I wouldn't rule out the SP-6 either. I have had many of the Audio Research preamps, sp6- sp8- sp9mk1-sp9mk2 sp11. They all do a nice job. Of all I like the sp6-sp8. Each version has had many changes and depending on which revision you are looking for there can be some differences. Hopefully this doesn't confuse you. If you can find a clean sp-6 tha'll be a nice addition to your system.Check all dealers that have sold Audio Research for many years and you may find someone trading up. Check Natural Sound in Framinham, Mass. They sold many peices over the years and occasionally get trade ups of all the above ....Good luck
AVA's new (brand new, this month) (SLR) version of the Transcendence 6 pre-amp will eat, in tranparency, dynamics, and tonality your other choices, and @ $799.00. Add their outstanding phono section @ $200.00. With plenty of inputs and a 30 day money back guarantee (which you won't use)... The transcedence 7(LSR) is worth 4 times its price, easy, if compared to the sculpted aluminum "Neil Fey" chassis crowd. The newer AVA top products simply disappear. Let your ears judge.
I've had about every pre-amp and line stage that Audio Research has sold....I would say that the best phono stage is in one of the three of these, Quicksilver Full Function, Audio Research SP-3A or the SP-9 MK lll.....They all have there high points but are very close in detail and price.....
Great question. I am learning the market for a great all around tube preamp. NO transistors anywhere. I have been thinking about getting the Quicksilver Line Stage because it does not cost too much for a new one, but then I wonder if it will sound much better/different than something old from CJ , say the Pv-10 etc,. Several older CJ PV series preamps are for sale in the $500 range. I DO want great sound though, not just great for the price. I see lots of ARC, CJ and QS preamps for less than $1000 and wonder if there is a hands down winner AND how they would stack up against new preamps. (Does a 15 year old preamp for $500 equal the sound preformance of a brand new $4000 preamp today? Are the giant price run-ups based on improved technology or mostly lack of demand and a shift to richer buyers?
One question - Have you used the B&K in Passive mode. I had one with pass X250 amp and magnepan mg3.6. Then went to a Audio research SP16 and sold it in two weeks and went back to the B&K; in pasive mode it sounded much better. I ended up with the matching PASS Preamp...Remember mixing preamp with an amp you need to make sure the impeadance match up or you wont get the right synergy...
why do you prefer the sp3a and sp9mk3 over the sp10?
I owned the sp8. Have heard the sp9 - not even in the same league.
I replaced my sp8 with an sp11.
All reviews tell you the sp8 will float your boat. This is means thick, lush, beautiful sound. If you want lots of detail look elsewhere.
SP8, 10, 11 as well as 3 and 6 will go up in value I think - they are classics.
Not sure about finding an sp8 for under $1k but if you do try to get the later MKII model.
Sorry I sold my sp8, I needed it for another system. I did buy an Audible Illusions mod 3 and it is very nice as well.
Just my two cents good luck.
I would like the SP-10 if I ever had one , but it is one that I haven't owned....If I get a chance to buy one I'll let you know what I think ... I just bought my third LS-2 Will
The SP-8 is actually an improved SP-6. In fact the final revision of the SP-6E1 is almost identical to the SP-8. I think the SP-8 sounds a little less lumpy in the bass. Also the SP-8 has a tube rectifier in the power supply which can be more gentle to your tubes on turn on, and I think sounds better. I've owned an SP-6B for many years. The SP-6C and C1 versions had less stages of regulation for reliability reasons. I actually like the SP-3C which I now own.I'm not familiar with the Quicksilver product.
How would you compare the SP8/SP6B to your Audible Illusions? Could help but ask....
Sorry question was for CT0517, regarding the difference between SP-8 and the Audible Illusions.
The AI preamp is a very nice preamp for $1k. I find it is neutral sounding - closer to the sp11 in sound than the sp8, and it has a low level filter which is nice.
When I bought the sp11 a few years ago I brought over my sp8 and compared it to the sp11 the fellow was selling and a CAT SL1 that he also had. He was selling the SP11 because it did not have enought gain for purpose.
We listened to all three preamps.
The CAT and SP11 were close in sound from what I could remember. The sp8 was thicker, lusher, tubier - less detail. A nice sound if you like it - many people do and it has a cult following.
I kept the sp8 as a spare and sold it a couple of years later for another project.
If my memory serves me the SP-11 is a hybrid preamp where as the SP-8 is very much an all tube preamp except for some transistor constant current sources and filament voltage regulator. The series the SP-8 comes from include the SP-6 and the SP-10. The SP-6 came out years before the SP-8. The SP-8 I believe and was more of a replacement for the SP-6.