Best Full-Function Preamplifier

Consulting the collective wisdom on the best preamp with built in phonostage (MM/MC). DAC not required but OK if it has one. Below $20K retail. Must be a no compromise solution--outstanding linestage and a flexible, great sounding phonostage that would not make you wish you had separates. Thoughts?


There is only one preamp with built-in phono that I would consider, Atma-Sphere MP-1, in the no compromise category you’re looking for.  I was on the phone with the owner, Ralph Karsten, just last week, he normally picks up, trouble shooting some tubes.  You’d be hard pressed to find a better company, products or person to deal with.  I own two of their components and about to buy a third.  Highly recommended.  

Its getting a bit old, but it is still in production and a great sounding Preamp...

SST Ambrosia 2000..... Is full function... True Balanced, single ended, world class phono and headphone stage, tone controls to boot. Yes, I’ve sat in front of it many times, it competes with the best. May not be your cup of tea, but anyone who has spent real time with it will tell you that its quality. 

It sounds like you are talking about the Classe Delta PRE.  It sounds amazing and has the perfect complement of features including a great phono stage.  I love mine and I threw the HDMI card in there to get ARC from my TV.  No complaints.  I’ve also had the Hattor passive line stage with tube buffer, the flagship Parasound, and the list goes on.  It’s no MSB, for example but what is?

How many turntables/tonearms will be used? Is one phono input acceptable or are 2 phono inputs required? What kind of cartridge? Mm/Mi or Mc?


Is adjustable gain per input required?


How many outputs are required? What kind of outputs, single ended or balanced?


More information would be required to provide reasonably accurate recommendations.

This is a little ridiculous. If you want reference level you should not either have a built-in phono stage or limit yourself to $20K. $20k would be enough for reference level power cord, maybe. I hope, I saved you a lot of money. Or exactly the opposite.