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Thread: Rack Preamp Options

  1. #1
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    Rack Preamp Options

    I'm currently powering my L150's and L65A's with a Crown PS-400. Excellent. I am currently using the preamp stage of a Sansui AU-7700, which is great, but I want to use the integrated in another room so I am looking for a new preamp that is rack mountable to pair with the Crown. I've read a lot of good about the Crown PSL-2 but they seem to hold a ton of value, maybe more than their sound would suggest. I have a Soundcraftsmen DX-4200 but it's giving me some noise so I'm looking to pick up another til I sort that out. For the cost of the PSL, I can get a Bryston 0.5B and I've even seen a Pioneer Spec-1. Not trying to limit myself to rack only, but that is how I'm setting up this room. Thoughts?

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    I have an Apt Holman preamp with rack mount option faceplate, I've used it quite a lot with PS-400 and PS-200 amps, it's hooked up to a D-75A right now. They seem to play very well together.

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    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 58crewchief View Post
    I'm currently powering my L150's and L65A's with a Crown PS-400. Excellent. I am currently using the preamp stage of a Sansui AU-7700, which is great, but I want to use the integrated in another room so I am looking for a new preamp that is rack mountable to pair with the Crown. I've read a lot of good about the Crown PSL-2 but they seem to hold a ton of value, maybe more than their sound would suggest. I have a Soundcraftsmen DX-4200 but it's giving me some noise so I'm looking to pick up another til I sort that out. For the cost of the PSL, I can get a Bryston 0.5B and I've even seen a Pioneer Spec-1. Not trying to limit myself to rack only, but that is how I'm setting up this room. Thoughts?
    Nothing against the APT, but in researching them to purchase one to compare with my Crown PSL-2 and SL-2 I seemed to come across quite a few in need of work or being sold as-is. At the opposite end are those that have been gone through completely. It sort of slowed me down. Plus, finding one with the rack-mount front panel creates a much smaller universe from which to choose.

    My main system uses the Soundcraftsmen Pro-Control-Four which I like so much that I bought a spare that I have never needed. I pair it with the matching Pro-EQ 44 for great flexibility and they run to an Ashly XR1001 crossover to bi-amped PS200 and PS400 Crowns to power my JBL 4345s. I'm completely happy with the way the system performs. I use the PSL-2 in another system powering my spare speakers from L150A to 4412A, to L112, to L7, L5, L3, and L1, plus some more JBLs. It's a great pre-amp.

    Not sure what your budget is but I purchased both Crown pre's in complete systems with FM2, or FM3, and Powerline amps. I figure the pre's may have cost me around $300 if I value each part of the system at what seem to be their going prices, but together they seemed like deals at the time. I always wanted the PL/SL pre-amp and once I tried one, I wanted another to last me the rest of my lifetime of listening. It's simple and small with a clean sound and is seemingly bullet-proof, like all Crown products.

    The Crown seems to go for $300 to $600 ($700 if you can prove Sinatra provenance), and they've been steadily going up in price over the past several years. The APT in good condition with no issues seems to run from $300 to $500 (or more) where they've been for some time. I haven't seen one with the rack-mount front panel in a while but I recall they pegged the needle when offered. My impression from my search is that nothing holds up like a Crown. They continue to perform with no need for repair, and the lettering on the face apparently stays intact better than the APT. There's still something I like about the sound, look, and flexibility the Soundcraftsmen offers . . . to me! I'd buy every Pro-Control-Four I could find in good condition for $200! I still own a couple of DX4200s, but I haven't touched them since finding the Pro-Control-Fours.


    And welcome to Lansing Heritage!
    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."—Greg Timbers

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    Senior Member grumpy's Avatar
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    a clean Adcom GFP-750 is in the ballpark, a -565, more so.

    ... even if you had to sort out a rack shelf or custom ears.

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    Senior Member Chevelle's Avatar
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    Don`t laugh before you have heard a NIKKO BETA II preamp.... If you often hear vinyl records you will be surprised. Better than the preamp section of my Denon PMA850 and Pioneer SA9500. Feeding a BGW750C and a pair of 4315.

    Hjalmar
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    Senior Member SEAWOLF97's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMWCCA View Post
    Nothing against the APT, but in researching them to purchase one to compare with my Crown PSL-2 and SL-2 I seemed to come across quite a few in need of work or being sold as-is. At the opposite end are those that have been gone through completely. It sort of slowed me down. Plus, finding one with the rack-mount front panel creates a much smaller universe from which to choose.
    AFAIR , JeffW's Apt is one that I sold.
    It did have a power switch stuck in the ON position. The AH pre is the "most geared towards playing records" that I've ever seen.
    IF you are playing a lot of LP's, that's the one I'd look for. Designed by T. Holman (of THX fame) , he included features far beyond the common preamp.
    Some kind of happiness is measured out in miles

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    Nope, different one. I have yours, the rack mount one, and a third one.

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    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffW View Post
    Nope, different one. I have yours, the rack mount one, and a third one.
    That's the way to do it!
    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."—Greg Timbers

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    Thanks for all the replies. I've been a long time reader here. BMWCCA, the reason I have a crown PS is due to your appreciation of them). I would really like to stick with a crown pre for a matching pair but I don't want to break the bank(yet lol). Right now, there is a Bryston BP20 going pretty cheap. Cheaper than the PSL. Would that be considered an upgrade sonically? The MSRP on those thugs is staggering.

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    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 58crewchief View Post
    Right now, there is a Bryston BP20 going pretty cheap. Cheaper than the PSL. Would that be considered an upgrade sonically? The MSRP on those thugs is staggering.
    If that's the one in NM with 36-hours left on Ebay, don't count chickens until the last five-minutes!

    Remember, the Crown Straight Line Two is essentially the same pre-amp as the PSL-2. I have one of each and the only difference I know of is the later PSL-2 labels one aux input as CD. The SL is sometimes cheaper, and the satin-finish silver is generally cheaper than the black.

    Good luck!
    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."—Greg Timbers

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    Yeeaaaahh, about that auction site. Lol. As a fun experiment and also because my basement flooded, I decided to disassemble my downstairs system and set up my AU-717 with rack handles as a preamp upstairs with the Crown. Garbage. That's all I can say. Muddy, bloated sound. Like those old cassette tapes my dad recorded in the 1970's. I'm a little surprised though because the Sansui AU-7700 as a the pre in that system was wonderful. Hmm. It looked good though...

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    Senior Member Chevelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 58crewchief View Post
    Yeeaaaahh, about that auction site. Lol. As a fun experiment and also because my basement flooded, I decided to disassemble my downstairs system and set up my AU-717 with rack handles as a preamp upstairs with the Crown. Garbage. That's all I can say. Muddy, bloated sound. Like those old cassette tapes my dad recorded in the 1970's. I'm a little surprised though because the Sansui AU-7700 as a the pre in that system was wonderful. Hmm. It looked good though...
    Right, I owned a AU7900 for a long time and also the 717. The preamp section of the older Sansuis are much better than the xxx models. Look art the schematics and you know why.

    Hjalmar

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    If that's the one in NM with 36-hours left on Ebay, don't count chickens until the last five-minutes!

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