The 7 Best Stereo Preamp under 1000 Reviews in 2020

Today I am trying to help you find the best stereo preamp under $1000. I like you am a huge music fan and love listening to my records in the best quality my budget allows for. A grand is a nice chunk of change to be able to upgrade your setup with and I am sure we can find you the perfect stereo preamp that is really going to rock your house, no matter the kind of music you like.

I was lucky enough to get the chance to try a few stereo preamps out and I have also chosen a few I think look cool. I am not pretending to be some kind of fancy audio engineer! I am just a music lover like you and I will give my honest opinion on each one of these.

Enhance What You Have

Some people make two main mistakes when it comes to getting a new stereo preamp. While we are looking for the best stereo preamp under $1000. It is important to note that you also have to take a look at what you already have. A stereo preamp should enhance your already existing setup so you need to make sure the preamp you like the look of is compatible with it.

An easy mistake to make is thinking that you can go and get a record player for like 50 bucks from Walmart, connect it to a stereo preamp and then have concert hall level sound. I have seen preamps work wonders before, but you always have to be realistic.

The 7 Best Stereo Preamp Under $1000 Reviews

I have had a great time (just ask my wife) blasting some of my favorite records with the help of some of these stereo preamps. I have no doubt that if you have 1000 bucks to play with that one of these stereo preamps will really kick your music into another level.

  1. Xtonebox Silver 6011 Integrated Tube Class D Music Stereo Amplifier
  2. Denon PMA-800NE Stereo Integrated Amplifier
  3. NuForce – AVP-18 – Preamp/Processor
  4. Vincent Audio SV 500 Hybrid Integrated Amplifier
  5. Alpha Design Labs Esprit USB DAC and Digital Preamplifier
  6. Marantz HD-DAC1
  7. Pro-Ject – Phono Box RS – MM/MC – Phono Preamplifier

1. Xtonebox Silver 6011 Integrated Tube Class D Music Stereo Amplifier

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Pros:

  • Awesome retro design
  • Made very, very well
  • Sounds like a million bucks
  • Asking price is exceptionally reasonable

Cons:

  • That awesome retro design might not be for you
  • May require a little tweaking to get the sound you want

Now granted the Xtonebox Silver 6011 Integrated Tube Class D Music Stereo Amplifier could have also made an appearance in a list about tube preamps, but this thing is really cool! Let’s start with the obvious fact that this thing looks really neat. I love the old school almost 1950s style that they went for with this, even the tubes do not look out of place at all here. It looks like an old radio that your grandpa would have had back in the day. The asking price for this currently is $693 which I think is a good price and well under our 1000 bucks price limit.

I hooked this up to my setup in no time at all, set the dials how I thought they should be and then I decided that doing the honors would be We Can’t Dance by Genesis, specifically I Can’t Dance. It sounded great and while I am sure a little “work” would have gotten the sound even better. It was warm, clear and very crisp. In general, I was super impressed with how good this thing worked. I even setup my CD player to it and was pleased with the sounds coming from that. I really cannot think of anything bad to say about this!

What Other People Are Saying

There is a YouTube channel called Eden Audio that has a gushing video showcase of this. It really does such a great job in showing off just how amazing this thing looks and works. Actually, I dug around a bit and I really could not find any negative comments about this thing which is always a good sign

I am very happy with the Xtonebox Silver 6011 Integrated Tube Class D Music Stereo Amplifier. It starts our quest for the best stereo preamp under $1000 on the best foot possible. While I love the retro design of this, it is really the sound that is the star of this. No matter what kind of music you are into. I do not have a single doubt that you will love this!

2. Denon PMA-800NE Stereo Integrated Amplifier

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Pros:

  • It is built very well
  • You can get some extras for this such as a CD player
  • The sound can be very, very good
  • Works great with movies, TV shows and games too

Cons:

  • Some people have mixed feelings about this
  • That black design is a bit on the 80s side

What we have next for you is a jack of all trades and the Denon PMA-800NE Stereo Integrated Amplifier is something that I think looks really cool. While it does say “phono preamp” on the label, do not be put off as this is going to make not just your music, but your movies and TV shows have some major kick to them when pumped through this. It comes in a few different “packages” but the one I got was just the amplifier on its own and this currently goes for right around the 600 bucks mark which I feel is more than a fair price.

To say I put this through the ringer is a major understatement! I first tested it with the PlayStation 4 and loved the deep and booming effects, but as a music lover, I, of course, had to get my trusty turntable and favorite speakers all set up. I went for a very recent pressing of The Eagles Greatest hits with this first of all and it sounded epic. There was some real crispness to the sound and that was without any input or fiddling around from me at all. Movies as well sounded great when used with this. I think that this is the kind of thing that is ideal for a person with a home theatre or a game room.

What Other People Are Saying

I did find a pretty detailed video review on YouTube for this. I am not exactly sure I would agree exactly with what this gentleman says, but he does make some very good points. What I did find very interesting was the comments sections where a lot of people talked about how they played around with the speakers and how the right pair of speakers are required to really get the best out of this.

I was happy with what I was hearing with the Denon PMA-800NE Stereo Integrated Amplifier. There are a few people who are not overly impressed with this, but I think at this price range and as long as you tinker with the setup a bit. You can get some very phenomenal sound out of this.

3. NuForce – AVP-18 – Preamp/Processor

Pros:

  • One of the coolest looking devices on this list
  • It has a very reasonable asking price
  • Music sounds amazing through this!
  • Very easy to use

Cons:

  • Not a ton of ways to fiddle with the sound
  • Some folks have called their customer service into question

As far as style goes, I think that this NuForce – AVP-18 – Preamp/Processor is freaking awesome! I love the LCD display right in the middle, the dials, the way the feet are designed. I just love everything about the overall design of this. Without a doubt, this had to be on my best stereo preamp under $1000 list! The asking price for this is $695.00 as of writing and for me, that is a very reasonable price, especially when you consider the number of inputs this can handle. Now the majority of these are HDMI as this is aimed at a more “all digital” setup, but that is not really a bad thing at all.

Using my large and awesome Sony speakers and Sony hi-fi that I dug out of the attic. I had a great time with this. The first album I tested was the Nirvana Unplugged cd that for some reason I have three copies of. The acoustics through this thing are so, so sweet! I really think that no matter if you are a rock fan like me or if you like some kind of weird dance music. That the sound is going to be amazing. If you are all digital then you really cannot go wrong with this. I am actually tempted to keep this thing and have it permanently hooked up to my Sony setup.

What Other People Are Saying

The only real negative things I have found about this are in terms of the customer service. I would never play that down lightly, but I myself cannot speak of that. I can tell you there are some great real customer reviews for this on Amazon. There is one very in-depth review that is well worth a read. He had this to say, “This is an AV preamp for those who music reproduction and accuracy is of paramount importance.” Which really sums this up quite well.

I can tell from a music point of view the NuForce – AVP-18 – Preamp/Processor really is fantastic. I was very happy with this and the fact that it looks so cool is a very nice bonus in deed. I feel that the asking price is perfect and I am sure if you have a home theatre that movies would sound just as great with the help of this.

4. Vincent Audio SV 500 Hybrid Integrated Amplifier

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Pros:

  • It looks super cool
  • Easy to play with the bass and treble
  • Supports plenty of devices
  • Has a real strong build quality about it

Cons:

  • The black version seems to be hard to find
  • The price is a tad high for my liking

The last one of these preamps that I personally have tested is this Vincent Audio SV 500 Hybrid Integrated Amplifier. At right around the 100 bucks mark this is certainly no small chunk of change. However, as soon as you take this out of the box and hold it, you can tell it is a very well-made piece of equipment. I love how clean and classy this thing looks. The silver design really does make it stand out and look like a high tech and high-quality addition to your setup. It has dials for bass and treble right on the front as well as a large dial for changing the source. Plus, there is a convenient headphone jack for when the wife is sick of hearing Iron Maiden blasting through the house.

I was very excited to check this one out so I got a few albums out to put it through its paces. First up was this bootleg live Bon Jovi CD that I have. I can tell you right now for live music, the vocal clarity and the warmth of the music is just great. I even tried a few vinyl records (bot original and newer pressings) and was happy with the sound I was getting. I really like having dials on the front that let me play around with the sound to get it just the way I want. In all, I am very impressed with this and can say that you will certainly notice an improvement to your sound. The big stumbling block for me is that close to a grand price tag!

What Other People Are Saying

Now granted it is the black version, but check out this product unboxing video on YouTube. You get a real sense for the size of this thing and also how well made it is. If you look around more (especially on Amazon) you can see that folks who consider themselves to be audiophiles really love what this is offering.

I really do like the Vincent Audio SV 500 Hybrid Integrated Amplifier. It works like a charm, looks cool and is very easy to use. Being able to play with the bass and treble is always something I like to be able to do. I do think that the price tag is just a tad high and had it been, 200 bucks lower I actually think I would have had this as one of my top 2! So, if that price does not scare you off, I highly recommend this one.

5. Alpha Design Labs Esprit USB DAC and Digital Preamplifier

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Pros:

  • The small form factor is cool
  • Great sound all around
  • Many positive reviews on the internet
  • Made with high quality components

Cons:

  • It is close to a thousand bucks
  • Not sure everyone will like the design

The Alpha Design Labs Esprit USB DAC and Digital Preamplifier that we are looking at here I did not actually get the chance to test out, but I do think it looks interesting. The price of over 900 bucks does put it close to the top of your best stereo preamp under $1000 list though. From the images, this appears to be more compact in its design and I am sure that is going to be something that a lot of people really do like about this. The two nice big dials on the front will give you a lot of control over what this does to your sound.

In looking closer at this, I can tell that it is made with higher-end parts and that is why the price is what it is. The description talks of a vibrant and captivating kind of sound and I would actually tend to believe that is the case considering how much high-quality tech they have put into here. I get the impression that this is designed to take care of all your sound needs so it will be good for things like movies and video games as well.

What Other People Are Saying

I found a fantastic (and rather long winded, but very in-depth) product review of this that really gets into the nitty gritty of what this thing can do. It goes into all the technical details, but I think this says it best, “Overall, my time with the Esprit was well spent. I enjoy the quality of the sound and the craftsmanship of the design while it was here. It made lovely music on both the analog and digital side of the ledger.” From what I have found online, those who have used this seem to be very happy with it.

For those who do not mind spending close to their 1000 bucks price limit, I do feel that the Alpha Design Labs Esprit USB DAC and Digital Preamplifier is a serious option. It appears that it really is going to make anything that goes through it sound fantastic. Plus, the fact that it is on the smaller side means that it is ideal if you do not want a preamp taking up major real estate in your entertainment center!

6. Marantz HD-DAC1

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Pros:

  • It has a very retro style that is cool
  • Great with headphones and speakers
  • Tons of great feedback about this
  • Price is not bad at all

Cons:

  • The customer service is said to not be the best
  • Can you play with the bass and treble?

While I did not test out the Marantz HD-DAC1 at $799.99 I knew it had to be on our best stereo preamp under $1000 list. The design that they went for with this is really neat. I think that it looks like an old timey radio with that woodgrain effect on the side. It has a little bit of modern flair though thanks to the handy LCD screen located in the middle of the device. One thing that is pretty neat is that as well as a headphone jack there is also a USB port located on the front which I am sure will come in handy for some folks.

I did dig pretty deep into this one and I am happy to say that it sounds like your music is going to be fantastic with the help of this. The people who put this together really knew what they were doing. It does have a volume control on the front, but I am not 100 percent sure there is any way to play with the bass or treble. Still, with that being said, this is made to give your sound an extra kick and some real clarity and warmth. This means that no matter your musical taste, you will be in for a good time with this.

What Other People Are Saying

The best place to go to get an idea of how good this is has to be Amazon. There are tons of positive customer reviews for this. One customer compares it to a more expensive preamp. “Cutting to the chase, right out of the box, my HD-800S & AKG K812 sounded as lush, as full and smooth as the Bryston — with a discernable improvement in the soundstage.” Read through many of the reviews and you will see that from a performance point of view it is 99 percent glowingly positive.

Man, I really would love to check the Marantz HD-DAC1 out for myself. I think that when it comes to the best stereo preamp under $1000. Looking at what actual customers say is very important. Apart from some iffy customer service. I really could not find anyone having anything bad to say about this in terms of the sound.

7. Pro-Ject – Phono Box RS – MM/MC – Phono Preamplifier

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Pros:

  • The design is nice and solid
  • Very easy to use
  • Gives your music a very real and solid sound
  • MM and MC compatible

Cons:

  • It is close to the top end of your budget
  • Design may be a bit “boxy” for some people

While I have not used this exact Pro-Ject – Phono Box RS – MM/MC – Phono Preamplifier. I have used a cheaper model of this from Pro-Ject and was happy with the sound. These guys tend to go for a rather uniform look with their preamps and I am ok with that. It has a nice black finish to it and the little bit of white and the silver of the switches compliments it very well. I get that this kind of boxy design is not to everyone’s taste. However, I do feel that there is a kind of elegance to this.

What I like about this is that it specifies that it is great for both MM and MC. I know that this is the norm these days for a product that costs close to a grand. However, it is cool that they say this in the actual description. It lets you adjust the input capacitance which is going to come in very handy. Pro-Ject claim that this is made for the audio connoisseur and from testing one of their lower priced models I would actually believe that. The higher price tag means that they were able to use some of their more “premium” parts when putting this together.

What Other People Are Saying

People seem to really like this thing. I have read some great and straight to the point about this. “I am very happy with the Phono Box RS. Using it with my Thorens TD145 MkII with Clearaudio Performer V2 Ebony MM cartridge. Sounds great! Highest recommendation.”  And also, “Very good build quality along with excellent sound quality.” Are two examples of people who love this thing. In all, based on what other people are saying, you would not be disappointed with this.

The more budget priced preamp I tested from Pro-Ject was great so I am sure their higher end Pro-Ject – Phono Box RS – MM/MC – Phono Preamplifier is even better. If you do not mind spending close to all of your $1000 budget. I really think that this one here does deserve your attention.

What Is The Best Stereo Preamp Under $1000?

I know it is cheesy and a copout, but I do not think there is a bad one on this list. For me personally, though I think I am going to have to go for the Xtonebox Silver 6011 Integrated Tube Class D Music Stereo Amplifier. I love the retro style of this and even better than that is the fantastic sound quality. No matter what I played with the aid of this it sounded truly remarkable.

A close second would have to be the Xtonebox Silver 6011 Integrated Tube Class D Music Stereo Amplifier. Yes, it is all about HDMI and it is not analogue. However, this is such a cool device that does all that you need it to do. It produces amazing sound and it looks super sleek while it is doing it.

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