Best tube preamp, cost not object ?


I´m interested on one tube preamp, only LINE. I heard in the last CES the Kondo and Messenger preamps, and really they sounds exceptionally well, but I can´t heard others, almost the Emotive audio epifania.The ARC Ref 3 and Lamm seems to be in a second league.

I will be pleased to know if you heard in the past, or personally you owns, the emotive audio epifania or others, as CJ ACT2, EAR 864,deHavilland mercury, Aestethix Callisto, and which is your opinion about them in relation to the Kondo, epifania and Messenger.

And finally one more question, if you don´t to pay so much money for one tube preamp, which will be the best posibility for you, among the following list? Modwright,Herron VTSP-2, Tron Syren, EAR 864, Eastern electric Minimax, MARSH 2000T, Aestethix CALYPSO, Supratek.
emigene
cost no object air tight best for money aes djh
I have owned the Emotive, CJ ACT,and EAR, I also tried the Herron, I have recently purchased the First Sound Paramount and I think it tops all the others in most ways. Put it on your list.
I, too, have recently been looking for a very good linestage. I have not heard most of the top candidates in my own system or systems that I have some familiarity. I have heard a top level Kondo and the Audionote (uk) M-8 and M-10. These are all terrific. But, I REQUIRE remote control of at least volume and I do have some space limitations. These eliminated the Kondo and Audionote models (actually, price eliminated them as well).

I auditioned an Epifania in my own system. It was a prototype that had remote control of volume, balance and mute. It did NOT have the latest refinement, which is teflon caps, but I was assured by the designer that the teflon caps could be removed, and the price reduced, if I did not like the result. I have decided to purchase the Epifania. It has so much more of that "breath of life" that makes listening a much more intimate experience. It is hard to explain the sensation -- one has to experience it. By the way, the new on-line magazine -- Tone-Audio (www.tone.ws) -- has a recent review of the Epifania. I read the review after placing my order for the Epifania; I think it is quite accurate.
..i will second the first sound 'paramount'...it is great and can be upgraded to an even better level if desired.
there really is no 'best' at any price. lots of cost-no-object though. the synergy with your amp, source ,and speakers can make a lot of difference.
I think for the money you can not go wrong with the Modwright SWL 9.0SE.
Good luck,
Dave
Sorry Emigene, but it is really impossible to answer your question. It is like asking who makes the best chocolate? It's all opinion unless you give us some idea of what your sonic preferences and priorities are, what your associated system is comprised of, what your room is like, what music you listen to etc.
I own and love a Herron VTSP-1A and have heard great things about the VTSP-2. However having looked at the photos from CES by Larry at High End Palace, I told my girlfriend that I was considering embarking on a life of crime to raise funds for the stunning two chassis Air Tight Reference Preamp. That was a good idea as I later found out that little number retails for a cool $25K! Oh well, somehting new to dream about...
The Modwright SWL9.0SE is scarily close to the First Sound Presence Deluxe II in resolution, detail, and linearity.

But, that doesn't answer your question, which I agree is impossible to answer.

I bought the Modwright SWL 9.0SE ... and I think it was the single best audio investment I have ever made.
I have to agree with Tvad, that is a tough call. My votes go to:

Tube Research GTP-4 and maybe their new solid state preamp (Transistor Research Labs) which I've going to hear today.

That's right, Audioezra, I'm listening to your new preamp today before it ships out to you. :)

Best,

Jack
I would add the Supratek Cabernet linestage to your list. The combination of life-like dynamics, natural tone and refinement is simply phenomenal. This thig sounds like music.
"The Modwright SWL9.0SE is scarily close to the First Sound Presence Deluxe II in resolution, detail, and linearity."

Well that's disappointing. I was sort of entertaining the First Sound products after reading about them on this thread, but I was unimpressed by the SWL9.0SE. For the money, it's pretty good. I was just under the impression that the First Sound stuff was beyond it.
I was sort of entertaining the First Sound products after reading about them on this thread, but I was unimpressed by the SWL9.0SE. For the money, it's pretty good. I was just under the impression that the First Sound stuff was beyond it.
The definition of "beyond it" can vary wildly among audiophiles.

The FS created a larger sound...farther outside the boundaries of the loudspeakers. It has better resolution, but I'd say 5-10% better than the SWL9.0SE. Of course, 5-10% can be enormous in audiophile terms. I have no experience with the upper echelon First Sound products.

The SWL9.0SE is more musical, IMO.

The whole debate about what is "beyond" centers around one's personal preference in sonics. If accurate, neutral and linear is what you want, then the First Sound preamps are one good choice.