$5000.00 To Spend Looking for Tube Pre-Amp

Hi All,

Im lookign at the following:

CLS Line Stage
Used Audio Research
Used Atma Sphere

Any other recomendation? This is for my bedroom setup, Will be running them on Tube Amp and SS Amps Swapping them about.
Shindo Auriges
Please consider the Cayin/VAS Citation I, which is a knock off of the original HK Citation. I have one. Great sound, great value. The I is great for any vinyl fan.
I would suggest you give the new Herron VTSP-3A(R02) a look. I've owned four preamps in as many years (Audio Research and Modwright) and the Herron is by a wide margin the most musically satisfying of the lot. It is incredibly well designed and extraordinarily musical. Seriously, I am blown away by this thing and I'm not generally prone to hyperbolic statements. I'm working on a longer "review" as a way of "venting" my enthusiasm and will post it shortly. Not sure what kind of impedance match it will make with your amps nor what the rest of your system is comprised of but in my view the Herron should be at top of shortlist contenders in this price range.
Another tube preamp thread Dragon_vibe? This is your third thread in 6 weeks looking for preamp advice.

Stop asking how the water is and jump in the pool already!! Get wet, have some fun!! Just buy a frickin' preamp already!!
Used Cary SLP-05 should definitely be on your $5K short list.
I second the Herron Audio VTSP-3a. Great preamp with excellent balanced sound and very musical.
+1 on the Shindo Aurieges. You might even be able to score a used Shindo Monbrison at your stated price point or a little above.
There are pretty much three worth buying in this range, assuming you seek a line preamp only:

Melody Pure Black 101
Valvet Soulshine (6sn7 version)
Valvet L2

All three are 6sn7 based. You can buy them new and they will outperform preamps you can buy used that were once more expensive.

You are getting some excellent suggestions here. Herron is very well respected, and agreed on Shindo from experience. I believe ILS in NY has a Monbrison for sale. It is a used trade in on their website. If you are looking for a line stage only, a CJ Premier 16/2 just came up here the other day. That's a hell of a preamp as well. I had the 16/1, and always loved it.
Great suggestions so far - consider a dehavilland Ultra verve - and save some money. Changed my system completely and made me realize how important the line stage is in the chain.

I already purchased a one for the main room. This one is for my bedroom.
This one im looking to get is for the bedroom. Its going to be paird with Bob 180 monos and Philharmornic 3 Speakers but at the moment im using Danley Horns which i find to be excellent for a pro speaker :-)

Out of curiosity, have you heard the TRL Dude? I believe that is 6SN7 based as well. I only heard it once in an incompatible system and was underwhelmed, but some ears I trust tell me mostly good things.
@Dragon_vibe, what did you wind up buying for the main room? Do you like it? If so, then maybe you should consider another one from the same line.
EAR 868. A phenomenal tube amp. Check out reviews.
Jmcgrogan2 Purity Audio Ultra Series with upgrades to Caps.

It is a overkill for my bedroom.
Well my point is that if you like the Purity house sound, you may well like a Purity Basis model for your bedroom.
TRL dude. Price is supposed to go up soon, so not sure if it will fit your budgetary constraints....
No looking for something diffrent. Its like Pro Speakers, I like Danley SH50 over some B&W 800 series but im also looking for more refined types as well. Like the Salks or Conincident Ref. I like diffrent systems in diffrent rooms.
Dragon_vibe, I take it you want the preamp to support balanced operation?

If looking into speakers, check out http://www.audiokinesis.com These are some very refined and very easy to drive speakers that are also reasonably priced.
Thor ta-1000. I think it is hard to beat at the used price it goes for right now...if you can find one. The new owner is easy to reach and stand up guy.
Yes Balanced is good but not a must. Since its for a bedroom system. The cable runs wont be long.

Well not heard the Dude. but a Forum member here who compared the Dude to the CLS perffered the CLS more. I trust his ears more. The Dude prob is a very good Pre-amp but i feel its not for me.
Think i might settle for th CLS unless someone can claim another pre-amp is better class for the similar money
Conrad Johnson should be on your short-list.
These pre-amps play well (no pun) w/ SS power amps.

Happy Listening!
Dragon, the latest Dude with Dueland cast capacitors is in another league from even the previous generation of Dudes. I experienced that transition.

As for the CLS comparison, that was in a Coincident system, so synergy cannot be ignored. Either way, HEAR it for yourself.

For a bedroom, background music system, this seems like overkill. Get a decent integrated.
I have heard good things about Thor over the years. Did not realize it had new ownership....
The Audio Research Ref3 is a monster. You'd do well to check it out.
There is a used LS 27 listed right now for $4700. According to ARC it surpases the performance of the Ref 3. Particularly if your system is balanced, the LS 27 represents a strong contender in your price range.

While this may not be a concern to you, but consider the resale of ARC. At $4700 if it didn't fit your needs you're out very little.
FWIW if you can get rid of the caps at the output of any preamp it will sound better. 'Better'= more bass extension, more transparent, less coloration.

So far the only preamp mentioned that has no coupling cap (or transformer) at its output is one of the preamps in the original post.
Atmasphere, Which one is that?
02-16-13: Dragon_vibe
Atmasphere, Which one is that?

LOL!! Now that's funny!!!
Jmcgrogan2 there is a few other thread on here which will better serve your wisdom and assistance.
Dragon_vibe, I THINK Atmasphere is referring to Joule. LOL!!!
C'mon Dragon_vibe, you can't really be that slow....can you?

Atmasphere (Ralph) says:
So far the only preamp mentioned that has no coupling cap (or transformer) at its output is one of the preamps in the original post.

Then you say:
Atmasphere, Which one is that?

You have to admit that was funny, unless you were seriously asking the question, in which case it's just sad.

Look at the list of preamps in your original post:

CLS Line Stage
Used Audio Research
Used Atma Sphere

Now, if you think REAL hard, you may be able to figure out which preamp that Ralph Karsten, founder and CEO of Atma-Sphere Music Systems (Atmasphere) was reffering to.

And.......GO.......clock's ticking.......oh nevermind, I'll just tell you.
It was the Atma-Sphere silly.

Dragon_vibe, meet Atmasphere, aka Ralph Karsten.
Im glad you find it all funny, I thought all 3 amps were using caps in the signal path. Thats why i asked which one.
Dragon_vibe, you are getting the same recommendations from the same set of characters pushing their pre in all the threads. Everyone is more organic, detail, musical, bass ...

Are you going to start another thread for a pre in the bathroom, garage ...? I think you have enough info in making an intelligent decision for a pre in every room of the house, office ... LOL!!!
What about a ModWright LS36.5 or a Rogue Athena.Either can be bought for under 5K new.And very nice sounding.
Maybe one for the toilet lol

Iv settled for the CLS. Now im looking for Tube Amplifiers and Speakers. Might Consider the Tannoy Kingdom but lots of recomendation for Salks so will need to research.
Dragon, I thought pre-amps were a waste of money? (http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?aamps&1346098814&openflup&23&4#23):

I've been forced to reevaluate the role of preamps. The best sound I have achieved is result of adding a stepped resistor volume control at the input stage inside of my tube amp.


I guess I hit proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I can not imagine spending $5k or above for a good active preamp, when I'm getting this kind of result. I've heard a lot of expensive active preamps $15k+, and I don't remember getting this level of transparency, neutrality (more warmth and less thinness, like real life), detailed smoothness, dynamics and soundstaging/imaging. I guess all the stars lined up for me. YMMV.

What has changed between 8/27/12 and now? Why not duplicate what you have in your big rig? What does your main rig consist of currently?