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Preamplifier with balanced outputs for active speakers and analog sources.

it9exm

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Dec 7, 2021
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Hello,
I am looking to get one of these modern preamplifiers with balanced outputs for connecting my Yamaha HS8 active speakers and replacing the Mackie 1202-VLZ4 which I am currently using with my turntable and dac.
My choice would be between the Freya S and the Gustard P26. My problem with such devices is that the former is too large (16 inches) has no display, and I don't need all those unbalanced inputs and outputs.
The latter is not performant the same way, (less dynamic range and shared input gain/unbalanced-balanced circuit) has 2 RCA outputs which are very distant on the rear panel, but it is smaller and does feature a display. Their price tag is the same, and that's not good for making a choice.
Is the Freya S still unrivaled? Are there any other options around 600$ or less, which feature the best of both devices?
I am currently happy with the sound of the Mackie, it's just not good for sitting in the equipped wall of a living room. (And I would also like a remote volume control)
 

Nordling

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Have you considered the Topping Pre90? Dynamic range is the best. Dimensions are the same as the Topping D90, topping DX7 pro, Topping A90. And it has a screen which can automatically switch off. Price is $600.
 
OP
I

it9exm

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I started considering it a few days after my 1st post, because it would perfectly stack with my Cambridge Audio 640P. I read all the review and noticed that crosstalk was measured for this device and compared to the Benchmark HPA4. It's perfectly acceptable, but why wasn't done the same for the Gustard P26 and the Freya S? Btw, I assume the results wouldn't be too far from it.


Another cool thing is that I can find the PRE90 from a reseller here in Italy for 600€.

But...

I also thought a lot about the cost of such products, and came to the conclusion that 600€ is really a lot of money for such a device, I mean, a lot of good audio interfaces are below that price range and they often offer you more. A lot of them also allow you to directly monitor whatever you plug to the line inputs without connecting to a pc. The MOTU M4 for ~270€ is just an example. The only downside is that you don't get a remote.

Another option would be getting an MBL6010D clone, the most famous is the one from breeze audio (the one with the silver enclosure, a single volume knob, a couple of small switches on the front panel, and two pairs of xlr/rca inputs and outputs on the back panel.)

It would be nice reading a review with the measurements for this product.

A smaller version of the same preamp should be easy to build. I have got this PCB a couple years ago and never populated it

https://it.aliexpress.com/item/1005001526808056.html

I just have to get the components and an enclosure, not sure how to tune the trimpots. Even in this case, no remote.
 

drewdawg999

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Dec 25, 2021
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Another option would be getting an MBL6010D clone, the most famous is the one from breeze audio (the one with the silver enclosure, a single volume knob, a couple of small switches on the front panel, and two pairs of xlr/rca inputs and outputs on the back panel.)

It would be nice reading a review with the measurements for this product.
Hey there, I checked out some of these MBL6010D clones and I must say I'm intrigued. I found Weiliang Audio's official store and this one grabbed my attention, the one with 4 RCA inputs, 1 XLR input, and 1 RCA output and 1 XLR output. It seems like it can convert from unbalanced input to balanced output, or am I wrong there? (I'm very new to this balanced XLR stuff.) If it can replicate the sound of the MBL unit, well then it's some positively evil Chi-Fi piece of kit! I think I want it now...

Either that or the FM Acoustics FM-255 Clone, seen here. This one looks quite evil as well. Costs more and faithful to the original, maybe this one's better? I'm only interested in a balanced preamp since I just bought a power amp with balanced input, the March Audio P502. Should arrive tomorrow and I will try first with RCA to XLR adapters. But these Chi-Fi clones are certainly affordable and give me something to think about. Wonder if they can actually sound better than my current preamp, a Rogue Metis (a tube preamp that I'm rather attached to).
 

Vict0r

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Maybe get something like the Motu you mentioned, but use a remote volume controller to control system volume instead of interface volume?
 
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