New to Preamp - Preamp suggestion around 10k

Hello all! I am new to this site, and preamp. Thiss might be niche, but I am using a Stax headphone with its amp, which has a bypass function for external preamp. I am trying to add a slight bit of warmth, plus better dynamics and imaging.


Currently I have found some good ones (and available), from what I've seen on this site, as follows:

Rogue Audio RP-9

Cary SLP-05 (around 11k with the "ultimate upgrade")


I've also seen ARC Ref 6 suggested, but there seems to be a lack of sellers in my place. As for SLP-05, the distributor at my place said there was no demo, even for the standard version......which left me with RP-9 for audition. Would much appreciate your opinions on them, and any alternatives!


Thank you in advance!


Thank you everyone for your suggestions and elaborate reply! I feel so welcomed here <3 Very nice of you all!


I have been jotting down the names of these brands, and looking up where I can try all of them...seems Backert and ARC are rated pretty highly here!


@bdp24 I've come across EAR Yoshino too! Though if I don't use phono, is 912L still worthit, or 868L will be more good for buck?


@celtic66 I've actually used Luxman's DA-250 some time ago. It had great sound except a rather weak bass XD. Which model would you suggest? Given that their CL-1000 costs like 14k in my place lol


@optimize I would like to get into speakers one day as well. The prices of housing in my city is just crazy. We're talking about an average of 2k per sq. ft. and so. my room is just too small to create a good setup :P


@yoyoyaya I'm currently using Stax T-8000 amp and SR-009 (BK version if it make a difference). I've never tried out a BHSE due to lack of distributor, but T-8000 dtill delivered a good sound imo, good treble, vocal. Dynamic and bass was lacking a little, but improved (especially the bass) as I rolled some Telefunken CCA tubes. Currently a happy man, but just want to go even further by adding some sweetness and dynamic!


@mulveling hello! Your opinion on RP-9 here was part of why I got interested in this preamp! Fact that it could keep up with a Ref 6 SE (despite less warmth) was great! It must be nice to have a T2 as well, and I'm jealous haha. The reason I've been looking for a preamp is that, reportedly (in some local forums) the T-8000 would benefit much with a good preamp. In fact even when I was trying out T-8000 with BYPASS on, connected to a DAC/AMP combo (burson conductor 3), there was some improvement already. That gives me a high expectation on what a good, decidated preamp can do to this amp!


Again thanks all!

There's a used deHavilland ultraverve on USAM which is a steal and huge value. That's where I'd go.


Thanks, you forgot the part were I said that there is also a filter for headphones 🎧 😜😀

@cming0038: I don't believe there is a line-stage only version of the EAR 912, so the 868L would be the EAR to get. It has hookup connections you might like for your Stax-based system: a balanced input (via Tim de Paravicini's renown transformers, on XLR jacks), and two pair each of both balanced and single-ended outputs. Plus excellent sound quality via a pair of 7DJ8 tubes.

@cming0038 @bdp24

So far I’ve only owned the MC SUT’s by EAR (absolutely fantastic SUT’s), but I’ve long been curious about their other tube electronics. Especially their preamps and HP-4 headphone amp. I bet they’re fantastic. If I were to pick another brand to try on a whim, EAR would be atop my list, then Manley :)

Interesting, I didn’t realize the T-8000 had that feature. Must be a volume control bypass intended for DAC’s with a digital control. What you’re trying to achieve here seems reasonable!