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 ! 😎

128x128alaindexe

@r_f_sayles 

 

+1

I try and be helpful as possible and if I just can’t go along with the premises of the question, I’ll suggest something different. 

 

Something I don't understand...if GanF is the future of amplifiers...for a variety of reasons including the ability to get distortion close to zero and higher order distortion in a proportion so as to not cause the sound to be harsh...then why isn't GanF also the future of preamps.

Now granted that class a preamps use very little energy...but still, why not GanF in order to get the "best" distortion profile?

As for the OP's question...it's going to come down to a matter of trial and error to get the amp/preamp  combo that result in the sound that is the most pleasing...to your ears, in your room, with your speakers....and since the Aria has a preamp out, your starting point could be to use it as a preamp for whatever amp you decide to try...you may decide you like it as a preamp and decide to keep it.

 

 

@alaindexe 

I purchased a Belles Aria Signature preamp (from Johnny at Audio Connections) and very pleased with it. Connected to my older Belles MB-200 mono amps.

I built 3 Gan stereo amps from Gan Systems boards and a Starcrimson set of boards.

ASR had their typical reviews of Gan Amps which really has no listening / sound metrics. The Gan systems boards have the ability to turn off loop feedback and I preferred that vs the feedback even though it "technically" has a lesser spec.

I had several SS amps I owned at the time and sold all after getting the Gan amps. Gone are my Levinson 333, Burmester 956 and Telos 200. I kept 2, The Symphonic RG1 mk4 and a clone DartZeel.  

The Gan amps I have heard at shows as well as the ones I built all seem to have  a family sound. They have the atmospheric envelope that tubes get with low level detail clarity that tends to get lost with a lot of SS. The Gan amps are cool though, like a 6922 run with plenty of current vs the lushness of the 6sn7 octal tube family.

I have a DHT preamp based on the 201a which is not commercial but if I were going to get a commercial preamp for the Gan amps it would be a good 6SN7 based unit that has a bit of body. Dodd made awesome preamps w 6SN7's if you can find their Reference unit it is world class!

With your speakers and the clean lean Gan amp you are going to want a 6SN7 based preamp. If you had KEF's then a SS pre would be ok.

SPL Phonitor 2. Neutrality is it strength and it is a studio pre/headphone amp so it has none of the Audiophile bs markups. Best pre/headphone amp I have ever owned and I have chased the audio dragon for many years. Get one from Sweetwater and give it a try.