best preamps

can someone recommend best preamps
The question should be how many people post here for that will be the number of best preamp recommendations you will receive. 
I like the Atma-sphere Pre.  It has to be one of the best.
The best ever? The best in a specific price point??? Do you have an unlimited budget?
arc ref10 audio note m10 pass labs xs preamp
those are the top 3 i would look into getting if I had an unlimited budgetI'd also probably get a coincident statement linestage to compare as well. irritating that it doesn't come with a remote though so i'd probably go for the above mentioned 3
Audio Research Reference 10 linestage, Dan D'Agostino Momentum linestage preamp, Naim Statement NAC S1 linestage preamp. 
I have owned all the above 3 preamps and currently using the Naim Statement NAC S1 preamp paired with the Naim Statement NAP S1 monoblock amps. 

First I had the D'Agostino Momentum linestage preamp paired with 2 pairs of D'Agostino Momentum M400 monoblock amps driving the Wilson Audio Alexx speakers, then later on I traded in the D'Agostino Momentum linestage preamp for the ARC (Audio Research) Reference 10 linestage pre and preferred this latter combo better on the same Wilson Alexx speakers. 

And early this year I went through significant upgrades with my 2ch setup and decided to trade in both the ARC Ref 10 linestage pre and the D'Agostino Momentum M400 monoblock amps for the Naim Statement gears, which consist of Naim NAC S1 linestage preamp and a pair of Naim NAP S1 monoblock amps driving my new Magico M6 speakers.
My Naim Statement gears have great synergy with my new Magico M6 speakers. They pair really well. 

The Naim Statement gears are in different leagues and is a significant step up sonically and performance wise from the ARC Ref 10 preamp/D'Agostino Momentum M400 monoblock amps combo but the increase in prices are also significant. The Naim Statement gears are cost-no-object design gears and cost a fortune, and if you have the budget I would highly recommend them. 

You must have a remote!
HmmmmDa Best?I like CJ tube pre myself. Sounds great with both tube and SS amps.
unlimited budget: Exemplar Exception SE Line
Joule Electra LA range
Convergent Audio Technology 
EAR Yoshino
Parasound JC2
Mark Levinson 380
First Sound

I have a Joule and I've had the Funk. For unbalanced and dollar for dollar, the Funk at $1100 is stupendously good.

Best meaning???  What are you looking for the preamp to do in your system?
I’m new at posting to the forum, but is this a real question?  There are so many variables and so many unknowns to the OPs intent to the question.  
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The best is the TriangleArt preamp IMO.. I love it and have not heard anything better! If you get a chance to demo one, I’d highly recommend it.. 
I think caphill has an unlimited budget! with envy here.
Ayre is fantastic,  Stereophile Class A and Made in USA. 
Levinson and I heard a top line SIMAUDIO Moon that sounded fantastic.  There are lots of great choice. Read Stereophile recommended components 
Best I've owned and (IMO) two of the best made.
Tubes, BAT REX
SS, Audionet PRE G2

Quoted: @rocray
The best ever? The best movie in a specific price point??? Do you have an unlimited budget?
Best according to your experience. And Yes I have unlimited money :)

Good to see you. I have always wanted to audition the B.A.T. Rex and Audionet PRE G2.   Happy Listening!
Drop an email to David Berning to see if he will build you a Pre One.
"And Yes I have unlimited money :)"

Hook up with caphill and go from there... 
Everything depends upon your ROOM.  All the pre-amps mentioned here are wonderful in some ways and not so much in others--see the qualifying comments supplied with the recommendations. 

Your ROOM is the main determiner of how your total system sounds to you.  

Have your dealer loan you several with your existing system, should you be happy with it, and you will figure out what is the "best" pre-amp FOR YOU in YOUR ROOM with whatever you have in the rest of the system and with the music you like to listen to.

Kind of like asking, "which tires are the best for my car?" 
Answer: It depends.

The world today is a bit more complicated than it used to be. A person has to be willing to read and study and then experiment to find the "best" of anything.  Naturally, tires are a bit easier to pick than pre-amps, which don't cause you to crash your car. Tires either perform under given conditions on a given car or they don't. Pre-amps, on the other hand, can be measured for performance, but "sound" is subjective. 

Some of the preamps that have been mentioned have output impedances that are too high at some frequencies to be optimal (or even suitable) for use with some power amps. Some of the preamps that have been mentioned have input impedances that are too low to be optimal (or even suitable) for use with some source components. Some of the preamps that have been mentioned have too much gain to be optimal (or even suitable) for use with some combinations of source components, power amps that have high gain, and speakers that have high efficiency.  Some even have too little gain to be suitable for use in some systems.

An indication of what associated components the preamp would be used with would result in answers that are more focused.

Good luck. Regards,
-- Al
So let's see about 24 responses to the OP and around 27 suggestions......that seems right!
A very general question will only yield a very general response. In addition, there is no "best", only a best for you. 
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Sorry, but I don't think your question is a good one. There is no "best." If there was, all of us would own the same brand of preamp!
The latest McIntosh C52 is a sleeper. Remember you have to use the included equalizer  to compare with other more ´´ tiped up ’´ preamps out there. Makes a good match with brighter speakers like Focal or Magico.

When you said unlimited budget, how far do you want to go? Are you looking to get just the linestage preamp or the entire setup and system? What are your current setup and system? Did you already have a setup or trying to start from scratch? 
Without knowing the rest of your gears, If you already have a setup, it's hard to make recommendations. 
I love my McIntosh C2200! Used under $3500. 
Unlimited budget means a call to CAT, MBL, or dartZeel... they can hit $100k if you want to burn some cash
Unlimited budget could mean a call to Naim Statement gears, Boulder, Tidal, MBL, Soulution, CH Precision, Burmester, D’Agostino Momentum series, etc. They can hit close close to a million dollars for the shoe setup and system.

Refurb Audible Illusions L3A linestage or Modulus (w/ phono stage). Tubes. 
I can not recommend Best preamps because that company went out of business years before I could afford one.    Sometimes you can find a used one on Ebay for a cheap and may be worth a go to find out for yourself first hand.   Why a Best preamp?  There are so many good ones today, why bother?
I say PS Audio Signature PreAmp, it’s $6000.00 but worth it. It works great even with high efficiency speakers. Mine are 97db efficient and there are several YouTube videos about the making and the sound. 
Original Conrad-Johnson ART
The Sutherland Engineering N1  
To my ears, after having owned Gryphon, being familiar with Soulution, have heard MBL and some others, CH Precision L1/X1 is the one.
Esoteric C-03 was in 2012, best prë-Amp ( ever) worldwide. 
Audio Note and Audio Note Kits L3 with upgrades built in like this one with upgraded transformers, volume control, wiring, and capacitors. is the personal unit of the ANK US Rep and was professionally built.

Supratek makes some very good preamps as well.
+1 for CH Precision L1+X1, i'm considering this one for myself.Otherwise you have Aries Cerat Pondera Reference and Robert Koda K-15EX.

Clearly there is no “best” but I love my Concert Fidelity preamplifier 
Conrad-Johnson GAT Pre and the new ART amps.  Superb.

Shindo Giscours Western Electric 349A Tube’s. 
I was only referring to the preamp. At that price level, you would be able to get a 1 off custom project. CAT is especially known for doing custom.

I like Soulution and Boulder for amps but not much else.

Other than speakers and very large power rated amps, there's not much benefits beyond $10k per component anyways...

Building a good room, assuring good clean ample electrical, and matching components are all that's needed.

All the extra money gets you is a little room to mess up and sound decent...

Oh, or status...
VAC Master, on a more robust budget, and VAC Renaissance 5 on a tighter budget. Both are extremely natural and musical. Mates great with both tube and solid state amps as they are transformer coupled at input and output. Highly recommended!  
While I’m an ARC fanboy,  I  know that preamps are only one piece of the puzzle. Speakers, amps, wires, spinners, tubes, ears, etc all make a difference.