On the hunt for a non-tube preamp (or hybrid), long post...

Once again I am bitten by the bug and seek advice from the all-knowing.  

I decided to put together a non-tube setup, primarily to satisfy curiosity.  

Current gear

  1. Rogue Magnum Cronus III
  2. Erhard Audio Aretha (6SL7 preamp)
  3. Dynakit ST-35 (EL84 power amp)  
  4. Magnepan LRS+
  5. Omega Super3 High Output XRS Wide Baffle style (This exact one https://www.instagram.com/p/CinkR-KP5ot/)
  6. Chord Qutest
  7. iFi Zen Stream with iPower Elite power supply

So as you can see, I'm tube heavy at the moment and my main system is the Rogue through the LRS+.  I recently took part in the Orchard Audio trial of Leo's phenomenal Starkrimson® Stereo Ultra 2.0.  I paired it with my Erhard Aretha using XLR to RCA adapters and, not ideal, it still sounded clean, crisp and dynamic through the Magnepans.  I like the tube pre with the GaN transistors combo for sure. I think I want to go in the direction of full balanced XLR just for curiosity's sake.

My question: How about a preamp like the SST Ambrosia 2000 paired with a SST Son of Ampzilla II or maybe a Black Ice Audio F360 paired with a Class D amp of some sort (Bel Canto e.One REF600M, Orchard Audio Starkrimson, etc.)?  I'm not sure if the SST Ambrosia 2000 is still recommended over some of the other newer preamps from Pass Labs or similar, I just really like how it looks and I'm sure the synergy with the Son of Ampzilla II is a given.

I just want that punchy, textured sound from a higher watt/current system to drive my Magnepans.  Budget is around $5,000 and I'd likely have to sell a few things.  Just fishing for opinions - apologies if I rambled.  Thanks!


At this price level I’d shy away from balanced as truly fully-balanced gear ups the cost significantly.  I think an LTA preamp combined with a Bel Canto amp would be excellent. 


If you go with a cheaper LTA (MZ2) pre you could then go to an LSA or Peachtree GaN amp that I’m sure would sound sublime.  A side benefit of the LTA preamps is that they’re also outstanding headphone amps if you swing that way.  Anyway, just a few ideas FWIW.  Hope it helps, and best of luck in your quest. 


Thanks for the suggestions, I hadn't considered the LTA preamps even though I've been itching to try one of those for a while too.  That's interesting that you can use the LTA MZ2 as a regular preamp as well.  Appreciate the comments.


I purchased the Linear Tube Audio preamp a few months ago. Count me in their fan club. Right out of the box I was blown away by how good it is. I’ve been told by quite a few people that you have to spend in the $15K range to improve on it. It’s beautiful to look at too. 

I've heard a nice Magica setup with SPL Elector + SPL M1000. They look nice together. 

You can consider Plinius Kaitaki for pre-amp as well. 

Thanks Auroravengeance, I was looking at a SPL S1200 earlier.

Question:  Son of Ampzilla II vs Bel Canto e.One REF600M?  

Post removed