another rookie question - preamp or or power amp

I have a decent integrated amp ("decent" - to my ears). SS, 50Watts to 8 Ohms. It  has a preamp output. 

I have been looking at used power amps and preamps in the 2-400 dollar range.  

For example: the Parasound 2125 power amp, the Parasound P3

This is an OR question. Which choice will yield a better improvement,

1) if I put a preamp before my integrated so the integrated acts as the power amp

or 2) if I use my integrated as a preamp to a power amp?

It's also a choice to sell my integrated and save up until I can buy both a power amp and a preamp, but obviously I am itching to try one of the above options. 

My room is 15x13 so I am not sure I need a big power amp (big: 100Watts?)




,,,what matters is the quality of the parts

True, but it’s worth noting that if you took the preamp section out of a good integrated amp, gave it it’s own power supply and enclosure, and used it to power the same amp, it would have some benefits over the integrated version of the same components.  How much of a difference that can be heard is another variable by itself, but there's definitely that potential.

There’s never a free lunch though...separates require a separate set of RCA connectors, which can introduce a new source for degradation if not done well. The good news is that it’s not hard to do a competent job of picking that cable.

Here’s a bit of a change in direction from what people are suggesting.


I would consider an Adcom GFA-545 power amp.


Inexpensive to buy. Well designed circuit. Big power supply. 

I picked one up so I could have a higher power amp on hand for driving my DIY speakers. All my other amps are below 30w.


For the couple of hundred bucks you’re gonna spend on it, it’ll provide a lot of joy.

I had 2 very good integrateds amps, the KRELL K-300i and the CODA CSiB, I went separates with CODA 07x + CODA #8 replacing the CSiB. I also went Benchmark LA4 + KRELL Duo 175XD replacing the KRELL K-300i.  While the integrated were very good and I was more than happy with them. The separates were much better to my ears and I will not go back to an integrated.

The only time I took a penalty going separates was going from a $7k RAAL VM-1a tube amp (with preamp) to a Schitt Mjolnir preamp ($1100) and Schiit Aegir amp ($800). If the VM-1a was 100/100 the Schitt stack on my headphones was 90-95/100. Very close for a lot less money. I am listening to them as I write this and it is a killer combo.

These days when I need some audio gear I always think about checking out Schitt to see if they have a solution. It will most likely sound very good and be cost effective.


Hey Gris,

Your question may already have answer.  Double check if the preamp in your integrated is always in the circuit.  Meaning,  if you put another preamp in the chain, it will still go through the preamp in the integrated.  My Hegel, for instance doesn’t have a dedicated preamp input and will run the external preamp through it’s preamp and then to the amplifier.

All the best.