Looking for Preamp recommendation under $1500

Hello, I'm new to audiophile hobby. I am thinking of investing into separate DAC, Preamp and Power amp components. Please recommend me a preamp without inbuilt DAC (since I'll have it separately).
  • Open to try both Tube and Solid state
  • Balanced inputs/outputs are must
  • Prefer HT bypass functionality
  • Can stretch the budget to $2000 if it's really good
  • Mostly listen to pop music. I like warm sound signature with tight and punchy bass.
  • Trial period is must (country: USA)
So far I have following in my shortlist:
  • Schiit Freya+
  • Topping Pre90
Looking to match it with:
  • DAC: Schiit Bifrost 2, Topping D90SE
  • Power amp: Parasound Halo A21+

Current System:
  • AVR: Marantz SR6014
  • Front Speakers: Paradigm Premier 800f
  • Sub: SVS SB2000 pro

Appreciate your suggestions. Thanks. :)


Active Member
A few obvious ones around your price range:

  • Musical Fidelity M6S PRE
  • Rotel RC-1572MKII - has an onboard DAC but you don't have to use it.
  • miniDSP SHD or SHD Studio - has very good DAC but you don't have to use it. Dirac Live room correction makes this a very easy choice in your price bracket IMO.
Last edited:


Distinguished Member
Frankly I’d totally forget about separate components.

It’s a dead thing in the world of serious, modern music reproduction.

Instead I’d go for one of these. Simple and awesome.

Or one of the new 1120s


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