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linn kairn w/slimline wersion of the brilliant power-supply is excellent. the fono in the fono-stage wersion is *also* excellent - bettering the musical surroundings phonomena, imho. awailable for <$1.5k, w/fono, even less than w/o. great soundstage width & height. great dynamics, great timbre & transparancy. only shortfall is soundstage depth - this i rectified by going to a tubed preamp. but, i dunno if any s/s pre in this price-range, even used, can approach the total soundstage of a toobed unit...
ps, from my prewious experience w/an older electrocompaniet ec-1a preamp, (changed to the linn for the remote!) & my present experience w/their older *and* newer amps, their ec4.6 & ec4.7 preamps are prolly also worth inwestigating...
Might want to look at the McCormack RLD-1, which blends the smoothness/richness of tubes with the control/quickness of solid state. Big 3D soundstage with outstanding imaging and good detail. The remote is small but works well, and it has a home theater pass-through allowing it to seamlessly integrate into a home theater setup if necessary. Also looks great and built like a brick s**thouse.
If you're looking for something a bit more on the revealing side you should look at the Adcom GFP-750--extremely transparent unit(can be used active or passive) and also has an HT pass-through feature. Best of luck.