Looking for preamp recommendation

I am getting Pass Labs x250.8 soon. I would like to mate it with a tube preamp. I prefer the preamp to have a phono stage built in and balanced in / output.

I have always liked the way McIntosh C22 mkV looks. Do you think it would work well with the amp? My budget would be $5K to $8K USD.




A simple answer, would be to start looking for a Pass Labs preamp. As a general rule, companies design their products that play well with each other.

All the best.

Unless you’re very limited on shelf space I wouldn’t limit myself to a preamp with a phono stage especially at the level of your Pass. An older Audio Research Reference preamp or a ModWright LS 36.5 would be a good place to start. You could probably pick up a ModWright PH 9.0 and be  in your budget. There’s a used LS 36.5 DM on here or TMR. ModWright LS 100 can be had with the built in phono if that’s a must. Not a big fan of McIntosh, just not my flavor.

I owned Pass amps for decades and the best match was Audio Research preamps. The Phonostage is as important as the preamp and is best in a separate box… Audio Research also makes some of the finest.

I have also owned Pass preamps. I highly recommend Audio Research. They are natural and musical. Highly recommended. My systems are shown under my UserID. The longer I listened to music and appreciated the natural beauty of it, the more I was drawn to ARC.