Goodwin's High End

High End Preamps

Aesthetix

 

Audio Research

Boulder

Constellation

 

 

 

EAR

 

Hegel

Linn

Linn

Nagra

Naim

Parasound

 

Simaudio Moon

 

Spectral Audio

About Preamplifiers

Which preamplifier is best for you? Here are some considerations:

Issue / Feature Recommendation
Sound Characteristics While all preamplifiers sound different, we have found general similarities among the preamplifiers made by a single manufacturer. Therefore, we suggest that you first audition preamplifiers from several different manufacturers. Perhaps you'll prefer the liquidity and soundstage presentation of the Audio Research tubed preamplifiers. Or for example, maybe the high-speed, high-resolution sound of Spectral preamplifiers will appeal to you. No product is perfect, and so in your selection process, you'll naturally gravitate towards products with the best performance in the areas that are most important to you. Be sure to listen for tonal balance, soundstage presentation, transparency, and dynamics, as well as whichever other performance characteristics are most important to you.
Balanced or Single Ended Preamplifier inputs and outputs are either single-ended (with RCA connectors) or balanced (with XLR connectors). Unless you have very long interconnects (over 30'), it is suggested that you use whichever type of cable your manufacturer or dealer recommends. Contrary to myth, balanced interconnects do not necessarily sound better. Some preamplifiers are specifically designed for balanced use (e.g. Audio Research or Boulder), and sound best with balanced cables. Most others offer balanced operation, but generally sound best with single ended cables (e.g. Spectral, Lamm, Classé, McCormack). Also, single ended interconnects generally cost less than the equivalent balanced interconnect.
Tubes or Solid State If you have decided that you favor the sonics of a tubed design, such as Audio Research, you should realize that any tubed equipment will have somewhat more maintenance than a solid state design. However, in the case of preamplifiers, the tubes last a long time (often about 5000 hours), and are relatively inexpensive to replace. (Tubes for amplifiers generally last at least 2000 hours, and are more costly to replace.)

If you choose Audio Research specifically, you are assured of a long term supply of the necessary tubes. Their designs only use readily available tubes, and they maintain an adequate inventory for future service needs. This may not be the case with other brands.

Integration with a Home Theater The majority of today's stereo preamplifiers can be integrated into a home theater, if desired. The left and right outputs of the surround sound processor can be routed through the stereo preamplifier, and then on to the amplifier and speakers. In this way, you have a 2 channel stereo system that is completely independent of your surround sound system. With today's technology, this is usually the highest performance configuration.

In addition, some stereo preamplifiers make this even easier. They provide a special input which bypasses the volume control. This means that to use the surround system, you merely select this special input. If your preamplifier does have this, then you'd also have to adjust the volume to some prearranged setting (such at 12 o'clock, for example).

Remote Control Some preamplifiers have them; some don't. If a remote control is very important to you, then eliminate non-remote control preamplifier from your consideration. If a remote is not vital, then we recommend that you set this consideration aside as you evaluate designs. You can then use the remote control capabilities of the preamplifiers that you are considering as a "tie breaker" in your selection process.
Mix and Match Brands or preamp and power amp?

If you have selected a preamplifier for its sonic merits, you will generally find similar merits in that same manufacturer's power amplifiers. However, you may find that another brand of amplifier has sonic characteristics that you favor. Feel free to choose whichever brand and model you prefer. The one exception to this is Spectral, as certain models of Spectral power amp need to be mated with a Spectral preamp. However any Spectral preamp can drive any brand of power amp (details). Note that some amplifiers sound best when used with their balanced inputs. For these, you'll want to be sure to use a preamplifier with balanced outputs.

 


Aesthetix

Aesthetix makes high performance tube phono and line stage preamplifiers.

Note: We no longer have these on demonstration.

 

 


Aesthetix Phono Preamplifiers

 


Arcam

Arcam C31 preampArcam makes high-value audio and home theater components. The C31 preamp is featured at the left. Arcam equipment is available in black or silver.

Arcam makes digital componentspreamplifiers, surround sound processors, amplifiers, and tuners.

Local sales only


Arcam Preamplifier
 

 


Audio Research

Founded in 1969 by Bill Johnson, Audio Research is known as one of the oldest and most established high end audio component manufacturers. In 2008 Audio Research was acquired by Quadrivio SGR, a private-equity firm.

NOTE: While we carried Audio Research for many years, more recently our sales of Audio Research tailed off so we no longer have Audio Research products on display. However should you ever need your Audio Research component repaired you are welcome to give us a call at 781-893-9000.

 

Audio Research also makes digital components, amplifiers, and cables.


Boulder

Boulder 2010 stereo preamp with separate power supplyBoulder manufactures very high quality electronics. They are powerful yet graceful, dynamic and well-controlled. The 2010 stereo preamp with separate power supply is pictured at the left.

Boulder also makes digital components, amplifiers, and surround sound processor.


 
Boulder 800 Series Preamplifier
Boulder 810 Preamplifier. $Call.
Boulder 1000 Series Preamplifiers
Boulder 1010 Preamplifier. $Call.
Line level analog preamplifier with phono section.
Boulder 1012 DAC / preamplifier. $Call.
Combination stereo preamplifier with built-in 24 bit, 192kHz DACs and a phono section.
Boulder 2000 Series Preamplifiers
Boulder 2008 phono section. $Call.
State of the art phono with three balanced phono inputs.
Equalization cards for Columbia, EMI, or FFRR. $1000/pair/equalization
Boulder 2110 preamplifier. $Call.


Constellation

Constellation manufactures very high quality electronics which are manufactured in the US. The Virgo II is pictured here.

Constellation also makes digital components and amplifiers


 


Linn

Linn makes three ranges of products: high performance audio/video products, including speakers, custom installation products which allow house-wide music, and one-box music or movie components.. Within these ranges, Linn makes phono components, digital components, preamplifiers, amplifiers, speakers, surround sound processors, cables, and tuners. The Linn Klimax Kontrol is pictured at the left.

 

Linn Phono Section Preamplifiers
Linn Linto direct-coupled moving coil phono section. Black or silver. $Call.
Linn Preamplifiers
Linn Majik Kontrol preamplifier with moving magnet phono. Black or silver. $Call.
Linn Klimax Kontrol reference preamplifier. Silver. $Call.
Linn Multi-Channel Preamplifiers
Linn Akurate Kontrol stereo & multi-channel digital & analog preamplifier. MM/MC phono stage. Black or silver. $Call.

 


Nagra

Nagra makes digital components, pre-amplifiers, and amplifiers. The Nagra PL-L preamp is pictured at the left.

Local sales only

 


Nagra Preamplifiers
Nagra PL-L line-level tube preamp with remote. $Call.
PL-L balanced option. $Call.

PLL-RC Remote control kit for PL-L. $Call.

PL-L Replacement Tube Kit. $Call.

Nagra PL-P tube preamp with phono. $Call.
PLP-ACC Battery kit for PL-P. $Call.

PL-P Replacement Tube Kit (Complete). $Call.

PL-P Replacement Tube Kit (Line-Level). $Call.

Nagra Phono Preamplifiers
Nagra BPS phono preamp. $Call.
Nagra VPS tube phono preamp w/ one MC input card and cartridge loading kit. $Call.

Additional MM input for Nagra VPS phono stage. $Call.

Additional MC input for Nagra VPS phono stage. $Call.

VPS Replacement Tube Kit. $Call.

 


Naim

Naim 552 preamp & power supplyNaim produces an exceptionally broad range of products, all featuring a full harmonically complex sound. Their line includes phono components, digital components, preamplifiers, amplifiers, integrated amplifiers, speakers, electronic crossovers, surround sound processors, multi-channel power amps, DVD/CD players, headphone amps, separate power supplies, digital hard drive/disk players, tuners, cables, and equipment stands.

The Naim 552 preamp and power supply are pictured.


Naim Preamplifiers
Naim NAC122x 00-002-0014 Six input preamplifier. $Call.
Naim NAC202 00-002-0003 Six input preamplifier. $Call.
Naim NAC282 + NAPSC2 00-002-0006 Six input preamplifier with NAPSC2 power supply. $Call.
Naim NAC252 00-002-0004 Six input preamplifier (includes interconnects for SUPERCAP2). $Call.
Naim NAC552 + 552PS 50-002-0001 Six input reference preamplifier w/ 552PS power supply with PowerLine. $Call.
Naim Phono Preamplifiers
Naim Stage-E phono pre. $Call.
Naim SuperLine reference phone stage. $Call.



Parasound

Parasound 2100  Parasound makes tuners, pre-amplifiers, surround-sound processors, and amplifiers. The Parasound Z-Series of components is pictured at the left.


Parasound Preamplifiers
Parasound Zphono Phono preamplifier. $Call.
Parasound Zpre2 Audio/Video Preamplifier. $Call.
Parasound 2100 stereo preamplifier. $Call.
Parasound Halo P7 stereo preamplifier. $Call.

 


Simaudio

Simaudio makes the Moon, Evolution, and Neo lines of electronics. The Evolution Series 850P Reference Line-Stage is shown here.

Simaudio also makes digital components, pre-amplifiers, amplifiers, surround processors, and power conditioners.

 


Simaudio Preamplifiers
 

 


Spectral Audio

Founded in 1977, Spectral is one of the most respected names in high end audio today. Notably, to this day Spectral is still run and actively managed by founder Richard Fryer. He along with head designer Keith Johnson have devoted decades of their life to bringing Spectral components to a very high level of refinement. Spectral manufactures digital components, pre-amplifiers, and amplifiers in Sunnyvale, California.

Spectral makes astonishingly transparent, uncolored, detailed, smooth sounding preamplifiers. With very low output impedance and stability out to radio frequencies, these preamplifiers are fully capable of properly driving Spectral's wide-bandwidth power amplifiers. In addition, you can use a Spectral preamplifier with any other brand of amplifier and it will drive it with total aplomb. The DMC-30SS series 2 line preamplifier is shown here.

Spectral pricing is available by contacting us directly.

Spectral Preamplifiers
Spectral DMC-15SS manual control preamplifier. $Call.
Single-ended inputs and outputs.
Spectral DMC-30SS Series 2 remote control preamplifier. $Call.
Single-ended and balanced line output; unity gain bypass mode

 

   
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