Classe CP-50/60, Forte F-44 or Threshold FET 10, in no particular order.
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Quad 99 would mate well- take the slight treble edge that generation Aragon tends to have while allowing the spectacular bass performance to go unimpeded.
Another option is the Proceed AVP- it is odd to mention a surround processor but I just did a preamp shootout and listened to 10 preamps in my room extensively and this one was second best and it has a incredible DAC section.
I would stay away from the Halo- it looks better than it sounds in my opinion and while it is not a bad unit by any means it cant compete with the best in this price range.
One more that I would recommend would be a Klyne preamp. I'm sure the Klyne, Threshold, Classe and Forte would all sound better with your Aragon amp than the Parasound or Vincent would.
Of the follow up replies, I would say that Robr45's Quad 99 is the best of the lot. I would avoid the tube preamp reco's, and believe me, I love tubes, owning a tube preamp and amp. However, synergy is very important, and your Aragon has a rather low input impedence of 22Kohms. I know many will speak of a 1:10 preamp:amp input impedence as the minimum, but I would stress that this is the MINIMUM. From my expeiences a 1:50/100 ratio or more is much better, the higher the better. So I would not consider a tube preamp with an output impedence of 1K or more at all.
I also would not consider the Proceed AVP. I have owned many high end Processors back when I was trying to make HT the center of my universe, about 8 years ago or so. I tried many high end models from Proceed, Krell, Classe, etc. While they were great for HT, none could compete sonically on music with a good stereo preamp, like the Classe CP-60, IMHO.
I have a 4004 MKII paired with the "entry level" Parasound
2100. This is for PC source stereo only. The 2100 works fine, but my budget was limited at the time and I bought it to run w/ an ancient NAD 90w x 2.
Probably becuase my speakers have an excellent high end (Dali Ikon6 w/ tweeters and ribbons), I don't have the problem that a previous poster reported with the Halo.
My 2100 cost $420 new on eBay. If I had your budget, I'd be looking for something other than the 2100.
Let us know waht you decide on.
I have not looked that deep into the Quad 99, nor have I heard one. I have heard all the preamps that I recommended, and I'm sure they sound much better than the Quad, however, you did mention that you would sacrifice sonic integrity for tone controls, that's when I recommended the Quad. I have heard some inexpensive Quad speakers that sounded pretty decent for the $$$, so I assumed the Quad preamp would also be decent.
Certainly it will not sound as good as Classe, Threshold, Klyne or even Forte, but those preamps don't have tone controls.....which may explain why they sound better.
the quad 99 has an output impedence of 330 ohms...the aragon 4004 has an input impedence of 22k...
don't know much about this ...will this match well with the one to ten ratio...the seller was kind enough to raise this question...the matching quad amp comes in at 20k,so we think this will be fine...
boston acoustics vrm-90 speakers...