Quad 303 is another legendary power amplifier that was made around half a century ago and has garnered immense success. It has provided memorable listening experiences ever since its debut and even to this day, there are still many fans. In the second hard market, Quad 303 power amplifiers are rather highly sought after and you can get your hands on one at a modest price. You might also want to get yourself a matching preamp to partner with this power amp classic.
A preamplifier with matching sonic traits will complement the Quad 303 really well and enable your stereo sound system to perform its very best. This is why we should take our time when searching for one. The Quad 303 is capable of providing us with a clean sound quality filled with musical details and subtle nuances even though it is only 45 Watts per channel into 8 Ohms. The level of sonic details which the 303 power amplifier can muster is really impressive, especially for an amp that was built so long ago. It is really suitable for vocal-centric music as it feels as if the artists are within the listening room with you.
The output power is considered low for today’s standard and the Quad 303 won’t be able to drive demanding loudspeakers. Still, when pairing the Quad amplifier with matching speakers, it is hard to tell that the 303 has this limitation. The music deliveries are smooth and the overall sound reproduction has a touch of warmth. This is a musical-sounding power amplifier and the pleasing sound quality allows us to listen to our music without worrying about fatigue. Matching the Quad 303 with a preamp based on its sonic traits are just some of the potential requirements to look at.
There are more preamplifier requirements to consider as they will help you with your decision. This is also why we will be assisting you by providing a list of the usual preamp requirements for you to consider. When you are done with this checklist, you can check out another list that we have prepared for you. It will be about the best preamps which you can pick and choose to match with the Quad 303 power amplifier.
Your Preamplifier Requirements
As mentioned earlier, the Quad 303 has limited output power and won’t be powerful enough to drive large loudspeakers such as a floor-stander. Unless you are going with floor-standers that are very efficient and have high speaker sensitivities, you will probably be using bookshelf speakers. In order to improve the bass performance of these small stand-mounters, you can get a preamp with dedicated subwoofer outputs. This will allow you to connect to an active subwoofer and improve the overall bass performance of your stereo system. The aesthetics of the preamplifier can be a requirement as well especially if you want the preamp to aesthetically match the vintage design of the Quad 303 power amp. Usually, older generation preamps will have the classic visual designs which you are looking for.
If you are planning to stream music from your mobile devices, you might want to go for a preamp with Bluetooth connections. Requiring a preamp with a built-in DAC will be ideal as well and how high the resolution you need will depend on the types of high-res audio files you are currently using. Preamplifiers with better quality D/A converters will usually cost more and you might want to take this opportunity to work on your budget. The amount which you are willing to invest in a preamp must be comfortable for you and will be wise to have a bit more headroom.
The size of the preamp can be a requirement too, and if you have limited space, you might want to go with a compact size preamplifier instead. Do you only use a turntable to playback your favorite music via vinyl records? If you answer yes, you probably would only need a phono preamp, this will help you to save cost and space as well. You should jot down more preamp requirements on your own and run through all of them thoroughly. When you have vetted the checklist and are firm with what you want from a preamp then kindly take a look below for the best matching preamps to match with the Quad 303.
Best Preamps to match with Quad 303
The Quad 33 will probably be the very best preamp choice to go for and match it with the Quad 303 power amplifier. They were sold together by the thousands and based on their success alone, most listeners will prefer this pre/power combo. Their overall sound reproduction is seamless when partnered together, and there is this classic Quad house sound where it gave us a nostalgic feel. It doesn’t have the high-fidelity sound quality of modern-day stereo systems but it is still high sound quality and the sense of realism is really alluring. If only the Quad 303 has more output power though.
Quad 303 amplifiers do not have their own main power switch and you might want to use a torpedo switch if not you will need to turn off the main switch to turn them off. This is part of the reason why most listeners prefer to use Quad 33 as the control unit. If you prefer newer preamps with all the modern features you’ll need without breaking the bank, you might want to take a look at the Parasound NewClassic 200 Pre. It has a built-in Burr-Brown 192kHz-24 bit DAC, dedicated subwoofer output, and more. The visual design of the NewClassic 200 Pre has a bit of a retro look as well.
The Kenwood Basic C1 is one of the best classic preamplifiers to go with the Quad 303 power amplifier. This is a highly rated preamp that was made decades ago and it is still been sought after even to this day. There are a few audiophiles who find the Kenwood Basic C1 is comparable with some modern-day preamplifiers when it comes to sound quality that is. It does lack the features of the newer generation preamps but if that is not an issue, we will suggest arranging a time to audition this classic Kenwood preamp. The clear and clean sound quality of the Kenwood C1 will pair well with the Quad 303 sonic characteristics.
For listeners who have a limited budget and require a modern stereo preamp with a built-in DAC, then the Emotiva BasX PT1 will be an excellent choice for you. This entry-level stereo preamp has plenty of digital features including a Bluetooth connection supporting AptX and AAC, giving us high-quality wireless music streaming. The built-in D/A converter supports up to 24-bit/192kHz sample rates. There is also a subwoofer output with a fixed crossover of 90Hz. The clean sound quality and tighter bass performance of the Emotiva BasX PT1 will match well with the Quad 303 power amplifier.
If you only listen to vinyl then the Cambridge Audio Alva Duo is an ideal choice for you and your Quad 303 power amp. This is a modestly priced award-winning phono preamp and supports MM/MC cartridges. It has a full-bodied sound reproduction which will match well with the 303 sonic characteristics, not to mention, there is a hint of warmth too. The Cambridge Audio Alva Duo can project a large soundstage and will fit nicely with the detailed music presentation of the Quad 303 amplifier. This phone preamp has a good sense of music timing and will be able to provide a more engaging music delivery.
Matching the Quad 303 with preamps made by the same company such as the Quad 44 will be a great idea. Quad 44 is another well-regarded stereo preamp classic where it is still been adored by today’s audiophiles. The stereo imaging and separation are remarkable, vocals and musical instruments are distinct, allowing us to pinpoint them with ease. Quad 44 has a smooth music delivery and it is easy on the ears, allowing us to listen to our favorite tunes without listeners’ fatigue. If you prefer an enjoyable and relaxing music listening session then the Quad 44 preamp is certainly worth your time to hear them out.
When auditioning used preamps, please ensure it is still in good shape as this will affect the overall sonic performance. You may want to check with the owners on the current state of the preamp before you start auditioning them. The price points of second-hand preamps will vary and is depended on their current working conditions. You might want to audition the preamps together with your Quad 303 within your own home for more accurate testing.