Tube Preamp with Solid State Power Amp


James Sullivan
Unregistered guest
Hello I am very new to this and am putting together my first system. I recently bought an NAD c270 which I think I got a pretty good deal on. I am looking for a pre amp to pair with this power amp. I have looked at several different options and have decided that I can do better than the matching NAD c160 (or c162) for the money.

I have been looking into some fairly inexpensive preamps both tube and solid state, which leads me to my little dilemma. I have heard mixed advice with some saying that the output impendance of the tube pre would be too low and cause distortion. OTOH some others say that tubes are the only way to go and would greatly improve the sound of my ssytem. The main tube pre I'm looking at right now is the Space tech Lab QA-001 (

I know that tubes require a bit more work and maybe some research on new tubes but I have heard that the rewards are great. Has anyone had particularly good (or bad) luck with a tube pre/ss power? Would I be better off just going with a decent solid state pre or should I go for the tubes?

Also, what are some good pres that I should look at?


Silver Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 784
Registered: Aug-04
See the following link. Kegger, a regular forum contributor has much experience in this area and would be more than happy to offer you advice.

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

Whoever told you that tube pre amps have an output impedance that is too low is wrong. Typically tubes have a higher output impedance than transistors. And a mismatch does not cause distortion but can affect frequency response and dynamics. But that shouldn't be a problem, most tube pre amps can easily drive the inputs of a solid state amp with no problems what so ever. The mismatch can occur when a transistor pre amp with low output impedance (600 ohms or less) is asked to drive a "classic" tube power amp with a 250 Ohm, or higher, input impedance. You should find someone who knows more about what they are talikng about insted of stating things they do not understand.
If you will read the posts before and after the link provided above you will see the discussion of tubes and tube selection that Kegger and I had before he bought his first tube pre amp. A little reading there will be worth your time. If you have questions, post them on that thread and Kegger and I will both be happy to help.


Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1650
Registered: Dec-03
agreed with the above posters james.

until i actually used a tube preamp in my own setup i didn't know
what i was missing.

a local hifi guy here in michigan swears by tubes
so i was very intrigued.
i realy liked what i was hearing but until i got involved and with
many a discussion with jan i jumped in head first.

I now have 4 tube preamps and 7 tube amps. the sound is a whole new
and excelent experience!

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