Best tube pre under 1500?

New or used? Tube or solid state?
A tubed unit either new or used. Thanks, Brad
I think the Sound Valves VT-101i at $750.00 is one of the great bargins in all of hi-fi.It has that vintage tube midrange and great bass. IMHO the phono stage in it is worth $750.00. And it was one piece of gear that I didn't feel compelled to change tubes. I preferred the SV to a CJ PV12 and a Audible Illusions mod3A...go figure. Those who like their pre less tubey sounding probably won't like the SV. I buy tube gear that sounds like tubes.Companys like Sonic Research Frontiers, BAT, and AR sound more solid state then tube to me. SV gives you a 30 day trial, and B stock (cosmetic) is only $595.00. It worked great with both SS and tube ampsand if you have a turntable it may be the ultimate no brainer. I don't own this anymore (I'm a charter member of the component of the month club) but a while back I almost bought one, but got a swinging deal on a CJ PV5. If you buy used I don't see how you could do better then a PV5. Even CJs latest offerings are less romantic sounding then their older models. Give me the romance! Show me the love.
Blue Circle BC21 - almost has no other competition at that price range. Utterly musical and open with great naturalness but not too colored. Build quality is superb - no circuit boards, all point-to-point wiring w/Cardas wire, (2) 6sn7's, solid Cherry Knobs & feet, high quality output/input jacks (rca). Watch how quickly a used one, if you can find a used one, gets snatched up. Good stuff, but if you need a phono stage you will have to get a seperate phono unit. Had good sound with the Classe' 47.5 pre also, but after I heard the BC21 sold it :) Good luck.

I've seen your name before...I believe you advised me on tubes for a Sigma dac once. Anyway, I'll look into the Sound Valves pre. What do you think about Rogue pre amps?
For the money i'd check out hand-made, point to point...i've heard there lowest end model and for the money there was nothing that ive ever heard that came near it.
just a thought
Try Transcendent Sound Grounded Grid. The price is $499 for
the kit.
CJ PV12 used for $1000. Excellent soundstage.
Antique Sound. The magic of Antique Sound is it already sounds great with Chinese tubes and they are easily upgraded with better tubes and caps. Good luck.
Either Sonic Frontiers Line 1, about $1200. used, or Line 2 maybe available for $1500. used. Actually, they sound a lot alike. These are excellent pre-amps with great headphone sections, and a cool full function remote. Sound is on the neutral/accurate side rather than "tubey". Craig
You could also land a BAT VK3i for under 1K line only, or more with phono and/or remote. The factory 3i (not upgraded 3) has both balanced and rca inputs and outputs. No headphone section, however.
You might also look for a Joule Electra in that price range. While being a handsome piece it lacks the glitz of some. I've no quarrels with the sonics.
Rogue 99 Used at 1500 or the 66 800/1000
I had mine modified by Rogue to the Magnum version ($250) and switched the stock 12AU7 linestage tubes for E80CCs. Outstanding combination with great transparency, excellent dynamics, wonderful bass and a top notch midrange. Some excellent preamps do certain things real well. This does everything extremely well.
The Anthem pre2L is a lot of bang for the buck. Well built, easy tube rolling,remote,and a headphone jack for those late night sessions. Currently Jeffs Sounds Values has a special going, so you mifgt save a buck or two. Good luck!
A Mint Used Conrad Johsnon Premier 14 goes for around $ 1,750-2,000.00 . A magical Piece!
If you want phono built in try the Conrad Johnson PV-9a. Probably the best CJ phono ever is a non Premier preamp. Sell for $850 to $1000 used.
For another $0.02, I heartily recommend the Rogue 99. Used on Audiogon (if you can find one), can be had for approximately $1,300 to $1,500. After several comparison tests (using a McCormack DNA 225 SS amp into Soliloquy 6.3 speakers) the only thing we (brother and I) found that could beat it (and then only slightly) was an Air Tight point to point wired pre that retailed for over $4,000, with no remote. Needless to say, I am very, very pleased with the all around sound of the Rogue. Just one man's opinion, but a very happy one with this particular piece.
Thank you all for your responses! You been alot of help. Best Regards, Brad
while admittedly more than $1.5k, at less than $2k, a melos ma-333r/music director will hold its own w/the best preamps out there. for ~$1k, i'd get a melos sha-gold-r/maestro over any of the above-mentioned units. both units' later wersions had remote-control wolume/balance. amazing transparancy, detail, lack of colouration, soundstage & dynamics.

ymmv, doug s.

I think the Audio Electronic Supply AES3 should be in your consideration set. And you can get it for under $800 new with upgarded oil filled caps. It's made by Cary. There's a udes one on AgoN right now!
Bradz for 850 used you can get a Rogue 66 Stereophile Class B.Not bad.At worst case if you dont like it you can get all the money out of it and not take a hit as you will on a AES item.
My point exactly Leafs...try the 66 and if it works, great! If not, turn around and save for a 99 or similar caliber tube pre. I haven't heard either of these units but I'll have a chance to this weekend. Couldn't remember from prior posts if you own the 99,66,or other?
I have a tweaked 66.Mark did an upgrade on it changing the wire to all silver and putting Vishay's in and a few other thing i cant remember.I have Mullard NOS 12AU7 in it.I have the stock 6DJ8 in the Phono stage
Hi Leafs, How would you describe the sound since the upgrade to the Magnum status? Thanks
I dont know if its a true Magnum Upgrade.Mark did it before he started to offer the Magnum.The big difference i found was a lower noise floor and better soundstage more detail.
Wouldn't you know...after I've purchused a 66 lsr for $850. a gentleman wrote saying he has a Rogue 99 in the box for $1100.! Is this too good to be true? I hate to back out of the 66 deal but, the 99 seems like a killer deal if it is the black/lsr version. Any advice? Thanks, Brad
While I have never heard the 99 I do really like my 66 in my system (unit not yet been upgraded...) - As for backing out of the 66 for a 99 its your call. If the 66 is a used unit from someone here then maybe the ethical thing to do is purchase it and sell it again. If its at a dealer then back out and maybe purchase something else from him to maintain a good relationship...
Keep the deal try both units and sell the one you dont keep. You will at worst break even and had the chance to compare.