Balanced Audio VK 31 se
Audio Research LS 16
Audio Research LS 16
The Mcintosh C2200 is not fully balanced, but it is, as Aball stated, an outstanding preamp. I've had it for about a year now and just won't let it go. A recent issue of Hifi+ gave it rave reviews. They honestly did not expect much (Mcintosh, lawyers and dentists...), but were extremely impressed calling it the most fun they've had in a long time.
Supratek is an outstanding tubed pre (says the new and happy owner), but none of the circuits are balanced. Mick will build them with XLR connectors, but it basically would be the same as using an adaptor. BAT would be my recommendation. Remote is an option on these, so check that out. The VK5i would be a great choice. One available now for about $1.750, which leaves plenty of $ for good NOS tubes. It uses 8 6922s and 2 (I think) 5881. Tube life is very good, 10,000 hrs estimated.
You should look at a used BAT VK50SE. I have seen them on this site for around $4000.00. I have owned mine for about three years and is the only piece I have not sold off for something else. The 50SE is upgradable if you decide to do so in the future. One of the very best sounding pre amps out there bar none!!! Good luck
There is a VAC Renaissance for sale right now. It is a true differential balanced input and output. Each input is selectable for single ended or balanced with a toggle switch. The balanced inputs can be utilized even if the source is not a true balanced output. The remote control has volume, mute, and source utilizing motorized switches. If you are tired of hiss and hum and want dead quiet this preamp is for you. The build quality is outstanding plus it's a very eye catching piece. Check the review in Stereophile of the Signature version as I feel it applies equally to the standard version. When I purchased mine, I was expecting maybe something like a 20% improvement over my previous Audio Research preamp but I got like 100% better. This is an outstanding preamp.
You might want to consider the new Aesthetix Calypso which has both balanced & unbalanced (RCA) inputs and outputs. It should be on the market very soon if not available now. It comes with a remote control and is CDN $6,500 which should equate to around US$4,750 or there abouts.
EAR 864 also offers balanced & unbalanced inputs and outputs in addition to the ones mentioned above (Atma-Sphere, Audio Research, BAT.
Bigkidz, if your still using the pass x pre, may I ask what your goals are by changing to tubes? Perhaps this is unnecessary, but please remember the somewhat low impedance load of the Pass amp when considering some tube pre's that may have higher ouput impedances, the SF is unuusally low for a tube pre in that regard.