Help! Finding a matching preamp to a amp Nuforce STA200

Dear all,

I am relative novice to the world of hifi, so please bear with me and my ignorance.

Earlier this week, while reading some good reviews of a SS power amp called ‘Nuforce STA200’ I landed up ordering one on ebay as I found a good deal on it. Haven’t received it yet. Expecting to receive it by the end of this month. Apparently this power amp is similar (not the same) to the ‘Job 225’ power amp. Also a well reviewed amp.

While waiting for my ST200 to arrive I have been looking for a complimenting/matching and reasonably priced (<$1000) second hand or new preamp to match this STA200 with. Ideally i would like a preamp with about 4 or 5 rca inputs and, if I could be greedy, a decent built in phono (mm/mc) and a good DAC. But these are not important as I have a seperate phono and DAC. Most important is to have a good sound quality match between the amp and preamp.

On reading more about the STA200 (after buying it) it turns out that it has a higher than normal ‘gain’ at 34.8db. I believe the normal gain for a power amp is in the region of 27db? Given the higher than normal gain of my ST200 what preamp do you good folks recommend? 

I found a second hand Rotel RC1580 preamp which is withing my budget. Also been looking at the Parasound P5

I would be very grateful if you folks could tell me if these preamp will work without any issues with my ‘higher’ than normal ‘gain’ power amp. I believe i should be worried about something thing called ‘noise’ issues. Also any thoughts on how these preamps will match/compliment the sonic qualities of the ST200 will be much appreciated.

Many thanks!
Hello, I have the STA-200 and gain is an issue. I have the Rogue RP-5 (tube) and ZU omen def speakers (101 db) that are really sensitive. Tube hiss is louder than normal. Since you say you are a novice, I suggest a solid state or passive preamp. 

Many good reviews of this preamp:

Plus all the Schiit audio preamps. 

Good luck
Thank you Aberyclark!! Nice to hear from you, as your review of the ST200 was one of the few I read that prompted me to buy the amp in the first place!:)

Thanks for the recommendation of the Nuforce HAP-100 and Schitt pre amps. I have looked at both online and I am particularly impressed by what the Schitt Freya has to offer and its reviews. I read somewhere that you too were considering adding the Freya to your ST200. Did you get around to doing it? Any idea how this combination would work/sound? Will I still have issues with the high ‘gain’ of the st200 with the Freya??

Once again, thank you!

The NuForce has TOO MUCH GAIN.  Even with my McCormack passive preamp with my normal listening I only turn it up to 8 o'clock. If I want to ROCK OUT, I may turn it up to 10 o'clock.  They need to knock out about 10 dB gain out of this amp. 
Look for a used Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE.  Works like a charm with that amp and has plenty of inputs and outputs.  Other passive options are from Hattor or Channel Island Audio. The Hattor's have to come from the EU while Channel Island is in California.

The input sensitivity is slightly under 0.5V. giving rise to the high gain. As other have said best used with a passive preamp. I would purchase a passive with two inputs and use your external phonostage and DAC. I use a Schiit SYS with my STA200. The SYS can be had for ~$60 new and shipped.
I’ve  used a Schiit Sys and a Freya, and both work well with my STA200.  OTOH, I don’t recommend it with the LTA MZ2 which seems to allow some noise through to more sensitive speakers, in particular the Klipsch RP600M’s.
Pass on the Parasound P5. Maybe the worst of the Halo line up.

Step up to the P7, or the newer P6 or even the Zpre.


I use the 3 input, 2 output, Luminous Audio Axiom, with Walker Mod, and, with remote, and it is absolutely, sonically, invisible. Yes, it is considerably more costly than the Schiit SYS ( which is great at the price ), but, it is, at a much higher level, of musical information and detail retrieval. It is also has a quieter background, when it comes to noise. You do not need an additional gain stage with the STA200. Just a reminder.....the STA200, was designed, with the intent of being driven, passively. Either, this scheme works for you, or it does not. Enjoy ! Stay safe everyone. Always, MrD.
I used a Schiit Saga with mine and it sounded great. A compromise between a Sys and Freya. 5 inputs