There was an interesting twist in my quest for a class-a amp... I ended up with the Pass Labs XA30.5 power amp...
It is currently being driven by the pre out of the good old (actually new) m6i. Sound is incredible.. very similar to the ams35i with little less bass & coloring. Fantastic peace of gear! Price was same as the ams35i, but without traid in... so I kept the m6i and the pass for the same price. Now I will be looking to trade the m6i with a dedicated pre-amp.
Thanks forn your help.
I will be glad to get some pre amp recommendations at the same price range as the m6i.
If anyone is trying to locate one of these beauties, I noticed today that here is an ex demo silver one on the Unilet blue murder sale list.
£4199 sounds a lot more affordable to me than £5999 for some reason, if only I hadn't just bought a flat
Bedroom: Sonos ZP90, Cyrus DAC XP+, Cyrus X Power, KEF LS50's
Living Room: Linn Majik DS, Marantz UD7006, Arcam AV9/P7, PMC FB1i fronts, TB2i centre, DB1i rears
Why don't you avail of your own research?
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." André Gide
Glad you are happy.
You are right in that the weak link is the pre-amp.......If I come up with a suggestion, I'll let you know.
Are you looking for a tube pre, or does it not matter?
I am open to any suggestions regarding pre amps, both tubes and solid states are ok, as long as sound will be goooood and price will be more or less like the m6i...
Here is a possibility - JE Audio VL20: http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/jeaudio2/prepower.html
and maybe another here - Raysonic C200: http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/raysonic3/quartet_3.html
Nice try Cno, but the timings just not right, plus its still too rich for me.
more likely when the price comes down in a few years on the second hand market (he says hopefully ?!)
It will become a rare classic.....and the price will go up!
Please tell me this isn't your pension plan Cno lol
PENSION PLAN!.......it nearly go me shot!
I'm hoping to be in your position in a year or so. and for that reason I already began doing some research. surprisingly the search is over for me already. I'm pretty much sold on a passive transformer preamp. if you, like me, will only need means to change sources and adjust volume then I'd recommend that solution for you too. check out Music First Audio Classic pre-amp or Townshend Audio Allegri pre, just to name a couple. The Allegri is slightly cheaper than the Classic in Version 2 but the Classic runs on true transformers rather than on outoformers. true transformers have a benefit of organically isolating sources from power amp (the transformer will break any possible ground loops). I think I'd rather go for the Music First personally.
I don't know how techy you are but from what I read it seems transformer base preamp is the best solution ever conceived. since it's passive there's no problems with electric noise. THD is totally inconsequential. frequency response is totally flat and extends far beyond audible spectrum. and transformer preamps have this uncanny property that they impedance match source to power amp which means you get full drive even at the lowest volume levels. resistor based passive preamps, while often much cheaper, have this disadvantage that on low volume levels you loose out on dynamic information in musical signal and also you get high frequency roll off due to raising output impedance, as seen by the power amp, because of high value resistor in signal path. transformer volume control on the other hand literally "helps" to pass signal on lower volume levels by raising input impedance as seen by source and lowering output impedance as seen by power amp. which means dynamic contrast is preserved even on low volume levels and you can run very long interconnects without worry, if you need to.
what are the benefits of all that technology? unmatched transparency and ability to convey dynamic contrasts as they appear. in other words - realism. if that's high on your priority lists then you should check out some transformer volume controls. you could also check some user reviews and pro reviews. this always is a good starting point to get the idea if the technology is worth researching in.
if a perfect amp is supposed to be the mythical straight wire with gain then shouldn't the perfect pre amp be straight wire with attenuation? TVC is exactly that.
Giro, InTheGroove, Digit, ClassicOne, MG12
Seems like an interesting option.
I will definitely check it out. It happens thay the same Luxman dealer is the Music First distributor around here. So I will check with him soon.
I was reading a little about passive pre amps and I liked the idea of minimalism..just wire with a volume control. Question is whether these kind of pre-amplifications can handle less-than-perfect source quality. Not sure what to expect when combined with M1 DAC.
just to dispel some possible confusion here; TVC (transformer Volume Control) is not a volume control in conventional meaning of the word. because a TVC is just a wire which hands out the signal to another wire while voltage to current conversion happens (this is partly the reason why TVC can easily drive long cables and conventional passive preamps of resistor pot-in-a-box type can't). there's no resistors, capacitors, inductors, tubes, transistors, op-amps or anything else in the path. just wound wire.
can it handle less-than-perfect source quality? it depends on what you mean by that. if you're not so happy about SQ from your M1 Dac then a passive TVC preamp will do little to ameliorate this. since it's just a wire there's no room for any colouration. just passing on the signal, albeit with lowered scale, further to the amp. however, if you wonder if M1 Dac would supply enough scale to drive your amp to its full potential then you have nothing to worry about. M1 Dac outputs 2V RMS and output impedance is very low and fluctuates from 49 Ohms to 79 Ohms over frequency spectrum for RCA outputs and these values double for XLRs (check measurements on Stereophile review FYI). your Pass amp has input voltage sensitivity of 0.77V which means it will reach its full power when fed a signal of only 0.77V. input impedance, however, is not very high, just 20 KOhms, but this is high enough not to exhibit any high frequency roll off in audible range when fed from a source of output impedance as low as in case of your your M1 Dac. so you can see the outout from M1 Dac will only need to be reduced. there's no need for any active preamplification in between your Dac and the amp. or in other words your Dac has good enough preamp, albeit with no volume control, to drive power amp directly. that's the reason why a passive preamp is not a missed idea. and a TVC preamp interacts with the rest of your gear with no interference compared to a resistor based preamp and brings in no nasties (THD, noise) compared to active preamp lot.
Thanks for the detailed response and checking the exact parameters relevamt to my equipment.
I will definitely check it out and update when I have some results.
This is great,
Mute - this may have got burried (in case you missed it).
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