Best Preamp and Amp combination, interesting finding!!!


Hi all,

Yesterday, I decided to conduct a very interesting experience using my amp and preamp combinations. In the interest of fair discussion and also avoiding brand war, please allow me to conceal the name of the amps and preamps, knowing that both amps and preamps came from the same manufactures. The combinations are as below: 

Combination 1 (C1): $3000 preamp + $1000 amp
Combination 2 (C2): $1000 preamp + $3000 amp.

I went back and forth between C1 and C2 several times with multiple people, using the same speakers and DAC. The volume of both C1 and C2 was adjusted to be equal using my Db meter. 
At the end of the experience, almost everyone including me prefers C1. Which is a higher-end preamp combined with the lower-end amp. 
I was surprised by that finding. I always thought that the amp has a greater impact to sound quality, but my experiment proved otherwise. If you have any similar experiences, please let me know. I would like to understand why it happens that way. Why the preamp has a greater impact on the overall sound quality comparing to the amp?
128x128viethluu
Hi viethluu,

So I agree with you regarding the preamp influence..

I have been involved by high end audio equipment since the beginning of the eigthies...

At that time the worldwide market niche and audiophiles education have established listening audioexperience reports within high end reviews..

We were talking about the value of the sources as priorities...

Pioneer like audioresearch , mark levinson or conrad jonhson have achieved numerous of preamp and their upgrade to improve subjective listening performance.

I remember of night comparison between Marklevinson Ml1, audioreseach  sp 6,sp 6a, sp6c  sp8 and sp 10 vs conrad jonhson premier two premier three ...and so on.

Basically there are complementatity or not...

Audioresearch design oriented with clarity, details and focus  and C0nradjohson appecied for aeration ,sounstage and natural treeble...these philosophie for each company has been maintened since the beginning..

The experience show that a link beetween a transistor amp linked with a tube preamp may be an advantage to combine the matter and weight of the note given by the pre to the bass acuracy of the transistor amp..

As a result it prooves far more difficult to bring into focus a good preamp vs an amp...it is a definite rule well known by the worldwide specialists..

To date ,preamp culture and know how has disepear since the input stage doesnot include anymore high range Phono MC and MM..

Marketing reasons to make savings have oriented the audio company to " simplify'" the design in bypassing preamp since high end is costly...

Vintage preamp unit like Conrad jonhson  Pv 10  a PV 11, Pv12A or premier series are among the best opportunity ta acquire universal preamp including phono or not..

Keep in mind that the hierarchie in hifi system is.

Source   

Preamp 

Amp

Loudspeaker.

Regards

Raymond
I always thought the same - that the amp is what makes the system sound better. After trying about 10 different preamps, ranging widely in price, I ended up loving my McIntosh C2300. With my speakers, I think it’s the part of the system that will never leave. 
So many logical answers fgit that data without fitting your conclusion. Three pop to mind:
1. Its a very good $1k amp and a so-so $3k amp2. You have impedance matching issues that one preamp solved and the other didn't3. the 1k amp solves a speaker match problem the 3k amp didn't (or vice-versa the 3k amp was less well matched, and apparently, speaker sensitive, which annoys me since it need not be so).
Just sayin'
Interesting finding though.


Honestly I did not pay attention what a preamp can do to the system, until I heard a Backert Rhumba, the sound stage irxploded ,it’s so big, and the whole system sounds amazing.Markr is the owner of that preamp.