3 great tube preamps. Which would you purchase?


I’m currently looking at a used VTL TL-5.5 Series II Stereo Tube Preamplifier
Don Sachs 65N7 Preamp (new), and last but not least LTA Microzotl Preamp - new. 

I like Ike the fact that the VTL has balanced outputs. Which the 65N7 and LTA Microzotl lack. 

My current amp - Bel Canto Ref500s. Has the option of XLR or RCA for input. I like the idea of going all balanced with my set up. 

Its not mandatory to have an all balanced system if one preamp lacks xlr outputs. It’s more of what will work best.  It’s a heavy investment for me. Regardless of which one I will purchase. I like to set it and forget it. Upgrading every couple of years is despised as much as clothing shopping. 

Price is not always indicative of quality. All three mentioned are great contenders imo. All fluctuate a bit in pricing. If anyone could chime in, stating which preamp they might prefer would be greatly appreciated. 

It’s a safe assumption all have their own sound signature. I’m looking to round off the class d sound a bit. It’s not overtly bright. Though I’ve heard the tube sound. I know it will be a game changer in conjunction with my current equipment.  Very curious to know what the communities take would be on this post. 

I have a very basic set up.  
MacBook Pro 
Dynaudio Special 40’s
Bel Canto Ref Link
Bel Canto 3.7 Dac
Bel Canto Ref500s / most recent build. 
interconnects, speaker cable, and power cords are holding up well. 

Turntable preamp to be determined in the future. 

My kind regards,


@jred You might check and see if any of the balanced preamps support AES48 which is the balanced standard. If they do you will get the benefits of balanced operation- immunity to cables, longer distances possible, lower noise even in short runs and so on. That goes away if the equipment doesn't support the standard, and IME most high end audio does not, although there are tube preamps that do.
To me, the LTA and Sachs preamps represent something really special sonicwise that far transcends connectivity type.  I honestly don't know which one I'd choose -- probably come down to features and/or price, but hard to see going wrong either way.  If you're hell-bent on going balanced for some reason, my first choice would be Ralph's MP3 like this one...

There's also Backert, which is also really good, but I wouldn't choose it over any of the above.  Best of luck. 
Of the three you mentioned I've only owned the DS.  If you're looking to "round off" the sound -- not sure what you mean except maybe you need a little smoothness or sweetness?  IME, the DS has great detail that pairs better with a tube amp than it would with class D.
Hi jred,
balanced or single ended as consideration is not a must  and all depends on the topology of each specific component. Which is best i cannot say as i do not have any experience on DS and LTA but try to listen to all 3 of them, since preamps are truly vital n the chain.
Look at DeHavilland electric amplifier co .
 Ultraverve 3 or the Mercury. Kara the owner has stellar customer service. She will answer all your questions . Stay away from VTL very poor customer service.