Best SS preamp for FetValve amp?

I'm seriously considering buying one of Frank van Alstine's FetValve amps. My friend has had one for years, and I've always been impressed with the way it plays music on his Shahinian speakers. I happen to have the same speakers so I've got a pretty good guess that it will work as nicely in my setup if I pick the right preamp.

He uses a Quicksilver pre. It's a beaut, but I absolutely do not want more tubes to worry about. A tube pre for me is a non-starter. However, I do want to find a SS pre that works well with the FetValve. The two together should provide an open, liquid presentation, good soundstaging (width and depth), natural and complete extension from low to high, excellent transient speed, all the usual stuff. I'm not partial to either a "dark" or "bright", "soft" or "hard" sonic presentation. It should sound like the real thing (simple, yes?).

The pre also must have either a stepped volume control or a HT bypass. Dual outs would also be nice, but is not a deal breaker. It could be new or used, but I think my limit on the pre would be about $2K or a bit more.
generally the valves in a preamp are trouble free. i would however email van alstine for advice and alternatives......
A classe DR 5&6 series preamp's. Very reliable, with tube like sound and phono to boot, at a very reasonable price.
Jaybo, Frank of course recommends his own preamps, but his SS jobs don't seem to have the same buzz as his amps and tube pre's.

Schipo, I recall Classe equipment having a warm, but slightly closed in sound. Do you have any recent listening that might give me a newer sense of how they sound?
my thought was for his tube pre......check out 'musical design' and another thought(and a great deal to boot)is the forte ss pre
I have a Audio Research SP16 tube preamp and love it. It cost $2000 without phono and $2500 with phono (which I have). The SP16 has 2 sets of outputs, a HT processor, full function remote and a immence sound stage. I have a Classe model 4 preamp in my bedroom and brought it out into the lvg room for a comparison against the SP16. There was no comparison, I put the Classe back into the bedroom right away (which does fine there with a little Adcom power amp and small Alon speakers).
I may switch around power amps but my SP16 is there to stay. I have it coupled with Quicksilver Silver Sixties and Vandersteen 2CEs (I'm looking to add a Vandy sub soon).

Hi Tonyptony,

I was just wondering if you solved your preamp problem yet?

I would also recommend you listen to the Musical Design SP-2B Signature or Platinum pre amplifier.

For what it's worth I'll share my experience this weekend with the MD SP-2B and a few other amps.

I just spent the weekend playing with the SP-2B hooked up to the Van Alstine OmegaStar 440Ex Amplifier and the Musical Design 75-B amplifier.

The VA and the SP-2B sounded very nice together. The 440 had plenty of power to spare, decent imaging, good bass etc. I gave them both two days to warm up first and my feet were definately tapping.

After that I put in the Musical Design 75B 75 watt ss amp ($900). There was a huge difference in the upper registers. Much more detail and decay on the cymbols, piano and guitars. Images were a little less defined, but had more space around them. Sound stadge was deeper and more realistic. Bass and Midrange were as good as the VA. The only problem was that it was only 75 watts and when listening at higher volumes it lost control a little bit during challenging passages of music, not much but you could notice it. The 440 did better at staying in contol during large passages and at higher volumes. but over all, I found the MD more musical and more involving. In the Musical Design, I have never heard an amplifer that has that kind of detail and imaging for any where near that kind of price.

I if had to choose between the VA and the MD, I would choose the MD. In fact, after switching back and forth about 4 different times, over three days, between the two amps, today I made the last switch and I will stick with the MD. Although, I'm now temped to try their D150 model which has twice the power. Don't get me wrong, the VA was still a very enjoyable amp and I liked it a lot more thought I would.