Alot of preamp questions

Wow, am I ever having a hard time deciding which preamp to get for my system. Sunfire 300 wpc amp, new tube 4000 w/o upgrades, and Legacy Signature lll's. I do have a limit though on cash. I would like to spend $500 but what I'm seeing online for what I hear is good, I'm up to $800 to $1000. I'm looking at Deware ZSLA-1, Grounded Grid Kit, Foreplay wholedeal, ARC(ls2,ls3,ls5) Audible illusions 3a, Adcom GFP-750. Problem here is I don't get to hear any of them, so I'd like to get some input from the pro's out there who have been through similar problems way in there past. Thanks in advance Kelly
Kelly, try to limit your choice with the help of audiogoners here.
When you have your "shopping list" start buying on audiogon when the price is good. You will always have the chance to resell it if does not fit your taste.
In my experience synergy is more important than the amp itself.
Find your milestone product, anchor to it and change the rest.

Hope I expressed myself correctly, I am not from an English speaking country.
Any of the pre-amps, mentioned, would be a good choice! You could also ad some to the list, but would only confuse and make your decision more difficult. All of them sound different, and have different features. Some are bare bone tube, massive hybrids, or solid state. For $500, you wont be able to get Audible Illusions 3 or Adcom 750. You might be able to negotiate ARC. Good Luck!
Another to add to the list is the FT Audio Little Wonder ... a passive linestage that lists for @ $500 new. Hard to beat for the $$$. Should work well with the Sunfire. The Audible Illusions is a very good preamp but if you don't need a phono stage you are paying for this feature as well.
For your requirement, a used Dynaco PAS3 ($150) will do the job (as long as you cut off the tremble and bass connection.)
a phono stage is not required, i decided to get rid of my records many years ago, and it would be too hard on me to try to replace the records that i've had in the past. Line stage is great. I won't go over $1,200 on a preamp, and $700 to $1,000 is more desirable. I like the idea of playing alittle with the sound available by changing a tube or two. I have heard acouple of the preamps i mentioned, I've auditioned ARC LS3, and ADCOM GFP-750. Between the two I perfered the ARC LS3, but the adcom sounded great too. I was wondering if the tubed LS2 sounded better? Thanks for the quick responses, I didn't know this forum exsisted.

I have owned an LS3, LS7 and now a LS2BR. If you like the LS3, you will LOVE the LS2. It is a long story, but I sold the LS3 to buy the LS7. I was absolutely in love with the tube sound. To me, and for my system, the ARC tube line stage sounded wonderful. The LS3 had excellent dynamics and superb bass control. I tried a friends LS7 and immediately fell in love with the depth of stage and smooth and lifelike sound of it. I bought the LS7 and lived with it for about a year. It used 4 tubes, which isn't to bad, if you start tube rolling (which you should do), but it can get expensive if you start going for some genuine NOS tubes. For the record, I tried the ARC factory tubes, Valvo "red" labels, Amperex Bugle Boys as well as a couple cheap stand bys. The Bugle Boys are the best I have tried. The LS7 lacked a little in the bass, but the focus was good, but not as good as the LS3. However, the overall sound and image was, to me, better than the LS3, it was more 3 dimensional.

On a whim, I bought the LS2BR. Its power supply seems larger and beefier to me (If anyone knows if this is true, please let us know!) and only uses one tube. The balanced output was a bonus, since my active crossover has a balanced input. I wanted the remote as well. This preamp is head and shoulders above the LS7! The pinpoint accuracy of the LS3 was back, and the lifelike stage (3D effect) was there from the LS7. The depth of stage and proper size of the artists and the instruments is much better than the other 2. With only one tube, I have quite a supply of tubes, which will last for a long time and tube rolling is less expensive. It is much more sensitive to different tubes though.

I haven't heard the other pre's you have mentioned, but their reputations are very good. I would recommend without any hesitation, the 3 pre's I have mentioned. But for my system and tastes, the LS2 is the best I have had. If you don't need the balanced feature, you can also save a little money and buy an LS2. You have to make a decision if you want a remote, because that model is usually a little more expensive.

This is a GREAT forum, and you will find a lot of advise, from good people. You can also try Audio Asylum as well, there are a couple of ARC experts (self proclaimed!) and the they are very helpful and knowledgeable. If you have specific questions, just email me! Hope this helps, let us know what you end up doing.

Best regards, Matt
Thanks Matt, that was great and very helpful.

ARC makes a great product, and I would not try to talk you out of it, but the Adcom is really an above average performer for the price.
I'm not sure if you're looking at buying new or used but there are going to be literally hundreds of good pre-amps in your price range. The difficult thing is going to be limiting your search farther, and then deciding. Only you can finally decide.
Good luck.
if you don't need a remote the sonic frontiers sfl-1 is a great sounding hybrid preamp available quite inexpensively. by now, you may even be able to get an se version in your price range. i loved mine with a bryston 4b but i ended up wanting/needing remote
Kelly,if you can get by with one input and no phono section
look into a Luminous Audio Axiom passive.They are great!
IMHO the best buy in audio,they sell for between $125-150.
Info can be found at this website.
This little passive Axiom, have you done much comparison with some of the other pre's mentioned in this threat? The only thing I'd be missing is the tube rolling factor and tube sound, which I personally like. I have a Zen SE84C select by decware which I use alone with some DIY fostex speakers, which I really love. But I'd like to get some of that tube sound into my primary system. I'd like to thank everyone for the responses to my question and dog gone it, I've got even more to think about! But I am starting to get it narrowed down. I'm going to just go used as mentioned and if It doesn't do what I'm after, then let it go and try again. I'm now using an old adcom pre that just really put's up a veil over my music. It was very noticeable when I auditioned the Adcom GFP-750 and the ARC LS3. Thanks again,
Kelly,I can only compare the Axiom to equipment I've owned.
In my opinion it is superior to my NAD C350,and the Space
Tech Lab QA-001 that I recently sold.Both sounded very good
in my system.The Axiom has excellent detail and dynamics
top to bottom,and a wide, deep soundstage.
Thanks Irwin,

For that price, it's at least taking a look at. Especially if it's as good as you say it is. I have to say, I kind of like the active sound of some of the tube amps. I would probably like what I'd get from a tube pre also.