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 ! 😎


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.



The Topping pre90 is PIA to try because it has too much gain. It works with amps like the Parasound A21+ and Benchmark AHB2 which have adjustable GAIN. I ended up getting rid of it after it did not match with a lot of amps including the LSA Voyager 350 GAN.

The 2 preamps I recommend with all the GAN amps I have had and also all amps are the Holo Serene and Benchmark LA4. I also like the new Schitt Mjolnir (sp?). It is a headphone amp but also works perfectly in 2-channel. I have it setup as 2-channel but for for headphones. It has a Class A sound to it, unlike cleaner sounding Serene and LA4.

I did love what the Mjolnir does with the Class A Schitt Aegir amp into my phones. As a frame of reference, I feel the Mjolnir is way better than the Schitt Freya+ (I sold the Freya+).

The best GAN amp I have had and likely better than any GAN amp is the PeachTree GAN1. This piece is definitely leagues better than any GAN amp I have had, the PeachTree GAN400 and LSA Voyager 350 GAN, Now the stock version is not anything to shout about but get a $500 modded version from and you are in business.

No preamp, no DAC, no interconnects, no amp needed. It is all in the GAN1 but it only takes a SPDIF stream as input and has no volume control. Of course, this will work perfectly if you use the correct tools. The simplicity of this unit is what makes it something special, again I AM NOT TALKING STOCK.

Is fear of tubes a mental health issue? Tubeophobia? Saying you don't want a tube preamp but you want something that sounds like tubes seems like a paradox. Tubes get too hot? You like to shoot BB guns at your hifi rig? You need to change them out from time to time which adds a depressing new stress on modern life? A bout of cherophobia? (look it up) Most all high end preamps are Class A by the way, so that criteria may dissolve. Regarding tube replacement stress, my good ol' original version Schiit Freya has had the same quartet of NOS GE 6SN7GTB tubes for a couple of sign of lost fidelity, microphonics, or anything else to make me want to replace them.