Preamp for a GaN-FET amp...

Hello everyone... I'm thinking of replacing my Belles Aria Integrated for a GaN-Fet amp. I would have preferred to purchase an integrated GaN-Fet, but they are either too expensive or of questionable quality. I therefore resign myself to opting for an amp/preamp combo. My question is the following :

Which preamp do you recommend for a GaN-Fet amp?

I haven't made my choice yet, but the only GaN-Fet amp within my reach is the Starkrimson (used). Please note that if I opt for GaN-Fet, it is to avoid tubes, so I would prefer a preamp WITHOUT tube (and not a class A).

My speakers are Altec 620A (100 db efficiency) and I mainly listen to digital sources through a Metrum DAC. I also sometimes listen to records on my Garrard 401... That's basically why I need a preamp.

Note: the Belles Aria Integrated is a superb machine with astonishing sound, but I'm looking for an amp whose midrange is as good as a tube. The Altec don't do any favors and they are a little harsh in the midrange, especially at high volume. For those who would like to understand what I am trying to express by "as good as a tube", I suggest you listen to this interview with Ralph Karsten who explains the limits of transistors much better than me.

Thank you ! 😎


I kind of went down the same path.  Moved from tubes to class D (AGD).  I had a Cary SLP-05 and found the combo to be wonderful in my room.  I tried running DAC (Bricasti M3 at the time) directly into amps and found missing a little life and soul.  Cary turned out to be the ticket for me.  

I found moving from the Belles Aria to the Aria Signature made a significant difference, since you do like the Belles...

What’s your budget for the preamp Z.

the most versatile is the Linear Tube Audio , if balanced using top Lundahl transformer retail$5800 but has 3-4 vacuum tube choices , and several gain settings.

I have a number of customers with one of these, I have only heard positive things:

Topping Pre90
Gustard X26

The amps have an input impedance of 44k, making them easy to drive with pretty much any pre-amp.