My friend bought a PL2,then tried the 3 preamp.He loved the PL2,but the 3s' soundstage was rather flat-YMMV.
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I have used the AE-3 mkII and the DJH in the same system. The MKII has stronger bass and can be too warm and thick in certain set-ups. It is very smooth on top, punchier and more dynamic than the DJH but the midrange was a bit flat and recessed compared to the DJH which also throws a bigger soundstage. I like my lightly modded, plain ol' AE-3 the best though.
Well that covers the AES series nicely. Do you want to give up the AE-3 :) I notice no one is selling the MKii new or used at the moment so either way I am waiting.....
I would like to stay under $1000, $700 better still. I have been eying the Audio Mirror however 6922 is not my favorite tube, I guess if it doesn't sound sterile as some 6922 pre amps do I would not mind. But if I'm going that way, why not go for one of the 2 Cary SLP-50b pres for sale. I was looking at the Juicy Music but they are over $1000 here on agon. I have never had a 6SN7 pre and am really curious and so many folks like the AES series and it is inexpensive. The trouble with those AES pres is they are gone as soon as they are listed :) I saw the Klimo and there again well over $1000 and I don't have a clue what type of tubes it is running.
Well, don't have much NOS in the way of 12AX7 so I will skip the Klimo for now. I am not aware if the Audio Mirror will allow a 6922. I believe the 61N1 is close but not exactly the same. So far by browsing the Audio Mirror web page I see nothing that suggests I could swap over to 6922.
Anyone out there tried a 6922 in their Audio Mirror?
However my first choice is a 6SN7 pre.
Why don't you try a mapletree 2A SE or 4A SE? I had the 2A and regretted selling mine. Dr. Peppard can customize gain and mods for you. You can also switch between 12sn7 and 6sn7 tubes. I found some awesome 12sn7 tubes on ebay cheap! Construction is a bit DIY but these things sound great. They sell instantly and you won't loose much money either if you don't like it.