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 ! 😎


after reading a lot on the subject, I have come to certain conclusions:

- some amps using Pascal modules are considered among the best; in other words, it’s not just a matter of Gan-Fet technology, even if it seems to be the most promising one;

- since I bought my Belles Aria Integrated to avoid tubes, it would be illogical to go for a class D amp and add a tube preamp;

- some manufacturers seem to use Gan-Fet for marketing purposes rather than for its technical possibilities;

- there seems to be a reliability issue with the Starkrimson mono;

- if it’s possible to plug a DAC directly into a class D amp, why not add a passive preamp in order to have more than one source?

In other words, I haven’t made up my mind. I’m hesitating between buying an amp and a passive preamp or waiting for the arrival of a class D integrated that meets my expectations...

@alaindexe You state there is reliability issues with the Starkrimson mono's, care to share? I haven't heard or read of any issues.

You state there is reliability issues with the Starkrimson mono's, care to share? I haven't heard or read of any issues.

@evank : I've seen this problem reported by two different users... I think it has to do with the power supply but I'm not sure... this guys explains in details what could be an issue here.


The amplifier are very reliable when used properly. You can see the instructions on my website. I have been selling these since 2018 so many amps have been in serivice for 5+ years now.

Regarding your other questions, you can plug a dac directly into the amp. As a matter of fact this is what I recommend customers do unless they need a preamp for other functions like input switching.