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 ! 😎


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.

No mention made of what kind of sound is being sought so I am calling insufficient information to be able to make any recommendation. 

I have the Starkrimson and it's paired with a Holo pre. I really like it and I think it' may be as neutral sounding as you can get. A friend has the same amp and is using a Black Ice pre and he love's that as well. He's driving Cornwalls. Basically I think that if you get a good quality pre you should be ok.