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?


I have previously owned the Macintosh C-2300 and C-50. both had excellent phono preamplifiers. They accommodated both moving magnet and moving coil cartridges. Loading could be adjusted from the listening position with the remote. The 2300 did not have a Dac built in, which was part of its charm. The C 50 had a decent DAC as well. Newer models like the C 2700 and C 53 have even better digital to analog converter’s. My best full-service preamplifier has been the Aesthetix Janus. it is away at Aesthetix being upgraded to the signature version. I am very much looking forward to getting it back.

Depends on your other equipment but the Pass XP-32 is my current favorite.  Pair that up with a good $2k phono amp and you are set.  

The Sutherland N1 preamplifier is the pinnacle of a full function preamplifier. They occasionally appear on the used market.  As its name implies: "all-in-one." 

Essential, Accuphase, Atmashpere, all good choices, great choices actually. 

I would advise you to look at the Supratek web site. I have what some would consider pretty close to a reference rig and use a Supratek preamp.