Preamp match for my First Watt F-7 amp.

Currently running the amp with my Quicksilver line stage preamplifier, I almost have to max out the volume to get decent sound.Any suggestions at around 1000k thx


I am on a preamp testing binge right now so my first question to you would be what kind of sound are you going for? My second question would be how handy are you and do you think you would want to build your own preamp? There is an active DIY community building various Nelson Pass/First Watt designs over at I have built Waynes Burning Amp 2018 Linestage (BA2018) as well as the Korg Nutube B1. The BA2018 has a very transparent, detailed, clear solid state kind of sound. Building it would require more effort since it doesn’t come as a kit. But the Korg Nutube B1 is available as a complete kit for $299 at As built the Korg B1 is quite good but if you follow the advice of various posters on the thread devoted to that build by upgrading to top notch film capacitors and beefing up the power capacitors you can have a truly excellent preamp for less than $500. The Korg is more of a tubey, warm, holographic soundstage kind of preamp. It is a very easy build and the results are excellent. Both the BA2018 and the Korg Nutube B1 provide about 16 dB of gain.

Of course if you are looking for a more flexible preamp that supports multiple inputs with balanced as well as XLR ins and outs and a remote you would be hard pressed to do better than the Schiit Freya +. Sound quality is good but not quite top notch and it is right around your $1000 price point. It offers 12 dB of gain in tube mode.


what is the sensitivity and impedance of your speakers?  At 20w@8ohm/30w@4ohm the F7 will be a problem with low sensitivity speakers, or perhaps speakers with 16ohm impedance. 

The ones I had with my F7 were the Manley Shrimp (tube pre with low output impedance), Wyred4Sound STP-SE stage 2 (mostly no gain), and DIY Pass B1 (no gain). I wish I’d had the eastern electric minimax or LTA MZ2 I have now, I think those would have been my favorites, with the wyred and shrimp coming next (but it’s all system-dependent! I have Devore Nines speakers, at 91db FYI).

thanks for your suggestions My speakers  areTriangle Bro-3 ,90db 8 ohms my sources are David Hafler tuner,Nakamichi cassette deck and a Audiolab 6000n streamer

With 90db speakers the 18db gain from the Quicksilver line stage should be more than enough to drive the First Watt amp as loud as you can stand.  I suggest you check your connections especially the output level on the Audiolab streamer.