My current system: PT-100 preamp XPA-DR2 Amp Polk Audio RTI A9's
I'm using Tidal for streaming and driving that through an NVGA NU Audio Sounds card.
It sounds pretty good but not as amazing as I hoped. It's crystal clear and does not distort at basically any volume, however the bass is not as powerful as I would like.
I think for my tastes I just chose the wrong speakers. I would like to try some Cerwin Vega XLS-215s, but I thought I should ask about the preamp selection as well.
Thanks for your time.
Since you went with the DR2 for your amp, I probably would have gone for the XSP-1 to have a Differential Reference path. But I think you’re right to look at speakers first, as a change in preamps will be subtle (though I did have an XSP-1 and thought it sounded great).
Last Edit: Jul 7, 2019 7:49:08 GMT -5 by AudioHTIT
At $498 I can't recommend a pair of T1 enough, the tweeter is much more impressive and resolving than the domes in the RTI Polk's, and from my experience the bass is really good as well but depending on what your bass needs are a sub is always a great addition as well, even two subs. I'm not sure I would go with Cerwin Vega speakers, they are more of a high db party speaker imo from when I have heard them in the past but we all have different tastes so recommending speakers can be a difficult thing. As I mentioned though the T1 at $498 is the deal of the century, or the T2 is also on clearance for $799 which will have even more lower end I just have not heard them so I can't speak directly of them but same tweeter and mid driver but two 8 inch bass drivers instead of two 6 inch in the T1.
I've owned both the PT-100 and the XSP-1 (in fact, two of the former and at least three or four of the latter).
I'm assuming you're asking about sound quality differences and not features ones? The answer isn't easy because the preamp is never at the source or destination - It's just the middle man. There are also two divergent schools of thought about what a preamp ought to be. One says that the preamp should be the proverbial "straight wire with gain" but with input switching thrown in. On the other side of the coin are those who contend that the preamp should actually improve the sound - what comes out should magically fix the flaws of whatever went in.
Think of the first group consisting of those who consider it heresy to mess with the input signal in any way, the second of those who LIKE being able to change the sound with features such as tone controls, built-in equalizers, rumble filters (for those with feedback-prone turntables), and/or bass-management crossovers.
The XSP-1 is a "straight wire with gain" preamp for those who want extensive features. The PT-100 is intended as the economy version of the XSP-1 (but with a DAC and a tuner).
IMHO, the PT-100 has a bit of a sonic edge over the XSP-1 despite the latter having better specs, more features, and a higher price. Many will strongly disagree with this statement. And the disagree group is absolutely right! How can that be? The sound of the two preamps is more dependent on their associated equipment than on the inherent "sound" of the preamps themselves. Find a good match on the front end and/or the power amp, and the two devices can switch that "best" title back and forth. The compatibility with the rest of the system matters far more than the individual sound of the preamp.
That said, there are some (very, very few) preamplifiers that have attributes that both the Emotiva products lack. Since these preamps change the input sound so much, they are, on a measurable basis, not as "good" as the Emotiva products (but only if you measure goodness in terms of fidelity to the original signal). I've discovered over time that sometimes I don't prefer the original signal. I want "better." As in better imaging, wider soundstage, deeper soundstage, higher dynamics, etc. So you could say that I prefer a preamp that "adds excitement." Accurate? No. A pleasure to listen to? You bet'cha!
The two favorite preamps I've heard are the Frank Van Alstine modified Dynaco PAS tube preamp from the 1970s (now available used only) and the Chinese-made, Audio-GD brand, HE-1 model preamp (that I'm now using). But just because these two products sing in my system is no guarantee that they'll do the same in yours - remember my comment on system matching.
So PT-100 or XSP-1? You need to do side-by-side listening. Wish there were an easier way, but...
Happy Shopping - Boomzilla (name not indicative of listening preferences)
Last Edit: Jul 8, 2019 5:25:39 GMT -5 by boomzilla
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