Best Balanced Solid State/Tube Preamps


In your opinion, what are the best tube/solid state preamps to audition to go with my Ayre V-5Xe and Modwright Platinum Truth 999ES CD/DVD player?
kmiller5
A tube/solid state preamp? In my experience a preamp with tubes is a tube preamp, ones without are solid state.

A balanced preamp to me is one with DIN/XLR inputs and outputs whether tube or solid state.

There are tube/ss balanced power amplifiers with tube input stage and solid state output stage.

Maybe I'll learn something ??
Perhaps the "/" is being used in lieu of the word "or"?

Look into the Modwright SWL 9.0SE. That would seem to be a natural choice considering your digital source, although this is not a balanced design.
Tvad, why did you just sell your Modwright? It looked like a sweet set up in which you put some extra thought and money with the black gates and all. What did you find to work better?

To Kmiller5, why not an Ayre preamp? They are consistently held in high regard. If you search this forum you will find no lack of recommedations for either tube or SS balanced preamps such as Aesthetix, BAT, PASS, Sonic Frontiers, and others.
I own the Aesthetix Janus, which I love, but I've heard they have issues when used with Ayre amps, FWIW.
02-28-06: Mitch2
Tvad, why did you just sell your Modwright? It looked like a sweet set up in which you put some extra thought and money with the black gates and all. What did you find to work better?
Good question. It came down to a matter of flavors. I replaced the Modwright with a Lamm LL2. Each does some things very well, and the Modwright does some things better...more open, larger image, quieter. I wish I had a preamp that combined the best of both. Such a beast probably exists, but I suspect at a much higher price.
The Ayre K-1XE seems like the natural selection to go with the Ayre amp you have.
Yes, I meant tube OR solid state. I love the Modwright unit, but I don't think I am getting anywhere close to the full potential of the Ayre V-5Xe amp using the single ended connections. Hence, I want a balanced preamp. Ayre is certainly on the short list. I just wanted to hear other suggestions before I go audition.

Currently, I am using an Arcam AV8 pre/pro and I have to believe that I am losing a great deal not having a dedicated preamp. Let me know if you think otherwise.
Kmiller5, you mention that you love the Modwright unit. Are you speaking about an SWL 9.0SE preamp or about your Sony 999ES? If you're talking about the SWL 9.0SE, then before you give up on the Modwright preamp, contact Dan Wright and explain which amp you're using. Provide impedance and sensitivity specs for your Ayre amp. Dan may be able to make custom adjustments to the SWL 9.0SE that will put a smile on your face.
I wish I had a preamp that combined the best of both. Such a beast probably exists, but I suspect at a much higher price.

Tvad,
my dilemma exactly - Tim
Kmiller5:
It may be tough to audition, but try listen to a tubed Silvaweld SWC-1000 linestage:

Remote controlled volume, selector, and phase.

Nickel-alloy transformer coupled using 417A triodes.

Separate power supply uses 300B as voltage regulator and
5R4GT as rectifier for ultimate sonics and musicality.

Both fully-balanced and single-ended inputs and outputs.

High purity solid silver internal wiring with teflon insulation.

Ultra-high precision, 31-step silver contact attenuator.

Chassis handcrafted from solid aluminum with engraved lettering.

Frequency response: 5 - 100Khz (-3dB)

S/N : 95dB

This was reviewer Brad Morrical's top choice out of 9:

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue21/wyetech_pearl.htm

If you can find one, let us know what you think!
I'm using an Ayre V5XE with an BAT VK-51SE and couldn't be happier. The BAT matches very well with Ayre. I previously had a Dehavilland Ultra Verve which I liked but it was not compatible with the Ayre. (could not get rid of 'hum'). If you chose another tube pre besides the BAT I would recommend demo-ing before buying.. Good luck.