at some older/vintage tube preamps.
I run a Melos pre-amp on my stereo set up, but there are a lot of well regarded tube pre-amps many of which with decent phono stages that are still very good.
It’s not like tube amp design has changed much in the last 40 years.
From my understanding, the Saga +, doesn’t really sound too tube-y due to the circuitry. Maybe the Freya+ but there’s something about that one I don’t love. I actually tried a $31 Tube-01 pre (Chinese) and it sounded pretty good, but the gain was too much and it was only the single input.
Not sure what you mean about the power amp. It has plenty of very clean, transparent power. I don’t actually see any way to improve on it. It drives my 4 ohm 86db fairly inefficient speakers really well. Much more so than the Rotel integrated I had prior to it (serving as a pre now). I feel like very high end power amps, unless you’re getting a vintage tube power amp, are kinda silly. I could certainly be wrong, but since poweramps are supposed to be pretty transparent, once you’ve achieved that and have adequate power, there doesn’t seem much to be gained by improving.
Most higher end tube electronics don’t sound the way people think, they are very refined and still neutral, but still have aspects of tubes. If you wanted something warm thick and sloppy you could grab one of those cheaper tube amps and run it through as a tube buffer
Here are going to be some more colored options in terms of a warmer tilted tube preamp (looking used here)
Yeah, I would say you want to look around the 800 and under range. Look for Audible Illusions, Audio Research, VTL, Aesthetix, BAT, these are some common brands that you might be able to find used in your price range (and of course there are many many more)
I’m actually only here to help out with the phono preamp or a suitable cartridge for the new preamp.
First of all I need to know some important data: current cratidge, tonearm, cable capacity?
The cheapest tube preamp that sounds decent is probably the Pro-Ject “Tube Box DS 2”.
But there are also transistor preamps like the “Essential PhonoStage” from Leema witch has a very warm and pleasant sound.
If you have found a high quality used tube preamp with limited phono input you we could look for a suitable cartridge. The market offers enough cartridge options for different capacitive loads, resistive loads and gain. There are amazing high output MCs for MM imputs out there these days.