The PREference preamp is a spiky little package. From the “classy” packaging, the feel of the materials used and the controls on the unit, it is just screaming of top notch quality. Using the PREference brings back some memory of the 47 Labs Gaincard integrated amp in terms of the feel and sense of quality. But that is where the similarity ends. The PREference is only a preamp, has more inputs and more importantly have an outstandingly good phono stage that is a ridiculously reasonable, $250 upgrade option. With selectable settings for gain, capacitance, impedance and MC or MM cartridge, this is a phono stage designed to just about handle any kind of cartridges.
Controls on the preamp is simple and precise. It has an airy sound to it with a wide and in-depth sound stage. Mid-range is on the slightly thicker side which kind of contrast against its cold, machined look. But overall, it is a surprisingly decent sounding preamp that combined with its beautifully machined look, is a worthy best buy for its price.