View Full Version : Budget Preamp w/Built-In MC Stage?


winegasman
02-22-2006, 04:56 PM
Greetings and thanks in advance for all thoughtful opinions! I'm putting together a new 2-channel system and now need a preamp to complete the package. The primary source will be a Thorens TD-320 with Denon DL-103R; I'll play CDs as well, but the line stage capability of the preamp will not be as important as the phono stage. The power amp will be an ATI 1502, which will put out about 220 wpc into the 4-ohm GMA Continuum-1's I picked up on a'gon. (Actually picked up the ATI there as well!)

Now my budget is $250-300, which I know is tiny and inconsequential, but, well, that's it for now, so my choice is likely to be limited to vintage solid state. Some of you audiokarma guys have convinced me to consider one of the older Yamaha preamps in the C and CX series. The other model I've read good things about is the B&K Pro-10MC.

Has anyone heard these units and have thoughts about how they compare? Are there other candidates I should know about? Over at a'gon someone has recommended a Nakamichi CA-5 and someone else has recommended an Adcom GFP-555. I just want the best MC sound possible within my budget. I'd love a tube unit, but that's not happening within my budget. I don't care whether it has a remote or not -- I'm looking purely for the best phono sound possible in a single-full-function preamp.

Thanks for all help, Rich

robottawa
02-22-2006, 05:23 PM
How about an Apt Holman? MM and MC that are adjustable to suit different cartridges. I like mine.

Yamaha B-2
02-22-2006, 05:53 PM
Welcome to AK. Vintage Yamaha preamps (C-2/2a/2x/80/70/85/65) all have terrific MC phono stages and are very high quality. Prices range from under $100 for the C-65 to several 100$$. People will buy them and use only as a phono stage as they are not remote capable. The newer Yamaha preamps (CX-1000/800/1/2) are all remote capable and also have terrific MC phono stages. Prices generally range from $2-600. Here is a thread that covers same. http://audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=60395&highlight=C-2x

Wornears
02-22-2006, 06:07 PM
I'd second the Yamaha pre-amp family. I just bought a cosmetically challenged, but sonically and functionally excellent Yammie C-60 from the original owner on the auction site with no name for $38, including shipping. That's "budget." It has MC stage at two settings (1 X ohm, and 1000). Yamaha phono stages are very clean.

winegasman
02-23-2006, 12:52 AM
Thanks guys. Yamaha B-2 thanks for the welcome. I first learned to consider the Yamaha units while reading this site, especially this vintage solid state forum. But, of course, you guys are a bit baised, right?! So I'm wondering if anyone's also listened to or owned the other budget preamps I mentioned (Adcom GFP-555 or 565, B&K Pro-10MC, or others) and have then preferred the Yamaha units? Thanks again.

winegasman
02-23-2006, 01:50 PM
Anyone? Someone at a'gon has high marks for the Nakamichi CA-5. How does this compare with the Yamaha C's and CX's? I do appreciate the help. Thanks.

CortR
02-23-2006, 03:34 PM
I own a CA-5 and use it daily. I have owned all sorts of Yammies both integrated and C-series stand-alones and can say I've never met a Yamaha phono stage I didn't like. I prefer the CA-5, however, largely because of convenience. It has two phono inputs switchable to MC/MM. I run my Heybrook w/ a MC, and my Systemdek wsith a MM out of the same preamp. It's a Nelson Pass design and I think it shows its pedigree. OTOH, many folks over at the other place seem to have a field day dissing the CA-5, though I confess I can't understand why.

dickard
02-23-2006, 04:05 PM
Luxman made a few preamps that feature MC and MM phono sections. I'm using a C-120a which features both. I've not heard that MC section, but I assume that it is very high quality.

Prices for the C-120a should be in your range.

Rich

Yamaha B-2
02-23-2006, 04:28 PM
I own a CA-5 and use it daily. I have owned all sorts of Yammies both integrated and C-series stand-alones and can say I've never met a Yamaha phono stage I didn't like. I prefer the CA-5, however, largely because of convenience. It has two phono inputs switchable to MC/MM. I run my Heybrook w/ a MC, and my Systemdek wsith a MM out of the same preamp. It's a Nelson Pass design and I think it shows its pedigree. OTOH, many folks over at the other place seem to have a field day dissing the CA-5, though I confess I can't understand why.All of the vintage Yamaha preamps mentioned above have dual phono inputs and several have dual preamp outputs. The dual inputs allow for exactly what you have described, running one TT with an MM and a second with an MC. Several of them also have dual preamp outs, allowing for bi-amping directly from the preamp.

bully
02-23-2006, 04:53 PM
The absolute best value in a fine preamp with an EXCELLENT phono section is the Kenwood Basic C2 preamp. You really will not do much better unless you want to spend some money.
Yeah, I've got a couple Yamaha preamps, TOTL models, and they certainly are excellent preamps that deliver the goods.
Heck, for your suggested budget (really much more than many of those mentioned) you should look for the Yamaha C-80 or C-85.
But if you find a C2, get it and don't look back.

bully
02-23-2006, 07:12 PM
Couple of C2's and a C1 (kenwood's) on eBay right now. probably an exceptional buy for a smart buyer.

analogue_lover
02-23-2006, 09:08 PM
Couple of C2's and a C1 (kenwood's) on eBay right now. probably an exceptional buy for a smart buyer.

What is the difference between the c1 and c2?????? Just wondering.......

THANKS!!

Mike :thmbsp:

bully
02-23-2006, 09:14 PM
The C2 provides a couple of crossover points for the tone controls. Else, for all I know (never had a C1 but have seen pictures) they are the same. They are simply amazing preamps for the money. The two now on eBay will be super buys for someone, and the C1, too. Very full featured phono section. Just an excellent phono section, I can't recommend the C2 enough.

Dennis Gardner
02-23-2006, 09:50 PM
I"ve got the Kenwood C2 and it is better than my HK Citation Twenty One. I agree that it is the best bang for the buck phono section to be had for the $$$.

The Apt Holman is a nice unit too.

the-real-mandak
02-23-2006, 09:57 PM
C-60 is problery the best budget Yamaha pre, it cost the dobble of the C-65 (I dont know the Kenwood Basic C2). Otherwice B-2 put it on the spot.

bully, the C-2 is not in the leuage with the C-1. Not at all.

bully
02-23-2006, 10:03 PM
what c-2 and c-1?? the yamaha C-2x is the best they made. the kenwood basic c2 (no hypen) is a great preamp for the money, i suspect the c1 has similar sound less a bell & whistle.
I would strongly recommend the Kenwood Basic models, but agree that the Yamaha are great gear. Caveat I only know their TOTL models.
$100 for a TOTL Kenwood c2 is a good deal. PRobably a good deal on a yamaha, too. spend the rest of your budget on music. :D

the-real-mandak
02-23-2006, 10:06 PM
bully I thought you meant the Yamaha C-1 & C-2, sorry about that. :D

the-real-mandak
02-23-2006, 10:54 PM
Here is the Kenwood C-1 & C-2

bully
02-23-2006, 11:12 PM
The C2 is a really very fine preamp. For $100 cannot be beat, even by the Yamaha, I think. The C2 phono section is as good as it gets. Even my new C-2x and the Lux C-383 only compare well with it. It is my standard of comparison. Can't recommend it highly enough. The Luxman is about $300 or so, and I'm not sure about the C-2x, I jumped on a fresh BIN for a huge bargain.
Between the 1995 C-383 and the 1985 C-2x the phono sections are a tossup, though they are facing different carts, the C-383 has the SL-1400Mk2 with a MC Ortofon MC-10, and the C-2x a DP-47F with a MM Signet.
Ceedee players, well they're a wash. Haven't tried cassettes, yet, but the AD-S750 is a Dolby S deck, made to better standards than non-Dolby 2 decks, but the JVC TD-R441 is an excellent deck, too. I've got quite a few metal tape tunes. Most are recorded on the Aiwa, of course, in Dolby S.
For $350 both the C-383 & C-2x would be a great deal. Of course, for $100 or less the Kenwood Basic C2 can't be beat. And I am a Yamaha kind of guy.

the-real-mandak
02-23-2006, 11:20 PM
From the picís it looks like the phone stage on the C-2 is more advanced

winegasman
02-24-2006, 01:26 AM
Thanks guys. This is very helpful. I threw a low bid on one of the Kenwood C2's before I'd read these endorsements -- didn't win, but I'll keep at it. I also lost out on the Yamaha C-2x when Bully BIN -- I had started the bidding, figuring I'd try to find out more about the unit before bidding higher -- when I got back to ebay it was gone! Good work, dude. The folks at a'gon who've responded to a similar post I left there do seem to want to push in the direction of "audiophile" name gear -- PSE, Adcom, etc. -- although one guy there did speak highly of the Nak CA-5 (but also said he gets dissed all the time there for his support of it).

I guess my remaining question, before I go off and start throwing low bids at C2's and Yamaha models mentioned, is will these models have sufficient gain for the ultra-low .25mV output of the Denon DL-103R? Thanks again. You've been wonderfully helpful, Rich

TroyD
02-24-2006, 01:41 AM
I sent you a PM in regards to an Onkyo Integra P-306RS preamp with a nice phono stage that I have...

BDT

the-real-mandak
02-24-2006, 02:00 AM
Yamaha, yes. Tjek the manuals here: http://www.yamaha.co.jp/manual/english/result.php?div_code=

CortR
02-24-2006, 08:46 AM
All of the vintage Yamaha preamps mentioned above have dual phono inputs and several have dual preamp outputs. The dual inputs allow for exactly what you have described, running one TT with an MM and a second with an MC. Several of them also have dual preamp outs, allowing for bi-amping directly from the preamp.

Quite so, and I realize in my haste I neglected to say that the real convenience of the CA-5 was that it has dual outputs.

wineslob
02-24-2006, 09:45 AM
Luxman made a few preamps that feature MC and MM phono sections. I'm using a C-120a which features both. I've not heard that MC section, but I assume that it is very high quality.

Prices for the C-120a should be in your range.

Rich
I'll second this recomendation. I have the C-02 pre which I've seen on E-bay for about $100.00. VERY hard to beat this unit. I call it the "poor man's CJ". (Conrad/Johnson)

winegasman
02-26-2006, 03:53 AM
Well, I've gone and done it -- won an ebay auction for a CX-800 last night! Funny thing is I'm out of the country on sabbatical and won't even be able to listen to the system I'm putting together until I get home this summer. Is that sick or what? But I've been enjoying staying connected to these forums and to "virtual audio," since I have no stereo system here in Ireland. Thank all of you who've provided help.

By the way, can anyone tell me the differences between the CX-800 and the CX-1000? I see that bidding for the 1000 goes up to $400 and more, while I got the 800 for under $200. Am I going to be missing any sonic advantages, or are there more features? Or both? Thanks again, Rich

PS Think I'll still keep my eye out for a C-2x!

Yamaha B-2
02-26-2006, 07:42 AM
Congrats on a great buy! CX-1000 has a 16-bit dac built into it. Can be used with a CD transport, etc. Just a bunch of extra circuitry that is old enough that is useless in today's world. Simply adds weight and complexity, IMHO. I've never heard from anyone who owns one that they use it in any way. The CX-800 is pretty much the same preamp without the extra digital I/O. Loaned out both of my manuals, so can't give any details, but think you've got the better of the two. Especially on a value basis.

BTW - Where and what are you on sabbatical from? And where are you spending your time? Trinity?

winegasman
02-26-2006, 08:46 AM
I'm on sabbatical from teaching media production at a small college in NH, spending our time living in a friend's holiday house in Dingle -- the other coast. The locals love their music, but prefer it live at the pubs -- even the local musicians have no stereo equipment in their homes -- just boom boxes in their kitchens.

OK, so the CX-800 is good -- excellent! is the C-2/2x any better, again for MC phono? Thanks again, Rich

winegasman
02-26-2006, 08:49 AM
One more thing - does anyone have the CX-800 available as pdf? The Yamaha manual site someone linked above (thanks!) has "no results" for this model.

Yamaha B-2
02-26-2006, 08:55 AM
Sounds like fun. My retirement trip will be a few weeks in Ireland to chase down long-lost family. Only been there once, but that was for work. Looking forward to a longer stay and time with the relatives.

Hmmmm......is it better? I'll be comparing the C-2 to the CX-1000 in the next few weeks, so will have some comparison with these. My understanding is that the C-2a is a considerable step up from the C-2 and the C-2x even more so. But, don't have the C-2a or C-2x manuals to review the schematics/circuits to see what is different. But, think you'll be quite happy with the CX-800 to get started.

If bully pulls out his C-85 to compare to the C-2x will be interesting to read what he thinks of that comparison. I think the C-85/65 sound slightly better than either the CX-1000 or CX-1. But, I need the remote capability of the later units to make my life easy. I listen almost 100% of the time I am in the house and would spend half my time running back and forth to the volume control without a remote (wife, phone, etc.). If I find a C-2x and like the results, then I'll simply have to go with much longer speaker cables so can have the preamp next to my desk.

Yamaha B-2
02-26-2006, 09:05 AM
One more thing - does anyone have the CX-800 available as pdf? The Yamaha manual site someone linked above (thanks!) has "no results" for this model.Download the CX-1000 and ignore the digital stuff.

the-real-mandak
02-26-2006, 12:27 PM
B-2 you scar me when you say something like the C-65 is better than the CX-1000. The 65 is a ďbudgetĒ machine and had a price tag at a ľ of the CX-1000. The CX-1000 was by the revivers said to be High-end reference class. And the digital system is not 16 bit, but 18 bit. It is the same system as in the CDX-1110 and CDX-5000.

And now you know somebody that uses the digital part of the CX-1000, I run both the CD and DVD digital in to the pre. (It can handle 48 KHz!). Both my CDX-550e (coax) and CDX-780 (optical) do not have as good a D/A as the CX-1000.

About the CX-800, I do believe it is a great pre. And on value basis a better buy. But I donít think it is on the same level as the CX-1000.

The CX-830 shares manual with the CX-630, maybe the CX-800 share with the CX-600?

bully
02-26-2006, 12:42 PM
mine is the c-80, from the series before the c-85. it is a very fine preamp, and capable of "hanging in there" with the better units then or now.
the c-2x is proving to be exceptional.
I have been comparing the c-2x with the luxman c-383 (10 years difference in age), and have decided both are excellent. Both tt's are very good, the SL-1400Mk2 uses a MC cart, the DP-47F a MM cart. Phono sections are excellent to my ears.

Yamaha B-2
02-26-2006, 01:10 PM
B-2 you scar me when you say something like the C-65 is better than the CX-1000. The 65 is a ďbudgetĒ machine and had a price tag at a ľ of the CX-1000. The CX-1000 was by the revivers said to be High-end reference class. And the digital system is not 16 bit, but 18 bit. It is the same system as in the CDX-1110 and CDX-5000.

And now you know somebody that uses the digital part of the CX-1000, I run both the CD and DVD digital in to the pre. (It can handle 48 KHz!). Both my CDX-550e (coax) and CDX-780 (optical) do not have as good a D/A as the CX-1000.

About the CX-800, I do believe it is a great pre. And on value basis a better buy. But I donít think it is on the same level as the CX-1000.

The CX-830 shares manual with the CX-630, maybe the CX-800 share with the CX-600?The C-65 was only 'budget' because it wasn't a C-85 with the dual outputs, etc. Same phono circuitry other than that. And, when taking into account the fact that it would have at least doubled in price if still made when the CX-series came out, it definitley wasn't budget. Subtract the digital (my bad - definitely 18-bit) from the CX-1000 and its price drops to about that of the CX-800 when all is considered. And, to my ears, the C-85/65 sound better. Even sound better than my CX-1, which is more high-end than the CX-1000. :D

BTW- You are the first person that I've heard from that has stated that he who uses the digital portion of the CX-1000. Most that are sold on eBay, Audiogon, etc., state specifically that they haven't tested the digital portion of the preamp. That said, I think the CDX-1100 (same as the CDX-1110/1120/5000) sounds very, very good. At least the equal of any other CDP I've listened to for an extended period of time. Not sure of the effects of an additional set of ICs on this, though.

And, the CX-600 does not share a manual with the CX-800. :no:

the-real-mandak
02-26-2006, 01:28 PM
B-2 are you talking about the C-65 or C-65B?

Yamaha B-2
02-26-2006, 01:35 PM
Must be the 'B'. But, I'm not sure that distinction was ever made in the U.S. Nothing in my SM shows that there is such a distinction and I don't recall anything about a 'B' or non-'B' in the markings on the one I owned. Definitely not a 'budget' preamp.

Also, just checked the OMs for both the C-85 and C-65. Nothing on either to indicate that there was a 'B' model in the U.S. The C-65 and -85 weigh within a couple of ounces of each other. I'm would guess that this is accounted for by the addition of the buffer stage and second set of outputs from the C-85 that the C-65 doesn't have. So, for my purposes, whenever I am speaking of the C-65, it is the model that was sold in the U.S., which is essentially the C-85 without the second set of outputs. To 'B' or not to 'B'. :D

the-real-mandak
02-26-2006, 01:48 PM
C-65, 1984, MSRP $350.00
C-65B, 1986, MSRP $600.00
The 65 came with the C-80 line; the 65B is as you writhe in line with the C-85. Be careful with the letters in the Yamaha model numbers, it is not the color they are talking about when they wright B :)

Yamaha B-2
02-26-2006, 01:57 PM
Like I've stated a few times, don't think there was a C-65/65B distinction in the U.S. We had a C-40/50/60/70 to go with the C-80 and the C-45/65 to go with the C-85. Guess it was different in Europe.

the-real-mandak
02-26-2006, 02:00 PM
About the CX-1 vs. CX-1000, The CX-1000 actuarially has a little better spec.
The CX-1 has a little less noise, but how it comes out in real life I donít know. I donít have a CX-1, but if you want to send me yours that will be fine by me :D

It sounds a little strange that you didnít have a 65/65B version. The price info is from Orion Blue Book, they usually donít have EU products.

Yamaha B-2
02-26-2006, 02:09 PM
Perhaps we did/do. Just nothing mentioned in Yamaha's U.S. manual library, or the owner's or service manuals.

I'd be happy to send along my CX-1 for $500 plus shipping (what the last one sold for on eBay). Do you need my Paypal account address (don't forget to add the 3.5% fees)?

the-real-mandak
02-26-2006, 02:15 PM
You want to use the C-85 instead of the CX-1 or is it just the price you like?

One was sold for 250Ä on eBay (buy now) lasted 2 hours, another vent for 396Ä both on the 18 Feb.

Yamaha B-2
02-26-2006, 02:55 PM
Of course, I would only want to sell for the $595. :D

ginovino
02-26-2006, 03:07 PM
Greetings and thanks in advance for all thoughtful opinions! I'm putting together a new 2-channel system and now need a preamp to complete the package. The primary source will be a Thorens TD-320 with Denon DL-103R; I'll play CDs as well, but the line stage capability of the preamp will not be as important as the phono stage. The power amp will be an ATI 1502, which will put out about 220 wpc into the 4-ohm GMA Continuum-1's I picked up on a'gon. (Actually picked up the ATI there as well!)

Now my budget is $250-300, which I know is tiny and inconsequential, but, well, that's it for now, so my choice is likely to be limited to vintage solid state. Some of you audiokarma guys have convinced me to consider one of the older Yamaha preamps in the C and CX series. The other model I've read good things about is the B&K Pro-10MC.

Has anyone heard these units and have thoughts about how they compare? Are there other candidates I should know about? Over at a'gon someone has recommended a Nakamichi CA-5 and someone else has recommended an Adcom GFP-555. I just want the best MC sound possible within my budget. I'd love a tube unit, but that's not happening within my budget. I don't care whether it has a remote or not -- I'm looking purely for the best phono sound possible in a single-full-function preamp.

Thanks for all help, Rich

Please bear out my obvious bias and as viewed by some on this forum, a pomposity and know it all demeanor. My audio credentials while not technical are sonic and at one time commercial, having been a retail dealer.

Having previously owned one of these for years, the B & K PRO-10C preamp is a very excellent choice. It has a built-in switchable MC/MM & load adjustable phono amplifier, external power supply, gold plated Inputs, 6 high level inputs and also available with balanced Amplifier outputs. It is extremely tube like in its signature. Not extremely fast, though surprisingly clean with the right electronics/cables/speakers. Wide deep Soundstage. Smooth as glass presentation (slightly warmish). Very satisfying with a glass of wine or Cognac as your side. Non fatiguing, comfortable slippers. Sort of like Conrad Johnson, not ARC. It does so much right for the price, itís hard to part company. I would suggest this for anyone before they forge ahead into REAL TUBES.

My First choice is my current and all time favorite- Bryston 12b-11b preamp. These are the same model with 2 phono inputs, the 12b having a built-in switchable MC amp, 2nd phono input is a MM input. 5 high level inputs and a 20 year warranty. The 11b shuns the MC amp circuit but has 2 phono inputs.

Both units are hard to come by even on Ebay. Originally introduced around 1985 and in the product line for nearly 10 years! FYI the following Bryston preamps have the same technology and sound philosophy .5b, 1b, 11b, 12b, BP20, Bp25. Expect to pay in the $400 range for the 12b & 11b models a little less for the .5b, 1b. Bryston is a higly envolved company and a pleaseure to deal with. They are very supportive of their older models and are the first to offer reasonable solutions to otherwise costly situations. Their gear is built like a tank and not particularly "pretty". But oOH how they perform!

By the lack of eBay or Audiogon availability that should indicate very few ever get sold off, like so many other brands. IMHO, these are light years ahead of the run of the mill house brands found in abundance among the local membership here and other forums. Middle of the road, i.e. Yamaha, Kenwood, Sansui, Pioneer, Toshiba, and others of that ilk abound as do their speaker mates. Both of the Byrston models are extremely revealing, almost surgically. Many audiophiles find them too much so. "Somethingís are better left unheard". You need the very best front end Electronics etc. The better your gear, the better this unit becomes. FAST> DEEP>WIDE--none of the "kings new clothes" scenario. For this reason while not getting actually bad mouthed, you will hear comments like "Bryston is Bright"-- that is like saying "tubes are warm, have rolled off highs and, have fat flabby bottoms like trailer park wives!
If you want to peer deep into your system and have a cornerstone to build upon going forward, you would hard pressed to make better choices at this price point, just different choices.

Forget the Adcoms, Halfers, Dynacos, Soundcraftsmen, Carver, Sunfire, and a whole litany of wannabe's including Rotel preamps.Their not even in the same league of the B & K's and Brystons, PS Audio, McCormicks, Musical Fidelity, ARC Solid State, CJ, Sonagraphe of those which come to mind rapidly. I'm sure I could add more to this list. I stopped at the $400-450 Used range!

Admittedly I am sonically unfamiliar with the GMA speakers or ATI amps (A fast Google showed ATI Local NY area dealers are NOT "Audio Salons" per se. They appear to be Home theater specialty stores of no particular noteworthiness) does not infer your equipment selection is less than admirable. However, GMA speakers are a niche product whose cost of Full admission begins in the $7k range. Quite healthy to say the least and no doubt will appeal to a very snobbish (while not quite knowledgeable) audience. If they play as beautiful as they look, a new challenge to Marlin Logan, Wilson, Thiel, and Legacy to name a few! I need to do a little local listening, the GMA's have caught my Eye!

In fact some of the names now in Audio history were nobodies (Holman, Carver, Dynaco, McCormick just to name a few). I urge you take a walk down my suggested path, if nothing more than for an education in the brands I support in my aforementioned biased ran tings.

Hoped I confused you further! If so, :D thatís a good thing... Nothing is better than controversy!

winegasman
02-27-2006, 06:04 AM
Admittedly I am sonically unfamiliar with the GMA speakers or ATI amps (A fast Google showed ATI Local NY area dealers are NOT "Audio Salons" per se. They appear to be Home theater specialty stores of no particular noteworthiness) does not infer your equipment selection is less than admirable. However, GMA speakers are a niche product whose cost of Full admission begins in the $7k range. Quite healthy to say the least and no doubt will appeal to a very snobbish (while not quite knowledgeable) audience. If they play as beautiful as they look, a new challenge to Marlin Logan, Wilson, Thiel, and Legacy to name a few! I need to do a little local listening, the GMA's have caught my Eye!

Very interesting and entertaining post. Of course, if I were able to afford $7k speakers I'd hardly be posting to a vintage ak forum looking for $250-300 preamp. In fact, Green Mountain Audio speakers start at $995 for new Europas, then move to about $3k for the Callisto, before ascending into the serious 5-digit models. I owned the first pair of Callistos off the production line, and was immediately hooked on the GMA house sound -- Roy Johnson, designer, founder, and owner of GMA is a strong, eloquent proponent of first-order crossovers and time-aligned driver placement. This design works for me (and I would think it would be of interest to you as well, since Thiel shares a similar design approach). But since I'm "poor," I had to sell my Callsitos to help cover expenses of my sabbatical. I was on the lookout for a speaker like the Callisto but with better low-end, since I don't like or want separate subs in my living room. Lo and behold, a guy offered a pair of GMA Continuum-1's on a'gon for about $800! They are about 10 years old, but it was for this speaker that Roy J. made many of his design break-throughs that he uses to this day. With built-in 10" woofers, time-alignment, first-order crossovers, I jumped on them. That's $800 for my speakers, not $7k or more! (I have it on good authority that these C-1's will sound better, more transparent, than the newer Callistos, while delivering the fuller, musical bottom end I desired. Of course, since I'm away on sabbatical I won't know for sure for a few more months -- oh the tease of it!)

Now I pulled the trigger on a Yamaha CX-800 because of solid positive recommendations here. No one was able to provide direct comparison between the Yamaha preamps and the B&K Pro-10MC; some favored the Nakamichi CA-5, and for phono only pete-the-b strongly recommended the Kenwood C2. Although I bought the CX-800, when I return to the states and set up my system and start earning money again, I plan to keep my eye out for a B&K as well, and will compare the 2. I did submit the highest bid for a Pro-10MC on ebay last week, but the reserve wasn't met and the guy hasn't returned emails asking him how much he wanted for the unit. There's another one on a'gon, but he's asking $315 for it and while I could squeeze the budget, I figure that the asking price is high -- since my "winning" bid for the one on ebay was $162.

Finally, before disparaging the ATI amp you might want to read about it on audioreview, where it has 19 reviews and a 4.89/5.00 rating. ATI, like many wise amp manufacturers, is catering to the home theater market, but they do make killer 2-channel amps for us music-first folks as well. At $350 shipped on a'gon, putting out 225wpc into my 4-ohm GMA speakers, with great high current in reserve, it seemed like one of the better buys in power amps I was going to find.

Thanks for your comments. Enjoy your system.

bully
02-27-2006, 07:16 AM
OK, the Yamaha CX-800 should be a very fine preamp. Good deal there.
ATI is a child of the old SAE, and makes a very solid product by all I've heard.
Enjoy the rest of your sabbat. and don't jones too hard for your new stereo.

ginovino
02-27-2006, 09:04 AM
Thanks for your thoughtful well written response to my musings.

When seeking the "Pro-10MC" be aware there appears to be a few "versions" of this unit out there. Even the b & K promo piece sort of compounds the problem.
The version I owned and recently sold(TOO LOW I might add, for shame!):

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c227/ginovino/Pro-10MC/IMG1b.jpg

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c227/ginovino/Pro-10MC/IMG1aaaa.jpg

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c227/ginovino/Pro-10MC/IMG1f.jpg

You will find a number of "Pro"-10MC with tone controls- various push button controls forTape loops etc, as well as a faceplate with a Stamped indented cosmetic appearance in two tone colors of the Gun metal blue..

These units are not PRO-10MC but rather just Sonata 10MC- The Pro Version did away with Tone controls entirely. Ergo the PRO designation. The regular 10mc is not as agressively sought after as the PRO version and is valued somewhat less in the Audio Bluebook.

It appears B & K chose to offer this version as Pro-10MC outside of the USA or so it seems. However,to my knowledge most of the past reviews of the Preamp have come with the model I owned and shown here.

I must admit the external power supply did add a certain level of noise reduction to the already quiet unit. I miss that on my Brytson, not because the Bryston is less quiet, but for the assurance that if the Torodial ever melted down they won't affect the Audio Circuit Boards. I assure you the external power supply weighed in at about 5 lbs! Thats as much as some of the preamps out there!

AS for the GMA speakers, from your comments I would likely enjoy the Time aligned & Phase corrected "sound" produced by them. IT's accurate......

At their website, when I saw home theater etc, I tended to look at the floor models first and saw the $7k & Up stickers thereby assessing those as the entry units. I bypassed the Home theater line completely believing there was nothing there to interest me. My apologies- I will revisit it.

AS for being rich/flush/cash heavy-- My humble audio beginnings began through my Ham radio hobbying. One cannot say that shortwave signal is high quality! Though through natural progression and building cheapies, I am at the place I am today. Certainly not at the forefront of audio Guru "ism", more like a Desert shiek who has been with 158 wives and has developed a respect for the qualities or lack thereof of each of them. While some of my rantings appear to proselytize they are merely attemtping to save the reader time, $$$ and energy from having to go through the learning curve as I and others before me.

Ultimately its whats in your wallet, the WAF, your listening environment, the music you prefer, how many LIVE perfomances you've experienced, The quality of associated equipment and most importantly, what level of capability is your hearing! You would be amazed how many people will have their eyes checked frequently and never their hearing--what? eh? huh? repeat that?
you know the types!

Admittedly the frequency response of my hearing has deteriorated appropriately over time (age related) though less so than many younger folks or so I'm told by my audiologist.

I am not speaking of the the high frequency drop off which occurs in the aging process, rather the flatness of the frequency range your hearing is able to discern. No audiophile would ever consider a piece of equipment whose response was 20hz<>25khz @ +(plus) or -(minus) 6db! Yet never consider their hearing is like + - 20db and more over that same range!

SO WHAT you say, " I like, what I like". Aha! would you still like it if your ears weren't acting like built-in tone controls? Case in point: ever encounter someone who just became dependant on hearing aids after many years of annoying folks with the: what? eh? huh? repeat that? Putting aside the fiddling with their controls, ever notice how frequency sensitive they become.. Not amplitude, but frequency...isn't that bright?, boy thats strong bass!, aren't those trumpets blaring? and so on....

It seems at the moment, I haven't been taken to task by the AK Audio Police or better known as the Keepers of the MOR Audio Faith. Give it a day or less.

To quote good old Shakespeare, "me thinks thou dost protest too much".

Yes I do! I tilt at windmills as well! and, I root for Rocky to beat Clubber even after seeing the movie a zillion times.

Just another stream of unsolicitated consciousness! :blah: