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Preamplifiers

McCormack LD-2 Preamplifier and DNA-250 Stereo Power Amplifier

McCormack LD-2 and DNA-250

In 1997, McCormack Audio was purchased by Conrad-Johnson, known primarily for their fine tube amps and preamps. They have the same high quality and value that Steve McCormack put into his designs in California, but these current products are basically an entirely new line (and are built in Virginia). In this review, we take a look at one of their line-stage preamps, and a stereo (two-channel) power amplifier.

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Emotiva USP-1 Stereo Preamplifier

emotiva-usp-1-preamplifier-teaserEmotiva's new USP-1 stereo preamplifier, at $399, sets a new standard in performance in low priced components. Besides the standard full range outputs, this preamp offers a split output where you can adjust the low-pass frequency for one (which goes to your subwoofer) and the high-pass frequency for the other (which goes to your main power amplifier). This allows you to essentially bi-amplify, and with the low frequencies removed from the high-passed output, your power amplifier will run more efficiantly, not having to waste power on low frequencies that your speakers cannot reproduce. And, they toss in a phono stage that has both MC and MM settings. This may mark the beginning of phono stages being a standard part of stereo preamplifiers, rather than having to purchase an outboard phono stage. Long live LP's! Oh, there's a headphone jack too.

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Parasound 2100 Stereo Preamplifier and 2250 Stereo Power Amplifier

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As I said at the beginning of this review, now is a good time to be an audiophile. The Parasound 2100 preamplifier and 2250 power amplifier offer sound quality across the board so good I would have thought you'd have to pay at least $3,000 to get them. But, at a mere $1800, the Parasounds are a steal.

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conrad-johnson Classic Vacuum Tube Preamplifier with Phono Stage

conrad-johnson Classic Preamplifier with Phono Stage

conrad-johnson (lower case c and j) was formed in the mid-seventies, shortly after I became seriously interested in audio gear. I'm sure the two events were entirely unrelated. Their first product, a preamplifier, was immediately recognized as "state of the art," and so their storied history began. I encourage you to visit their website for more details. There, they provide a long list of products that have been reviewed as "Best of Class", and even "Best in the World."

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Rogue Audio Perseus Tube Preamplifier

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If I have my Greek mythology correct, Perseus was the slayer of Medusa, the serpent-haired Gorgon monster. Using his sword to view her reflection (because we all know a mere glance directly at her would turn you into stone instantly), he was able to slay her in her sleep.

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Parasound Halo P7 Preamplifier

Parasound Halo P7 Preamplifier

The Parasound Halo P 7 Preamp is a problem solver. The problem is the gap between home theater systems and hi-end stereo systems. Many home theater buyers are fond of the stereo systems that they already own (and paid big bucks for), those that don't already have a stereo might find that they can afford a lot more two channel gear than 7.1 channel gear and since 90-100% of their music collection is two channel.. well, you get the idea. But unless you are a hifi nut like me, you don't have a room dedicated to the stereo and another dedicated to the home theater.

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The Preamplifier Review Archives

Visit the Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity Preamplifier Review Archives.

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