Best Balanced and singal ended pre-amp?

Looking for suggestios on my next pre-amp. Needs to be balanced and unbalanced as well as tubed? BAT VK50se would be a consideration if it had rca well as the Hovland looks promising but it's only single-ended. I guess that probably leaves an AR unit to check out, although I'm not too fond of AR's styling. The pre-amp must be easily compatible with a variety of amps, both ss and tubed.
Thanks in advance for your opinions. Phono isn't a must but would be a plus. Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
The Aesthetix Callisto and the ARC Ref 2 Mk2 both fit your description. I have heard both of these units in my own system. The ARC "asks" by a switch on the front panel what you are using at each input, single ended or balanced. The Callisto is balanced, and if you plug into the RCA, it is wired to accept that side of the signal without switching intervention. The ARC is remote control, a huge plus. The Callisto is a fully balanced (4 deck) stepped single precision resistor volume controls PER CHANNEL, making this one of the best volume controls in any preamp. The ARC is a single chassis preamp, making it easier to find space for your other gear. The Callisto is dual chassis, the main unit plus a separate power supply. You are looking at two exceptional preamps, I hope you will find a way to audition both of them, and see which one suits your sonic preferences.
I have a BAT VK-50SE and BAT sells output high-quality XLR-RCA and RCA-XLR adapters. The adapters don't result in any sonic losses other than not getting the benefits of BATs fine blaanced circuitry. I don't consider this to be klugey. The 50SE is a fine preamp and you can't go wrong. Also, I may be selling my BAT VKP5 phono pre soon. This may be a good option.
Don't overlook the BAT. I own it.. and have both single ended and balanced source components going into it. The VK30SE has both XLR and RCA, but the 50se with the connectors is just fine...much better preamp too...
How bout the Atma-Spheres? I tried the MA-3 and it literally killed a Joule Electra 100 at the time, currenly own the MP-1 and it has to be up there with the very best. Have not had the opportunity to do a side by side with the ARC, but frankly don't have the desire. I am fairly familiar with thier line and the Atma-Sphere is in another world. just my opinion.
Thank you all for your replies..The Callisto sounds very promising, but I can't find a web-site for Aesthetics, is there one? Could you let me know what the price is? An audition is unlikely, I will just take suggestions and roll the dice.
melos ma-333/music director had units w/both balanced & single-ended - at least mine does. remote control for wolume-n-balance, too... excellent sound, awailable used (w/o fono) for $2k or less... fono was awailable in a 3rd chassis...

btw, i'd suggest czeching out a pro-audio store for xlr-rca converter plugs - at <$10, a much better deal than the bat adaptors...

Jman. If you point your browser to this site: You will find Aesthetix listed in the header as one of the product choices. The last price list I saw for Aesthetix showed the Callisto pre amplifier at $8000. There should be a dealer link on the Musical Surrounding page that you can click on, to search for a retailer in your area. If you live where there is no dealer, I can suggest a friend of mine, who would probably make you a nice offer. Best luck, which ever way you decide to go.
Thanks for your help Albert (and everyone else as well). The Callisto looks very promising and I'm surprised to see that there may be a dealer in my area. This may sound shallow, but the AR would have to beat everything by a wide margin for me to be able to live with it's recording studio cosmetics.
Another option that is being overlooked is either the Pass Labs X1 or X0. Both units offer both balanced and single ended connections. I believe the two chassis X1 to be in the $5,000 to $6,000 price range while the three chassis X0 is around $8,000.00. Both are extremely good preamps.
sf line 3 is an incredible piece...listening for 2 years and it still seems to be improving its sound quality. i suspect the power supply is still adjusting and therefore the sound is improving. good power ='s great audio. good luck
The best and I really mean the very best, I have ever heard is the ThorTA-100 single ended pre-amp. After numerous years of trial and errors with other very good and again I really mean very good pre-amps, the Thor made the magical connention for my Lamm M2.1 monobloc amps and Kharma Ceramique 1 speakers ,to further add to the magic the Electrocompanient EMC1 CD playback has brought the system into another Stratosphere!!! I truley believe the Thor is the orchestrator of this wonderful miracle , so true to the natural music that I hear,without a hint of a system playing , rather pure music baby. Yeah , this system rocks!!!!