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,



Thank you for mentioning the LTA pre. It was on my list. The Herron 360 and the LTA pre are probably two of the best pre amps on the market at their price point. 

Down the road I’ll be able to audition the LTA. At the same time all is subjective. I’m sure all of the reviews were more then warranted. 
Awesome review. Start saving for Keith's phono, it's that good! Can I leave it on all the time too? 
Correct. It’s a safe bet that the Herron pre phono stage can be left on 24/7

I would call Keith Herron just to confirm- to play it on the safe side. 
I just pulled the trigger on Keith's phono - VTPH-2A.  Impressed that he inquired into the cart and line stage I'm using so he can provide the best range of loading plugs and also to be sure input/output impedances match.  I suspect by the end of summer I too will be looking into the VTSP-360 as a line stage upgrade.  
@three_easy_payments, I and many others have had the same great experience with Keith Herron. I called him looking for a VTPH-1mm for my very high output cartridges (5mV!), and he just so happened to have one that had been traded in. He optimized the phono amp for my cartridges not just by substituting 12AT7’s for the second pair of 12AX7’s (decreasing it’s gain by 2dB), but also by installing the capacitive and resistive loading I requested. He then sent along the unused pair of 12AX7’s, in case I would need them in the future! He also went through the entire circuit, not just to insure it was working perfectly and meeting its’ specs, but also to incorporate the improvements he had made to the mm portion of the -1 version, to bring it up to it’s (then) current -2 status. He then burned in the amp, and tested it again. And then sold it to me at a bargain price. What a guy!