CARY SLP 308 & Audio Research SP-16

I recently acquired an AudioResearch VS110 driving B&W Signature 805s. I'm looking for a pre-amp at $2000-3000 new or used. I heard an SLP 308 at upscale audio driving the V12 and Avantgrade speakers delivering wonderfully transparent & delicate sound. Others have suggested the matching SP16. I've talked with folks from AR and highly rec. the SP16. "only give up slight dynamics and bass response comparing to LS 25." Absolute sound had said that the treble of the SP16 had a slight grain in isolation.
I'll listen to it but meanwhile,
Any help is appreciated. THanks.
I own the SP16 with Phono and there is no grain or harshness. AS review is nonsense. The SP 16 has a lot of great features... Super Phono. Great full smooth sound with deep soundstage, Remote , mute, Volume still works in mute mode. very handy when listening at loud levels so you can turn it down before you un mute. Only minor issue is that volume steps at lowest level seems to jump a little fast. And you have to toggle through all inputs. you can not go directly to the one you may want. But that stuff is trivial. What matters most is the sound and this piece has got the right sound. This piece like all ARC stuff is beautifully made to last decades and ARC is a super company to call for service or questions. They even sent me a brochure for my CD2 (discontinued model) Which is also a super very musical piece. I believe that they still service every Piece that they have ever made! I also have a VT60SE in a different system with an LS7 and those are also Great !
I second Bruce's comments about the SP16, great pre. I have mind paired with a VS55 and it truly is something special.
I also have a ARC SP-16 and it is very liquid and difficult to fault. I have compared with a number of high end tube and solid state preamps only to prefer the SP-16. The phono is exceptional- very involving. I compared at one point to the ARC LS15 and 22 and preferred the fuller sound of the SP-16. It is really a bargain for the money.
I have not had the opportunity to audition Cary products (no local dealers) but when I added the ARC SP16 to my Bryston 4B-SST, after a series of SS pre's, the results blew mw away. Warm sounding (but not warm), great soundstage, liquid and all the features I want to fool with in a pre. Great bargin.
Thanks for responding, guys. I liked the Audio Research just as much but ultimately got the Cary. Both were excellent sonically but I liked the vol. control in the Cary better. Two input tubes also allowed for easy tube rolling. I changed the input tubes to Mullard 12UA7s resulting in a minimally dark, smooth sound which I was happy with. Eventually, I'll probably get the SP 16 too. Currently, I've a pair of Nautilius 805s and Signature 805s, Classe 151,
Philips SACD1000 & Rotel cdp 1070.

I think I'm at a point that the limiting factor is at the front end. I want to get the Ayre CX-7. At the same time, I also want the Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor on the auction.

I know the I should switch components only to achieve a certain goal or aspect in sound. Otherwise, I would be running in circles wasting money.

Any opinions? (The audio-bug got me pretty bad. huh)
I recently bought a Cary SLP-308 Preamp and I am extremely happy about the purchace! The sound is extremely transparent with a treble that is soft yet very detailed. Bass is a bit bloomy compared to my other preamp but it goes deeper than my Pass Labs X2. I easily choose the Cary over the Pass. It just playes music so magical I have a hard time to explain. Just audition the Cary SLP-308 and you'll hear what I mean...