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Shall I replace my integrated amp now that I have ...
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It has been my experience that the best preamp is no preamp! I am currently using the output from my Geek Pulse directly into my tube monoblocks. The sound is the best I have ever had. BUT, I am almost 100% digital using my NAS drive and my music laptop into the Pulse. When I do play vinyl, it is to make a digital recording. I rarely play vinyl just to listen to it any more. My recording capability is so good that after I use Audacity to record and Click Repair to clean it up I have a wave file that in most respects sounds better than listening to the vinyl!
 
However, I can get away with this because of my choice to go completely digital. I only have one setup and that's the digital. You have several source components and I understand it is much easier to use a preamp to control what you listen to. In my case, if I want to listen to a record I have to rearrange two sets of interconnects... still not a big deal. For you with more sources that would be inconvenient. 
 
I have always been impressed with Emotiva's well designed equipment and reasonable prices. You have a strong recommendation from David and he has lots of experience with the piece you are looking at. His advice also make sense to me!
 
The Marantz is a very well thought of unit and could be easily used in another system in your house or sold for a good  price. It also has the benefit of having the preamp built in and therefore one less pair of interconnects is needed. Easy to use in a second or third system.
 
I agree with David's response. Go for it!
 
Hi Thomas,

Quoted Text
A few years ago I bought the Marantz Reference Series PM 15S2 Integrated Amplifier and still use it, but now only as a preamp since about a year ago I bought an Emotiva SA-250 power amp to better drive my Maggie 1.7's.  Emotiva is now selling their XSP-1 "Gen 2" Differential Reference Preamp for $899 ($100 off).  The XSP-1 has all the features I need, and even has balanced inputs (the Marantz does not).

What do others think - shall I replace the Marantz?  I bought the Marantz in late 2010.

Another member (Chuck) reviewed the Marantz in 2011 and said it was a great integrated amp, but now that I am not using the power amp side I wonder if it would be prudent to go to the XSP-1.  I do not want to spend a huge amount of money on a preamp, so I am not looking at others that cost over $2K.


I'm actually using the XSP-1 in my primary playback system. I've had it for almost a year, and I've been super happy with it so far. Extremely quiet, great dynamics, and throws a huge soundstage. I like the balanced outputs, trigger connection for powering up external amps, and the typical Emotiva "brick" remote. The headphone jack also drives Sennheiser HD650 headphones surprisingly well. It sounds its best with little or no warmup time, which is great for me since I rarely have time to wait.

I do kind-of wish it had more than one pair of balanced inputs, although that's plenty for me for the foreseeable future. Also wish the processor loop was balanced, and the display could be a little brighter. Other than that, it's pretty much perfect for the price--and especially the sale price!

I have not used the fancy features like HT Bypass, integrated phono stage, or crossovers for subwoofer integration, but it's nice to know they're there. It's unusual to find an analog preamp that provides bass management for stereo subwoofers. I can imagine that would be a really helpful feature in a setup like yours if you later decide to add a pair of SVS SB-1000s, for example. :)

The XSP-1 is pretty low risk too since you can return it to Emotiva if you don't love it...and you could probably sell it a few years from now for not much less than you paid for it if you later decide to go a different route.

You're welcome to come out here for a listen, but I realize that 2,550 miles is kind-of a long drive. Seriously though, if you're ever near San Jose, don't hesitate to ping me. Goes for the rest of the A-VCOA family as well.

-- David
 
A few years ago I bought the Marantz Reference Series PM 15S2 Integrated Amplifier and still use it, but now only as a preamp since about a year ago I bought an Emotiva SA-250 power amp to better drive my Maggie 1.7's.  Emotiva is now selling their XSP-1 "Gen 2" Differential Reference Preamp for $899 ($100 off).  The XSP-1 has all the features I need, and even has balanced inputs (the Marantz does not).
 
What do others think - shall I replace the Marantz?  I bought the Marantz in late 2010.
 
Another member (Chuck) reviewed the Marantz in 2011 and said it was a great integrated amp, but now that I am not using the power amp side I wonder if it would be prudent to go to the XSP-1.  I do not want to spend a huge amount of money on a preamp, so I am not looking at others that cost over $2K.

 
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