I am in the market for a good preamplifier, two channel with phono. Budget of around $900. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Hi Russ. Sorry you haven't had an answer before this. I know of two new preamps that fit your budget:
NAD - C-165 BEE- Stereo Preamplifier
Parasound - Halo P3 Balanced Preamplifier
Audio Advisor is a reputable on-line source, but you might be able to find a better price elsewhere.
If you're looking for a used preamp, try Audiogon:
Thanks for the info, I am currently looking at those two preamps.
If I had that kind of money for my preamp budget, I would be looking for a good used Audio Research SP16.
If you can find one in that price range, you will have a lot more preamp than anything you can buy new, and Audio Research stuff is usually like new when you buy it used, in most cases. It is also incredibly reliable.
If you definitely want new equipment, one problem is that there are no preamps that I know of under $2000 that have a decent phono stage built in. The phono stage in less expensive preamps seems to be "tossed in" as an afterthought, in most cases; they don't give you much.
The only thing I would consider, in that case, would be the Vincent Line stage SA-31 preamp ($600) combined with a separate phono stage. The Music Hall PA 1.2 phono preamp is only $150 and might be a good one to try to start with; the Vincent PHO-111 is also a possibility at the same price.
The Vincent is incredibly good for its price (Editor's Choice for 2008 in The Absolute Sound), and if you go with it you can go with any of the phono stages that are available in the $100-$300 range; there are several good ones. See the Recommended Components listing.
You get more flexibility if you go with a separate phono stage. Why pay extra for a phono stage built into the preamp, when it is crap anyway? They all are, if you buy a preamp under $1500.
P.S.- I think the Parasound P3 sounds very mediocre; there are many better choices (and the A23 amplifier, which I listened to for a few days, sounds absolutely awful...yeccccch!).
Another that I suggest you consider would be the Rotel RC1580. The phono section in that pre-amp is much better than you might imagine you'd get for the price.
Thanks, you gave me some new ideas, will look at them.
If you pay attention to the text in the given MFA adverts the owners of the gear keep it for a looooooonngg time..and if they have to sell it they are in tears or near to tears..or..they are forced to sell. Some are even confused and tell you that they think they should not be selling the gear.
There is a reason for that. The MFA gear is excellent. Exceedingly musical.