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LD MKIII as preamp, recommended amps

Posted: Apr 8th, '16, 13:42
by PabloF
Being extremelly happy with my MKIII as headphone amp (after some tube rolling, it´s my current preferred headphone amp), I´m now thinking of buying a 2nd MKIII to use as a preamp in my main system and struggle to define with which amp I could pair the MKIII.
I´ve read the existing posts on the subject but still couldn´t build a suitable list of potential amps that are not only technically OK to use with the MKIII (capacitor coupled) but at the same time provide good synergies and a great listening experience.

Would be very grateful to learn from the users who have already walked this way. Any inputs on the matter highly appreciated!

Re: LD MKIII as preamp, recommended amps

Posted: Apr 9th, '16, 08:44
by rockage
Generally speaking you'll have excellent results with any solid-state AC coupled power amplifier. Tube pre-amp paired with a solid-state power amp combines the best of both worlds - tonal richness and high current output!

Re: LD MKIII as preamp, recommended amps

Posted: Apr 9th, '16, 15:48
by PabloF
Thanks for the feedback rockage. Quick additional question: I´m not so knowledgeable about electronics: do you have any tips for me in what to look for in an amp specs to make sure it AC coupled and thus, safe to use in combination with the MKIII?

Re: LD MKIII as preamp, recommended amps

Posted: Apr 21st, '16, 04:44
by Robbie California
Hi Pablo,

I've used the LD MKIII with great success with Rotel power amps. The first one was a RB-971 (70 RMS 8 ohms). The second one was a RKB-250 (50 RMS 8 ohms). I have also used the LD MKIVSE with the RKB 250 and more recently with the RB-1552MKII. All configurations sound great.

Rotel has an excellent symmetry with Little Dot tube preamps. The only negative thing is that you only have one input on the LDIII. My "go around" that problem was to use the Little Dot DAC_1 which afforded me more inputs before going into the pre.

I have also used the MKIV with a NAD 275BEE and that sounded very good too. Very good!

If and when you do get a power amp make sure you turn on your LD MKIII first and let it warm up for a few minutes before you turn on your SS power amp.

I highly recommend the MKIII as a very affordable entry level pre amp. The MKIV is better and I'm sure the MKVI is better still. But the MKIII will surprise you no doubt. I'm going to be getting a smaller power amp and another set of smaller speakers for a secondary system and I'm planning on using the LD DAC and MKIVSE for the preamp/dac setup.

I'm adding a few pics of different configurations.

Re: LD MKIII as preamp, recommended amps

Posted: Apr 27th, '16, 14:31
by PabloF
Many thanks Robbie for this valuable feedback,
I will certainly consider the Rotel tip ( I had a Rotel Amp long time ago. Should have kept it as I still have quite positive memories of it´s performance. Used to pair it with an even older Audio Research valve preamp and the sound was great.)

NOTE: I´ve tried this week an AURA PA100 I had at home (those which were built and sold by B&W). Sound was really nice, but I did get some "pops" upon switch on/off despite having warmed the MKIII and respected the recommended switch on/off sequences.
I´m not sure wether this is related to it´s internal configuration (Amp is already an Antique Piece :); I cannot find proper documentation to dive deeper) or just a non-optimum match between both devices.

Thanks again!

Re: LD MKIII as preamp, recommended amps

Posted: May 14th, '16, 22:27
by PabloF
Just as an update to my previous post:

I had the AURA PA100 Amp checked & serviced.
I´m currently testing this Amp in combination with my LD MK3 (driven by a Meridian CD Player, with Cardas Interconnects) with excellent results.


Re: LD MKIII as preamp, recommended amps

Posted: Feb 10th, '18, 11:18
by MKCBrown93
Did I read somewhere that the MKIII sends out a power surge on power-up, so if you are using it as a pre-amp, you need to power it up before powering up the power-amp to avoid damaging the power-amp?