Audio Note-Ref II-CAT Ultimate-or Joule Electra

I know, this thread is very similar to one a little further down, but I didn't want to hijack that one. Right now (or the last time I looked--maybe sold already) all of these preamps are up here on Audiogon, except the ARC Ref II which is available to me locally. ALl are roughly the same price (Joule 150 is cheaper). A good preamp is the last necessity for my system. Anyone have any advice? Comments? I live in the middle of nowhere so (other than the REF II) I can't easily get anywhere to audition.
My system: Merlin Milleniums w/ battery BAM, Berning 270's--two, bridged for monoblock operation, Electrocompaniet EMC 24/192 (without the latest upgrade), Quattro fil interconnects, StageIII concepts speaker cable, no power treatment but do have dedicated line, Stillpoints isolation under all components.
Listening preferences--guitar music, which could range from solo classical to, yes, heavy metal to blues.
I know that Joule amplification is usually matched with Merlins, but what about preamps?
I'm presently auditioning a new preamp called the Minimax. This preamp is really special and a bargain compared with all the above. It's very simple with just 3 tubes and 3 inputs (probably why it sounds so good). Extremely musical, dynamic and inner detail I haven't heard in any of my other preamps (I won't mention names so I won't offend anyone). If you are interested send me a e-mail and I'll give you further info.
Go with a Supratek Chardonnay. Liquid but fast like the Berning. Very similar, actually. Joule is a great piece - I own it and Supra - but if you like Nordost with Merlins you might think it is too plummy, even though Bobby at Merlin and Jud at Joule use each others stuff at shows. BTW, both Joule and Supratek will not like the Nordost; they'll reveal its harmonic weaknesses and spit it out like a bad peach. Something to think about.
Asa I had considered the Supratek, and I think that there was one listed on here too, but it was already 'sale pending', so I limited my list to those which were still available. I'm not married to the Nordost, by the way; I also have HMS Gran Finale, it's just that Nordost is in the system now. I posted my system and listening preferences because of 'system synergy' issues, like you mentioned with the Joule and Supratek.
The Audio Note is great. Unfortunately I think no one has heard all of these. I had the Supratek Cortese and the AN is better with no hum problems. I currently have the M6.
Khaki, the hum problem is probably related to your AC power. I had a transformer hum problem with my Supratek and I chased every solution I could come up with. I finally read about the AH! AC OffSet Killer and as soon as I plugged it in, dead silence.

Many others are finding out that this simple device is solving a lot of here-to-fore, unsolvable hum problems.

And BTW, the dynamics were considerably improved upon plugging my Supratek in to the AH!
Hi Gang.Interesting response by fiddler about ac power.What is AH? Cheers.
I agree with Rickjames that the MiniMax is very good.