Conrad Johnson ART.
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Although I am going back to Solid State for multichannel setup, I had good services with Sonic Frontiers Line 3 and 1. They are very natural. Since they don't have their own signature sound of their own, you can add your flavors with different tubes such as Amprex 7308 NOS, etc.
BAT VK preamps are nice also.
BTW, both Line 3 and 1 are for sale. Any interested parties?
"Best" I don't know, but the Sunfire Classic Valve Preamp is one of the best I have ever heard. In particular, it's phono stage is incredible (I use it with a Benz Micro Glider (LO)). The preamp has a very characteristic tube sound (I've been a tubehead since '59) and has a noise floor that is inaudible even with 90dB+ speakers. I drive a 300B P-P amp (Canary Audio) thru JMLabs 915s, and wouldn't think of changing the preamp. The newer models have a very nice remote (volume, mute and power) that controls an ALPS motorized pot.
If you have $2100 to spend you might want to do yourself a favor and check out the Supratek Chardonnay (or Syrah if you want phono - 2400) The Supratek is hand made in Australia. I know it's inexpensive but it is quite easily one of the finest preamps in the world at any price. If you must have THE BEST, I think the owner of the company will make you a remote controlled Cortese for 5000 plus some change.
I will call and find out if he is any closer to making this a reality and if he is willing to let me post the info.
The difficulty is in using only a discrete ladder bridge with precision mechanical switches. This makes building something to "move" this control the issue.
If it was a TKD film pot or digital it would be easy.