Best Tube Preamp under 2500?

I'm going to buy a tube preamp under $2500. I'm considering the Blue Circle BC21, the Audible Illusions M3A or the
Rogue Audio 99. Has anyone made this comparison? Which did you like the best and why?
i tried a rogue 99 magnum-upgraded preamp, & found it very coloured, & w/poor bass response. to be fair, impedence may have been a problem, as this product has gotten great feedback; not *all* of ya are deaf! ;~) i also dint like not having a balance control & not having a tape-loop.

the cary slp98 replaced the rogue & was a wry nice unit - much less coloured, excellent bass response, but still kept that tube liquidity & soundstage depth. i'd have kept it, but i found a used melos music director (updated ma-333), that i yust *had* to try, based upon my recollection of a melos sha-gold preamp that i'd heard a few years back. well, the melos is absolutely fantastic, an order of magnitude better in all areas, & a steal at the prices found on the used market - usually <$2k for the linestage. i honestly believe that this unit competes w/anything currently awailable.

regards, doug

Hi augi,I have a Rogue 99 with phono.I have no impedence mismatch with my Pass Aleph-3,in fact I get terrific bass and dynamics!! Contact Mark O'Brien if you have a concern about impedence.He is very quick to respond.You mention the A.I.mod.3A Go to Audiomusings and look up a review of the Rogue 66 vs the 3A The reviewer ended the review stating he prefered the 66! About 1/2 the cost of the 3A too! I guess since the 99 is a better pre than the 66,I would say between the 99 and 3A the 99 looks like a much better bet.I don't have experience with the BC 21 but I've read its a fine pre. Hope this helps... mornin Duggy,see your working hard today! :)
you might be able to get a CAT sl1 mkIII for that price. I compared it to the slp98 (see above) and while I could live with either, I prefer the neutrality of the CAT. The Cary is very tube-y, romantic etc.
joule electra la100
musicslug, i'm curious what amp/s you are using - i found the cary slp98 to be quite neutral, not at all coloured w/that "tubey, romantic" signature... i'm using a pair of electrocompaniet amps above 60hz.
I have the Audible Illusions M3A and love it. Its a great preamp,but even better if you play vinyl.
God help you though if your Audible Illusions M3A ever breaks or needs to go in for may never see it again any time soon!!! I personally talked with seveal people I met who've sent in for service to AI and waited 4, 6, 11 months for their repair to finish!!! joke. They're so far behind on regular orders, I bet you know where your repair would go on the priority list!...My condolences.
Definitely the Atma Shere MP3 line stage only. If you want phono it is more $$
Hi, Augie, you should definitely give Transcendend Sound's
Grounded Grid a try! I was looking for a pre-amp in 2K to 3K
range, and end up with GG. They even offer two week money
back trial. It's a very natural and musical pre-amp.
The Rogue 99 power supply and others things were totally revamped in 04 buy the Super Magnum it is Outstanding against any $4k preamp there also is a SE not advertised if you have the money beyond the Super Magnum. Mark Obrien can transform this to a reference grade
unit. The 6sn7 tube what you may call a little colored I call body and dimentiality. I had preamps with 6h30 tubes very accurate but not as alive or 3 d sounding IMO.