Help me pick a preamp to drive P2200 power amp?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by CowFish, Oct 17, 2020.

  1. CowFish

    CowFish Forum Resident Thread Starter

    South Carolina
    Hi all,
    I'm looking for a solid preamp to drive a vintage Yamaha P2200 power amp.
    Can be used or new.
    Budget up to $500
    Consumer hifi or pro audio
    Solid state or tube
    Stand-alone preamp or integrated amp known for its preamp
    Prefer analog over digital

    As you can see, budget is really the only restraint, otherwise I'm wide open for suggestions.
    Some brands that are on my radar are McCormack, Belles, Moon Audio, PrimaLuna, Classe, Conrad Johnson

    If my quest is futile and the general consensus is that I really need to save up more money, then I may grab something that's at least decent and, say up to $200, to hold me over. Maybe something like a used Yamaha C series, Parasound, a vintage NAD or Harman Kardon, Apt Holman etc

    Thank you all for any input!
    Happy listening
  2. AP1

    AP1 Well-Known Member

    Why not to go with vintage Yamaha preamp? Like CX-1000? It is very good full featured preamp. It even includes good MM/MC phono input, very quiet by today's standards. You also can use internal DAC, but it is limited by CD resolution and likely needs tune-up before use.
    CowFish likes this.
  3. kamchatka

    kamchatka Forum Resident

    Bellingham, WA
    I have an old Yamaha C70 driving a P2050 (little sibling to your P2200). The C70 is phenomenal; since I got it around 4 or 5 years ago, I've had no interest at all in other preamps. The phono stage and the headphone stage are both spectacular.

    I mainly just use it with vinyl, in "phono direct" mode (bypassing the tone controls). For digital, I run my audio interface straight into the amp-- not due to any shortcoming of the C70, but I like to keep things as direct as possible. The tone controls on the C70 are actually really nice, but I prefer not to use them.
    CowFish likes this.
  4. CowFish

    CowFish Forum Resident Thread Starter

    South Carolina
    That's two votes for vintage Yamahas.
    I actually had a C-2 for a while (I had it fully recapped), it was good but easily bested in musicality by a 'lowly' NAD 1155 which cost a fraction of the big, bad Yammie.
    I'm not opposed to a $200 or less vintage Yammie to hold me over, but was just wondering if there are some bad ass preamps that are attainable in the $500 or less mark.
    Any other suggestions welcome, thanks everyone!
    Ilusndweller likes this.
  5. okc_craft

    okc_craft Just Another Budgetphile

    How about a Schiit Saga+? I have not heard the plus version, but do have the Saga S , and it’s a good pre. The Saga+ allegedly has a nice tube sound, and it has a remote which is a huge perk for me. It lacks any phono or dac, but you haven’t said what you need in terms of inputs.
    bever70, Rick58 and CowFish like this.
  6. CowFish

    CowFish Forum Resident Thread Starter

    South Carolina
    Too bad I can't edit my original post anymore, you bring up some good points.
    No need for remote, and phono stage is optional. Would be nice to have built-in, but since there's so many stand-alone phono pres to try out at reasonable prices, I could go for a line stage only preamp. No need for built-in DAC either.

    I've never heard any Schiit products, but I understand that they are popular and reasonably priced. Will definitely keep them in mind.
    Rick58 likes this.
  7. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Dublin, CA, USA
    I was gonna say Schitt too ... :) Seems like the Saga+ is well within the budget, may impart a sublime sound to your system. Good luck! I don't know if swapping tubes will tweak the sonics in the Saga+ but if so, there's a little room in the budget for that! or just get more music of course!
    CowFish likes this.
  8. luckyno13

    luckyno13 Forum Resident

    London UK
    I have a Saga+ and I love it.

    It's good that it only needs one valve, but of course I've already bought about 16 already.
  9. CowFish

    CowFish Forum Resident Thread Starter

    South Carolina
    So it's boiling down to a brand new Schiit Saga+ and I'll probably also pick up a Loki tone control unit, since they're inexpensive enough.
    Then I'll probably try out different phono pres until I find something that sounds excellent to me on my system.
    It would be nicer to have it all contained in one box, but sound is the most important to me.

    I've had pretty much no luck finding any affordable, used preamps in the 100 - 200 range to hold me over. It seems like any pre that doesn't suck goes for at least 250. Like NAD 1155 or the Yamaha C-nn series.
    That's so close to a new Saga+ at 400.

    Around 500, there seem to be some nice vintage pres that pop up, like Acurus, B&K, etc
    My biggest concern is that none of them are full featured in any way.
    I realized I do want tone controls, and although not as important, balance and mono can come in handy.
    bever70 likes this.
  10. brubacca

    brubacca Forum Resident

    The other option in your price range is a Emotiva BaseX PT-100 pre amp. More full featured.

    Also Schiit Saga+

    I have owned lots of gear from both. Only the Schiit remains in my house, so that is my vote. I have not heard the newest Emotiva Gear nor do I have a Saga either. Look into both...
    CowFish likes this.
  11. AmericanHIFI

    AmericanHIFI Well-Known Member

    NAD 1000 Monitor Series. Great budget classic preamp. If XLR outputs are desired, 106 model. Both are fairly hard to find.
    CowFish likes this.
  12. Ilusndweller

    Ilusndweller S.H.M.F.=>Reely kewl.

    Columbus, Ohio
    Ive had the 7155 receiver(has an 1155 preamp) for about 15 years. Never a problem and sounds fantastic and neutral as well. Having said that I am a huge fan of Yamaha as well as NAD. Though I just ripped an RCA jack out from the back of my 513 CD player(not from a Monster death grip turbine RCA but rather an older Audioquest "snap on" RCA plug that was used for video installations). I mostly use Videoquest Mac 3-1 75 Ohm coax cable as rca interconnects and a few other those snap on Audioquest RCA plugs fit extremely tight.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2020
    CowFish likes this.
  13. CowFish

    CowFish Forum Resident Thread Starter

    South Carolina
    Excited to announce that, thanks to another forum user, I've got a Schiit Freya S on the way.
    I'll post my initial impressions about it in my system once I've had some seat time with it.
    Thank you to everyone for your help and sharing your experiences.
    Happy listening!
    4_everyman and Rick58 like this.
  14. CowFish

    CowFish Forum Resident Thread Starter

    South Carolina
    So I've had some seat time with the Schiit Freya S now, driving the P2200 power amp, and it does a very good job. Prior to receiving it, I did try my cd player straight into the power amp, and while it did work and sound good actually, it left me wondering what I'm missing of course.
    Well the Freya S has passive mode, +1 db gain mode, and +4db gain mode, allowing me to directly compare what I was missing, how handy.
    Like before, passive mode was fine, +1db mode similar, but +4db gain mode is substantially stronger sounding, feeding the power amp a strong signal makes it sound better at all volume levels.

    Next steps for me are a Schiit Mani phono pre to get teh vinyls spinning again. After that, I'll shoot out the Schiit Modi 3 DAC against a Focusrite 2i2 interface used as DAC.
    Although the Focusrite 2i2 instrument interface isn't advertised as a DAC, it is actually a two-way street and I've used it as a DAC between my MacBook Pro and the hifi system for a while. It always sounded really good, way way better than using the Mac's headphone out. I then bought a dedicated hifi DAC, a Cambridge DacMagic for $199, and it pretty much made no difference over the headphone out, so it got returned, leaving the Focusrite as my budget benchmark.

    Here's a quick 'n' dirty cell phone pic of the Freya S in its new home. Speakers are modded Yamaha NS-20T this week, but there are over a dozen speakers that I rotate, so that's why I didn't mention which speakers I'm driving: all of them haha.

    Thanks to all who chimed in!

    Rick58 likes this.

Share This Page