Best pre around or less than $5k to pair with DSD Sr?

Which sub $5k pre’s seem to mate best with Dsd Sr.? I’m looking BHK, Modwright SWL 9.0 Anniv Ed., and Don Sachs DS-2 SP14 line stage. Any experience with those in conjunction with DSD Sr? I have Salk Songtowers with ribbon tweeters + sub. Currently have Van Alstine Vision+ SS pre.

I have the Don Sachs Model 2 and I am extremely happy with it. I liked it so much that I ordered one of his amps to go along with it!!!

What happened between $10k in the topic header, and $5k in the post. So which is it?

No pre-amp sounds better than any pre-amp.

That is blatantly untrue.

Opinions differ, and the result is not predetermined. Paul himself was of this opinion for many years.

The answer is, at the least, completely system dependent, and the “any" pre-amp better be one of the ten best in the world to improve over a wire with at least two fewer I/O connectors involved.

A run-of-the-mill pre-amp vs. DSD direct to amps? No contest.

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If you want to get the most out of the DSD Sr. best match it with a balanced preamp with the BHK being the obvious choice. With the Modwright lineup that would be the 36.5 or the LS-100. Even if you the the Don Sach’s with the optional Balanced input don’t know that you would get the full benefit of the DSD’s output as that is SE only so best to ask Don himself. I’ve got the BHK and an LS-100 and they both work fine just different.

He’s in favor of using pre-amps…he said as much here. A critical function of the pre-amp is impedance matching between the sources and the power amps. A wire can’t do that.

I respectfully disagree.

How can a wire do impedance matching? Impedance matching is one of the 3 critical functions of a pre-amp.

I haven’t seen a single high-end 2ch installation that didn’t use a pre-amp. In my circle of audio-tragics not one person uses a DAC-pre. They all have a DAC + dedicated pre-amp. The reason for that should be self-evident.

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I have tried using a stand alone DAC as a preamp, and I found it sounded better with an actual preamp, or integrated amp in the chain.

You get what you pay for…a proper pre-amp costs 2+ times the cost of a DS DAC. In the “stack” of components made by a manufacturer, eg disc spinner, DAC, pre-amp, etc the pre-amp is almost always the most expensive piece of the whole set.

I have tried the DAC direct to amp using the DAC’s digital volume control with three different DAC’s from PSA, W4S and the OPPO Sonica and in each instance even a basic “passive” preamp like the W4S STP-SE improved the sound. The only DAC I have found that was different was the Nuprime DAC-10 which is in fact a fully balanced preamp and DAC circuit in the same chassis. I have multiples of each in house so I can try it both ways and DAC alone has never won out. Plus what does this DAC direct vs preamp argument do to help the OP or answer his questions?

My preamp only cost me $4k and it’s proper enough for my system.

W4S STP SE Stage 2 here. Great preamp.

I just have the basic since 2013 and I keep it around as it is like an open window and a stone cold bargain. Maybe one day I will send mine back to EJ for the upgrade.

Let’s see you pull your leg out of your mouth:


I traded my STI-500 in for a new STP-SE2. I am running it to a W4S MC7x250 I bought back in 2011.

EJ is really good to work with. His products are well designed and durable.

I agree EJ is one of the good guys who makes quality gear for reasonable prices.

I originally wrote $5k…then I remembered that BHK was more than $5k so I changed the title but forgot to change the text in the body. I have some trade ins, so presumably I could get the bhk around or less than $5k. Sorry for the confusion.

I’ve read numerous posts about the pre-amp versus no preamp discussions. For the sake of this post and my system, the DAC is going to run thru a preamp.

I also saw a Ted Smith post where he said connecting balanced to the DSD was one of the most cost effective enhancements one could make.