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Preamplifier Recommendation Sought

franspambot

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#1
Hello all,

I am fortunate enough to be purchasing a Benchmark AHB2 amplifier soon and was wondering what preamplifiers people recommend to accompany it. I have a couple of DACs, including a Hegel HD12, but I also want to connect my Manley Chinook phono stage to the system. Thus, it seems that I still need a preamplifier.

So what pairs well with the Benchmark? I realize that it has to be up to a certain spec to make the Benchmark worth it. Any recommendations would be welcome.

Thank you.
 
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Willem

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#4
If you already have a good DAC with volume control you do not need a pre amp. If it does not have an analogue input you can just use a Pro-ject phono ebox optical phono preamp with optical output. I am very happy with mine into an rme ADI-2 DAC.
 
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franspambot

franspambot

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Thread Starter #5
Thank you for the responses. I can't believe I didn't realize that Benchmark made a pre-amp. I just thought it was a headphone amp and never looked at it. The Atom is an interesting option because of the price. I'm wondering if its output impedence would be problematic, but this would be a great piece to get even if it is to experiment. If I am only using it for the use of my phono preamp, it might be a no-brainer. As far as the pro-ject, I am not sure if it would mean chaining up two phono preamps together. I could never get rid of the Chinook and its tubey-ness.
 
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#7
I got a DAC3L/AHB2 combo. It is great with the DAC3 not just because the DAC3 is an incredible DAC, but it also functions as a fully featured pre-amp with two analog inputs. I run my turntable and an old gaming console through it. Another bonus with the DAC3 is that it has 2 x optical and 2 x coaxial digital inputs. Most DACs only have one of each. It's USB input can operate as USB audio 1 or 2 for maximum compatibility. It also has a remote option and trigger capabilities to power on/off the amp.

Totally worth it once you factor in all the features and functions of the combo after it's stellar audio performance.
 

Willem

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#8
The Dac3 would still need a phono pre amp to amplify and equalize the cartridge output to the line level and flat response of the input.
Personally I am deeply suspicious of tubes or vinyl for undistorted and accurate sound.
 
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#10
Personally I am deeply suspicious of tubes or vinyl for undistorted and accurate sound.
I done some of my own comparisons of vinyl records and their digital counterparts. I concluded the vinyls were the same sound with additional audible noise all around.

But the best reason to have a turntable is access to music not available on digital. People get so caught up in the analog vs digital audiophile debate that they forget their is actual music to be heard. I got some vinyls from my dad which there are no digital copies of and the vinyl is the only way to listen to it. Because of that, I wll always keep a turntable around in case I come accross something not available in digital.
 

FrantzM

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#11
I done some of my own comparisons of vinyl records and their digital counterparts. I concluded the vinyls were the same sound with additional audible noise all around.

But the best reason to have a turntable is access to music not available on digital. People get so caught up in the analog vs digital audiophile debate that they forget their is actual music to be heard. I got some vinyls from my dad which there are no digital copies of and the vinyl is the only way to listen to it. Because of that, I will always keep a turntable around in case I come across something not available in digital.
I am in the same position and have a vinyl rig which I have not used much. I wonder if there is out there a phono stage that performs its RIAA processing in digital à la Devialet. Would be an interesting feature. Problem is, many (most?) Vinyl fans see digital processing as an abomination thus the market for such a product could be quite limited ... Oh! Well ...
 
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Willem

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#12
I still have a turntable because my family insisted I keep it to play some old lp's, and because I admit that I have a soft spot for the superb mechanical engineering of the SME 3009 arm. I just like looking at it. When I upgraded my front end by replacing the Quad 33 pre amp with an RME ADI-2 I lost the analogue MM input (and gained rather better sound quality). So I bought the Pro-ject phono pre amp with digital (and analogue) output. Of course it does the RIAA equalization, but I have no idea if it does it in the analogue or the digital domain (probably in analogue because it also has a line output). And of course using it into my ADI-2 involves a double conversion, from analogue to digital and back, but I am not concerned because such conversions tend to measure far better than any vinyl rig and should be completely transparent (the ADI-2 is certainly sonically perfect, and the Pro-ject almost certainly). I hear no obvious sonic defects other than the inherent weaknesses of vinyl compared to digital. To be honest, it is only rarely used.
 

BDWoody

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#13
I am in the same position and I have a Vinyl rig, a few years back... I haven't used it for a while. I wonder if there is out there a phono stage that performs its RIAA processing in digital à la Devialet. Would be an interesting feature. Problem is, many (most?) Vinyl fans see digital processing as an abomination thus the market for such a product could be quite limited ... Oh! Well ...
The Puffin is a digital phono preamp. Much cheaper than the Devialet...
 
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franspambot

franspambot

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Thread Starter #15
The Dac3 would still need a phono pre amp to amplify and equalize the cartridge output to the line level and flat response of the input.
Personally I am deeply suspicious of tubes or vinyl for undistorted and accurate sound.
I would be using my phono stage (the Manley Chinook), so his recommendation is solid. I understand the criticism of tubes, but I very much enjoy the sound of that phono stage with my turntable. Manley is like Benchmark in that it makes fully professional equipment, so the Chinook is as nice as tube amplifiers get. Still, that part of my system is my guilty pleasure. And everything about it is guilty! I fully acknowledge this. Vinyl sucks! I predominately stream, so I take that aspect more "seriously" (lol), but I have too many records to ignore! What's a dream system without a little bit of fun?
 
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