The State Of The Preamp Art

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
NAD released the intriguing new C-658 preamplifier not to long ago, and it seems a winner. At $2k Canadian, it includes about every new technology available, including Dirac! It runs BlueOS, can handle higher resolution then the Bluesound Streamers, has a much better DAC based on one of the better Sabre chips (complete with MQA). It has a non-truncating digital volume control, which should give me a nice little boost in sound quality vs using the digital one in the Bluesound software that I'm using currently. nad-c-658-758x426.png

A nice bonus to future proofing is that it includes sockets using NADs Modular Design Construction, which allows for plug in updates. It even allows the playing of DSD files , though they do get converted to PCM.

It's about as impressive a preamp as I have found. Now that @Pat McGinty has red pilled me into the digital world, I'm open to pretty well anything.
 
I knew it was a matter of time till they did. Back when I was buying a new preamp a couple years back, my choices were between the NAD preamps and Onkyo's Reference series preamp. I went with the Onkyo as it offered a host of digital inputs and still had decent phono preamp whereas the NAD's were either all Analog or all DIgital. I know the Nat'l Sales Managers for both companies and could get either company's stuff for sheet cost and sometimes rep sample cost. The Onkyo Nat'l gave me rep sample cost so that's the direction I went. Otherwise, I was a big NAD fan when I was the rep for the Lenbrook Group (NAD, PSB, and a couple others) from 2001 till 2009 and always enjoyed when they came into my territory to travel around.
 

S0und Dragon

Junior Member
I was looking at this pre myself a few months ago. But It is taking forever to become Roon Certified. I also wished it had 2 more inputs.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I'm happy they're finally putting analog inputs on their 'digital' preamps. I had the M51 from the Master Series, and only got rid of it because I decided to run a turntable in the setup it was on.
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
I'm happy they're finally putting analog inputs on their 'digital' preamps. I had the M51 from the Master Series, and only got rid of it because I decided to run a turntable in the setup it was on.
It really does pretty well everything, without giving anything up.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
It's interesting in that in your system, I would think the turntable would go through an ADC then a DAC in the preamp, then an ADC and DAC in the speakers?
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
It's interesting in that in your system, I would think the turntable would go through an ADC then a DAC in the preamp, then an ADC and DAC in the speakers?
Yup.
That sounds about right.
And it will all sound great doing it. I'm amazed at how good digital had become.
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
I'm happy they're finally putting analog inputs on their 'digital' preamps. I had the M51 from the Master Series, and only got rid of it because I decided to run a turntable in the setup it was on.
Economies of scale is a wonderful thing. I can nigh into buy this for the price of the Node power supply upgrade. Amazing what happens when you can produce things in thousands.
 
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I just purchased the SST Ambrosia 2000 Second Generation preamp and paired it with a new SST Son of Ampzilla II amplifier in early January. It is a step up from my Mark Levinson 585 Integrated with more detail, larger soundstage, more defined bass. Very happy!

The designer - James Bongiorno - founder of SST (Spread Spectrum Technologies) was a legend in the field of audio engineering and design. He owned SST and had Wyred4Sound assemble his products before his death. SST was sold to Wyred4Sound several years ago and has the stated vision to hold true to Mr. Bongiorno’s designs.

The Ambrosia 2000 may not look like audio jewelry and some might find it not to their taste but to me it sounds fantastic and represents one man’s passion. 50 pounds of sonic bliss!

Some of James Bongiorno’s early designs and his last achievements were:
  • Hadley Laboratories 622C Power Amplifier, contributing engineer
  • Marantz Model 15 Power Amplifier, contributing engineer
  • Dynaco Stereo 400 Power Amplifier, Designer
  • Dynaco AF-6 AM/FM Tuner, contributing engineer

  • SAE (Scientific Audio Engineering)
    • XXXIB Power Amplifier, Designer
    • IIIC/CM Power Amplifier, Designer
    • IVD/DM Power Amplfier, Designer
    • VIB Stereo Tuner, contributing engineer
    • IC Stereo Preamplifier, contributing engineer
  • GAS (The Great American Sound Co.) Chief Designer
    • Ampzilla Power Amplifier
    • Ampzilla II (World's first servo-controlled power amplifier)
    • Thaedra Preamplifier (World's first (and only) servo controlled preamp)
    • Thoebe Preamplifier
    • Son of Ampzilla Power Amplifier
    • Thalia Preamplifier
    • Grandson Power Amplfier
  • Sleeping Beauty Moving Coil Cartrdges
    • Sumo Electric Co. Ltd. Chief Designer
      • The Power, World's first 450 watt/channel fully balanced Bridge Power Amp
      • The Gold, World's first patented solid state Class A Power Amplifier
      • The Nine, World's first low cost solid state class A power amplifier
      • The Nine+, Ruggedized version
      • Electra Preamplifier
      • Charlie the Tuner, world's first premium low cost stereo tuner (The humor in the name is that US TV advertisements of the 80's had a cartoon tunafish named Charlie selling cans of his relatives . . . and the tuner had quite mixed reviews.)
      • The Half-power, stereo power amplifier
      • Andromeda, world's first low cost solid state class AB Balanced Power Amp
      • The Sumo I, Magnetic Phono Cartridge
      • The Sumo II, Moving coil Phono Cartridge
  • Harman-Kardon, Consultant, completely redesigned the Citation 23 Tuner
  • Crown Radio, Japan, 4 power amps, 2 preamps, a fully equalized (phase & amplitude) 3-way electronic crossover.
  • Spread Spectrum Technologies Inc.. Chief Designer
  • Ampzilla 2000, fully balanced monoblock power amplifier
  • Trinaural Processor
 
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