Best tube pre-amp below US $ 10.000,00 ?

any suggestions ?
Well, this doesn't help we need to know what equipnment you have. It isn't that simple. One amp can sound grate with one speaker and pre and crappy with another.
Supratek! I feel these preamps are the best value out there. They sound fantastic and look beautiful. Each preamp is hand built by Mick Maloney in Western Australia. He builds models that range from about $2500 to around $8000, both with and without phono stage. I highly recommend getting a phono stage as Mick is known for the beautiful sound of his phono stage.
Try a c-j 17LS2!

Good Luck!*>)
Supratek. Hand built, point to point, and gorgeous. The phono stage in my Supratek absolutely murders my previous phono stage, Aesthetix Rhea, no contest. Downside is you'll wait at least 3 and up to 6 months. That being said, I'm glad I waited.
Supratek! My preamp merry go round stops ever since I invested in one. And mine is not even the top of the line.
My WPP100C, to use Wc65mustangs choice of words, was murdered and slaughtered by the phono section of the Chenin as well.
Wc65mustang: I´ve heard a lot of good things about the Supratek Cortese. Do you think it equals the Converget SL-1 Ultimate´s performance or the Hovland HP-100 ?
Frankpiet, there are big differences between the CAT SL1 Ultimate and the Hovland...on your fine speakers you would hear them immediately.

Since your amp has balanced inputs you might also consider a preamp fully balanced throughout, and there are very good choices within your budget.

I dunno. The only way to determine that is to audition each of them in your system. Hearing them side by side by side at a dealer would be helpful provided the amplification and speakers were similiar (ideally identical) to your own. However the chance that any retailer has both Hovland and CAT is small although you may find one in larger metropolitan areas. Supratek does not do retail so a 3 way comparison is quite unlikely.
Performance vs. $$$ I think Supratek is untouchable as you are saving 40%-50% buying owner direct. All of course IMO.
FYI, I have the Grange not the Cortese.
A used CJ ART II.
I would say a new Blue Circle BC3000 mk2.

Read some of the reviews, I think you might like to give it a try.

Another option would be a CAT pre-amp.

Happy Listening,
Thor 1000
Wright Sound - anyone of them for the money
BRIAN, how would you describe the differences between Hovland and CAT ?

Wc65mustang: would you say that the Grange is in the same league as the Hovland, the Ayre, the Aesthetix or the CAT ?
Is there a big difference between the Supratek Cortese and the Grange?
Frankpiet I sure it's in the same "league" but I've never heard any of them in a direct A/B comparison with my gear which in the ONLY way to know; the bottom line is, it depends on what YOU like. Don't be concerned with reviews and retailers where agendas abound. I've owned ARC, CJ, Dayton Wright, Pass, Harmon Kardon, Dynaco, and Aesthetix preamps over the last 40 years. The Grange is my favorite and more than likely my last preamp.
With regards to Grange/Cortese, again I've never heard an A/B comparison. However there are quite a few Cortese owners here on Audiogon with sophisticated systems who love it. IMO (and this may start a ruckus here) it's difficult to purchase more for your money when you buy a Supratek. There is no retail intermediary adding 40%-50% to the purchase price. Lastly, there are very few used Suprateks on Audiogon. Why? Owners tend to keep them. If you happen to see one posted it generally sells very quickly.
I went from a CAT Mk. III with phono (not Ultimate, of which I understand there are two iterations higher on the food chain than the Mk. III) to a Hovland line stage. In my system, and comparing only the line stages, the Hovland was clearly better, but again, it was not being compared to the best CAT preamp. The CAT was by no means a slouch and had a very good on-board phono stage. I only sold the CAT because it had way too much gain partnered with sensitive amps -- it drove my VAC tube amps to super-loud levels at only 9 O'Clock on the volume control.

Incidentally, the Hovland has unshielded outputs and can be noisy.

Either new or used, there are a lot of very good tube preamps for $10k or under. I would focus on something with a low output impedence that can drive any interconnects and amps (e.g., be careful of the otherwise very fine c-j ART and 16 in this regard) and with a reputation for build quality (e.g., VAC, CAT, BAT).

Also, and this anticipates your next thread, the very best solid-state preamps can layer sound and have a great midrange like good tube preamps, plus, they are almost always quieter, which can be extremely important in a revealing system. After years of playing this game, I settled on a top-shelf solid-state preamp (Rowland Coherence II). The top Lamm preamp and the preamp in the DCC2 are two more solid-state preamps (there are others) that are first-rate and within your budget.
Raquel.Would you consider marriage,to me, at a future point?I would not be able to give you a large gemstone,though,as I'd need the cash for the "Hobby"!!

PS--I've got great ears,and am considered to be a great set-up man!Credentials should,obviously, be considered!!!
Speedy Gonzales: Sorry, but "Raquel" is my wife's name. I was trying to place a bid on a cartridge about five years ago and couldn't remember or find my password for my then-user name. My wife was standing beside me, and, the clock on the auction down to a few minutes and lacking a better idea, we did a new user name using her name. I got the cartridge, and now I get marriage proposals from A-Goners. Sorry to disappoint.
Not there's anything wrong with that.
Oh the Coherence II is one of the greatest sounding pre amps of all time with unsurpassed built quality. A friend of mine who was a dealer until a few years ago has got a full Rolwand set up - very very nice system indeed.

The only thing is - I don´t know if the Rowland matches my Ayre power amp..?
It will certainly "work" with your Ayre amp, as it has a low output impedence of 50 Ohms and 8 volts of output at all audio frequencies (15 volts into 1 khz.) -- it can drive any amp and just about any length of cable.

Whether the synergy will be what you want is another question. I don't know.
LOL :-)
Raquel,So what!The offer still stands!Just as long as I get to choose the equipment!Though I'd have to get my wife's permission!
How about if you adopt me instead.
You know if you guys moved to Massachusetts, everything would be much simpler.
Wyetech Opal. Tube pre with all the benefits of tubes (realism, soundstage, etc.), with none of the downsides (weak or bloated bass, excessive warmth, etc.) Built to outlast the listener and a unique beauty to boot. About $8600. Used to have a Hovland HP-100, great pre but in a different class. Have heard the CJ's but they have in varying degrees the CJ "golden glow". Wyetech is dead neutral. Almost never found on used market, which should tell you something.

One man's opinion.

I second the Blue Circle pre amp. Pretty amazing.
I know there a guy or two out there with tin ears but for my money the deHavilland Mercury 2 is the best preamplifier I have ever heard. Large tubes large soundstage. No sizzle no bacon frying on the stove. Just clean tonally correct music. Yes music. I know that is a dirty word in hi-fi.
Your website shows you as a retailer for the deHavilland. A little disclosure is appropriate here I believe. Thank you.
I tried the Mercury 2 (and sent it right back), and if you are referring to me having tin ears, well - you know what you can do with your shill sales post....
The deHavilland Mercury has given me 7 months of musical pleasure adding more realism and even less listening fatigue to an already excellent system. It is extremely natural sounding. I had the Pass 2.5 before the Mercury. I would rate the Pass 9/10 and Mercury 9.5/10. I think it is a very good value for the money. I have found out many times you have to listen for yourself. Artg was disappointed, but after 40 years of being an audiophile I recommend giving the Mercury a try.
Let me get this straight. If somebody buys a deHavilland from you they are a good customer. Conversely, if a deHavilland does not suit their liking or system they have a "tin ear". Take me off of your prospect list and keep the bacon frying.
Wc65mustang, just be sure to wear a shirt if you're frying bacon :) That reminds me, time to put the brats on the grill.
time to put the brats on the grill.

Isn't that illegal? I usually just take the car away for a couple days.
And to reiterate for the 10th time, I freely admit my experience with the Mercury 2 might have been due to mismatch with the Berning amp (but to be clear, three other seasoned audiophiles had the same exact impression of it IN MY SYSTEM - so it's not only my ears or the stuff between them).

I have nothing but respect for Kara and the folks at deHavilland, and it does not suprise me ONE bit that the merc would be pure sonic bliss in someone else's system! Moreover, i apprecate that they allow a 30 day listen period with full refund if the unit does not match up well with your system. More should do that.
Whats about the Lamm LL2 Deluxe?
I have to agree, the Wyetech Opal is the best I have heard.
Detail,soundstage and all instruments sound so lifelike.I picked up a used one at a great price and changed the tubes. I cannot believe the difference it made to my system as soon as switched out the SS pre. I am using a Linar 250i SS amp and Accustic Arts drive/dac to drive Gershman RX 20. I think I have found what I have been searching for all along.
Coincident Statement Linestage
Best I have heard. Convinced me for the first time, that I could live with an active linestage.Overbuilt like no other in this price catagory. Unique in it's design.
See my review
Just a miss match. I trust you ears. It is OK.

I do understand what you are saying but I want to make it clear that I chose my moniker carefully so that everyone on audiogon would know I a am a dealer. Certainly not ashamed of it. So I won't be disclosing anytime soon. People are not stupid and they can quickly see for them selves.

It might be noted that most every one who posts on audiogon has at one time or another sold something as well or is going to sell something. So if I had a piece of used gear I might have an alias and use that to pump it up.

My point is don't believe everything you read even from the "non-dealers".

By the way I don't care if you buy a Mercury from me or from deHavilland directly or find one on audiogon used. I still love it. It seems to make the music sound approachable. I am not alone......
Depends on the system and how it matches and interacts with your other components. So with that said, there is a lot to choose from in that price range. I certainly don't have experience of hearing a lot of stuff, but I have heard about 20 or so preamps. Of those my favorite is the Herron preamp. Really lit up my system.
>>10-18-10: Sounds_real_audio
I do understand what you are saying but I want to make it clear that I chose my moniker carefully so that everyone on audiogon would know I a am a dealer. Certainly not ashamed of it. So I won't be disclosing anytime soon. People are not stupid and they can quickly see for them selves.<<

Well that is really lame and a complete cop out. Many others have chosen their names "carefully". Here is a list to review:


What do they have in common? All are "audio" related but NONE are dealers like you.

When discussing a product in which there is a financial interest, a disclosure is mandatory.

To not do so is unprofessional but more importantly deceptive to the readers who depend on honesty and integrity from forum posters.
I've not heard any preamp close to $10,000 that does not perform EXCEPTIONALLY well, really. Only issue would be some tube linestages with some SS amps with very low input impedance. Everyone will tell your the favourite, which is likely the one they currently own, and they may very well have different "sound" preferences than yours. Most recently, I've owned great linestages from CAT, ARC, Lamm, Joule, Dodd, Placette Active, BENT Tap, and Atma-sphere - all exceptional, but with my current setup, I prefer my $450 Lightspeed Attenuator and for my preference the best "preamp" under $10,000.

Frank, did you say you tried the Ayre pre with your Ayre amp and thought you could do better? If so, in what way?
I feel that audiofeil is stalking me...................

No, just trying to keep you honest.

It's a tough job.
Would like to add Ayon Audio. Just bought Ayon Spheris with the ReGenerator up-grade - simply put: the best (tube) pre I have ever heard. The smaller Polaris perfectly fits in the sub $ 10.000,00 category and is simply outstanding as well !