I got both Aesthetix Eclipse and Atma-sphere MP-1. Both are excellent tube preamp. Different character but both are superb performers.
- 93 posts total
- 93 posts total
I always thought I would miss preamp tubes if I crossed over to the dark side, but I recently went from an LTA MicroZOTL preamp to Pass XP-20 and have not looked back. Details emerged, stage grew bigger (especially higher), and most importantly for me, my noise floor dropped like a lead balloon. Tubes are great, but you might benefit from considering SS as well (particularly if, like me, you have any electrical gremlins that can be exacerbated by tubes - particularly in the preamp where the signal is of lower amplitude).
There have been a couple of mentions for VTL in this thread.
The top two models - TL-6.5 II and TL-7.5 III are both hybrid designs employing tubes and MOSFET and most importantly they are both MORE than $15K.
The sweet spot in the VTL line-up is the TL-5.5 II. This is a pure tube design. There is an option to have this model (and only this one) fitted with a tube phono section (which borrows a lot from their top of the line Phono stage). With the optional phono card installed this should squeak under your budget and it certainly will if ordered as just a line stage.
It also has a full function remote (machined out of a piece of alloy).
Aesthetics are personal and many here don't worry too much about them, but if you do then the VTL looks like a fairly modern, sleek unassuming box. There are no tubes on display, and no grab handles on the front.
I can guarantee you that the MicroZOTL pre
beats out my Pass XP30, 20, 22, and, my Conrad Johnson GAT And all other pres I’d thought we’re under $5000 giant killers. In my MicroZOTL I’m running great tubes. The 6SN7’s which to me have the sound I like. In addition the volume attenuation step in Tenuate or on the MicroZOTL is excellent and on par with both the Conrad Johnson and the pass labs although possibly not as smooth as Pass