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Talk me out of buying an "audiophile" preamp - confirm/deny some myths/assumptions

zimberto

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#21
Don't do it, dude. Just don't do it. Invest the money in wine, women, and nasal Ajax. It's a myth that these all lead to damnation. Do that and thank me later.
 

jsrtheta

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#22
I owned a Bryston BP-25 preamp years ago. I wasn't particularly impressed. Well-built, for sure.

I heard an Ayre preamp some years ago. Couldn't afford it, though. Based solely on what I've read, I think the Ayre is the better-made preamp.
 

raindance

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#26
You're hoping to listen to recordings, right? Does every recording you own sound great? Nope! You need something with tone controls and some form of room correction. The high end eschews tone controls and then they can only listen to demo quality recordings and miss out on a whole lot of actual music.
 

Mnyb

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#28
Would not consider Ayre thier "design principles" contanins way to much voodoo (see their DAC's for example ) . Soo even if they manage to cooble together a working machine , to much resources are spent on basically nothing .
 

win

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#29
Would not consider Ayre thier "design principles" contanins way to much voodoo (see their DAC's for example ) . Soo even if they manage to cooble together a working machine , to much resources are spent on basically nothing .
I don't k ow much about them, but the problem is that if you want to make good money, you have to appeal to the gullible but loaded audiophile demographic. And they eat that shit up every time.
 

Feanor

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#30
I looked and may have had them confused with some other upmarket Canadian brand possibly Sonic Frontiers? Seems to me they were in some trouble a few years back.
Incidentally, yes, Sonic Frontiers went out of business quite a few years ago.

For a while I owned a Sonic Frontiers Line 1 preamp. I generally like it. It was fully balances and had high-end appearance and features. I sold it to go to a passive preamp. Reputedly the Sonic Frontiers' had a rather non-typical, solid state sound and I can vouch, (for what that's worth), that that is true.

Good service for Sonic Frontiers is still available from https://www.partsconnexion.com/ whose owner was one of the original Sonic Frontiers founders.
 

Kal Rubinson

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#31
I just tossed my system preamp. I run all my sources (all balanced and multichannel) through a 4way, 8channel, balanced switch and control volume/EQ in the digital sources. It is a great relief.
 

dfuller

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#32
I have never seen Bryston equipment in a studio or on a stage.
I have - 4Bs are relatively common for powering monitors, especially (for some reason) Yamaha NS10s.
 

CDMC

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#33
Don't do it, dude. Just don't do it. Invest the money in wine, women, and nasal Ajax. It's a myth that these all lead to damnation. Do that and thank me later.
I second this. If you insist you must have an analog preamp (I just sold mine and am not looking back), get the Schiit Freya S (solid state) or + (tube and solid state) for $599 or $899 and put the rest towards something else. The Schiit's both offer a passive mode with a ladder resistor volume control for the best balancing and least distortion. If you want the audio jewelry, buy the Bryston as it has a 20 year warranty and excellent construction, but keep in mind, the Bryston, just like the Schiit is designed to be a straight wire with gain.

If you really just want a euphonic preamp, go buy an older Conrad Johnson.
 

win

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#34
Since we are on the topic, I can't for the life of me hear a difference in the pure passive vs buffered output of the Schiit Freya+
 

Feanor

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#36
Since we are on the topic, I can't for the life of me hear a difference in the pure passive vs buffered output of the Schiit Freya+
I just bought a Freya + and am waiting for restocking at Schiit, (Aug. 07 they say). Maybe I'll be able to confirm or not. Lots of people say that passive loses some dynamics -- something I've noticed myself with other preamps and amps, (though others say it's just my imagination).
 

win

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#37
I just bought a Freya + and am waiting for restocking at Schiit, (Aug. 07 they say). Maybe I'll be able to confirm or not. Lots of people say that passive loses some dynamics -- something I've noticed myself with other preamps and amps, (though others say it's just my imagination).
Please let me know what you think when you get it
 

mhardy6647

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#38
Since we are on the topic, I can't for the life of me hear a difference in the pure passive vs buffered output of the Schiit Freya+
That's good, and (I would opine) it means:
1) the buffer is reasonably well designed and implemented.
2) you don't have any requirement for impedance matching 'twixt upstream and power amplifier.

and, further -- kinda, sorta, on topic -- I will repost something I posted Someplace Else recently vis-a-vis the related question "do I need an [active] preamplifier?" I think this is (again: kinda, sorta) applicable in the context of this thread, too. YMMV, though, as they say.

My "learnings" in preamps.
* Simplest is best
* Everything matters
* Power supplies are hard to get right
footnotes:
1) Nope, this isn't meant to be profound. :)
2) The third point was meant to apply to linear power supplies, but - since I know there are fans of SMPS here - I think it applies generically to the magic box that converts AC mains power to whatever DC supplies are required for the gizmo to operate decently and in good order. ;)
 

Wes

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#39
Or why not buy an Octo 8 and get a great 8 channel DAC with individually controllable gain for each channel as well as a master volume with USB and AES/EBU inputs, with a decent headphone amp thrown in? Would undoubtedly cost less than one of those "preamps", and looks pretty "Rolexy" in terms of cosmetics based on the pictures I've seen. And even if he doesn't think he wants of needs the extra channels now, who knows what the future might hold (7 channel surround via JRiver+Octo, or Octo as DAC for a 4 way active speaker system, or even Octo as Preamp for 16 Channel Atmos via two Octos + chaining them together which is part of their feature set).
Okto - with a K

this is the best advice, assuming you like the visual aesthetics and control functionality, which loom larger as SQ differences diminish with the newer gear
 
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