Best Tube preamplifier under $600

Hi All,

I'm looking for some recommendations on a 2 channel tube preamplifier (with or without tuner) under $500-600.

I know this price is a stretch, so I welcome used vintage equipment as suggestions.

If you think a solid state preamp at a certain price may out perform any tube new/used than I would certainly consider those options. I suspect a lot of McIntosh products will fall into this category..

If you have a particular manufacturer to recommend please feel free to specify which models.

Thanks in advance for everyone's input!!

If it makes any difference in suggestions I plan on investing in a tube amp as well, with the same budget.

If anyone needs info on what current speakers and components will be used with the pre just let me know and I'll list everything.

You might find a conrad johnson PV-10 for around that price used...
You can look for a Rogue Audio 66. Not sure you'll find a "magnum" version at that price but you never know. It does not have a tuner...
AES by Cary.
Aes by Cary
AES 3 or 1
Counterpoint 7.1 or 3.1
I am a fan of Sonic Frontiers gear. You should be able to find an SFL-1 or even and SFL-1 Signature at that price point. No remote or phono stage but a very well build preamp using one tube......and PartsConnexion still supports repair and upgrade options.
Consonance T1 line stage tube rectified and point to point wiring great value.
Probably all dead and buried now but the purest Tube Pre I've ever

owned or heard

was the Trinidad Connection from Lionel Seemungal and Walter Yip.

I've seen the odd one or two come up over the years

Man for $500 or so smackers it was a revelation then

Would blitz many today as well

The Marsh P2000t is a very strong tube preamp for about that price used. Great tube sound without being too syrupy.

Audible Illusions Modulus 1 or 2A/B/C/or D.
I second the motion for a Conrad-Johnson PV10 (specifically, the line stage / no-phono version, the PV-10L or PV-10AL).

Alternatively, given that you plan to buy a tube amp, you might want to combine your amp and preamp budget and invest in a good tube integrated. Keep your eye out for a used PrimaLuna Prologue One or Prologue Two. Google for info and reviews -- very nice amps. Similar (and available used on Audiogon as I write this post) is the Cayin A-50T.

Another integrated option -- the Unison Unico -- has tube preamp stage and solid state amp -- sounds warm and musical.

Finally, you might again combine amp and preamp budget and look into the integrated amps from Jolida. You could get a new or like-new one from Underwood Wally, who advertises constantly on Audiogon.
Thank you all for the suggestions, very helpful! Anymore recommendations are definitely welcome!!

Question about power rating of tube amps:
While shopping around ive noticed a lot of tube amps typically have power ratings that seem incredibly low (like the Cayin A-50T at 35 watts). I know wattage is the least important factor to consider if I'm looking for pure sounding tube components, but is that wattage high enough to drive my front speakers, or is there an optimum set of power conditions I should look for in tube components that would specifically complement my 2 front channels?? I've listed their specs below.

Thanks again!!

Klipsch RP-5 (currently driven by B&K reference 125.2) Specs:

DIMENSIONS: 42.5" (107.9cm) x 9" (22.9cm) x 20.3" (51.6cm)
ENCLOSURE MATERIAL: Medium density fiberboard construction (MDF)
ENCLOSURE TYPE: Sealed (HF/MF drivers) / Bass reflex via rear-mounted port (subwoofer)
FINISHES: Black ash vinyl veneer
HIGH FREQUENCY HORN: 90(o)x60(o) Tractrix(r) Horn
MIDRANGE: K-1084-S 8" (20.32cm) Aluminum cone / cast polymer frame
POWER HANDLING: 150 watts maximum continuous (400 watts peak)
SENSITIVITY: 96dB @ 1watt/1meter
SUBWOOFER: K-1087-K 12" (30.48cm) Fiber-composite cone
TWEETER: K-105-K 1" (2.54cm) Titanium dome compression driver
WEIGHT: 72 lbs. (32.7kg)
Your Klipsh speakers should be very easy for a tube amp (even a modestly-powered one) to drive. They tend to be very efficient and an easy load.

Jhold is right on the money with his suggestion of going with a tube integrated. Something like a Jolida 302b should be roughly within your price range, although there are several other well-regarded tube integrated amps under the $1000 price point.

Your speakers make it relatively easy to have great sound from a budget tube integrated amp. My advice is to take advantage of it and go that route.