i would certainly add the higher end 'first sound' preamps to your list....
18 responses Add your response
Read the threads about the Jeff Rowland Design Group Capri. So far here on A'gon it's silenced an ARC Ref3 and a CJ Premier. Don't let its low price fool you.
The chassis is solid billet aircraft grade billet aluminum with incredibly quiet and transparent circuitry. For the ultimate in resolution add the PC-1 Power Factor Correction.
You might also consider retiring your Rowland 5 and consider replacing the whole sheebang with a Rowland Continuum 500, which is essentially a Capri, two 501 mono-blocks and two PFCs in one gloriously eligant chassis. The Continuum's only $8800.
You can add a phono stage to the Capri and Continuum for only $355.
Read my reviews, Guido's and others here on the 'gon. Of course, if $2700 for the Capri isn't enough, the $18,000 for Jeff's cost-no-object, battery powered, Criterium may wet your appetite at $18,000. I haven't herad that one yet, but it's gotta be good, knowing Jeff.
I'd suggest not getting hung up on tubes vs. SS and just listen to the top candidates, once you've narrowed down your list. At this level I think it's silly to think any one technology is superior to all others. IME, as you get higher and higher up the chain the differences between technologies narrow dramatically.
There are many fine preamp recommendations offered above and I am sure you will be able to find one that matches your equipment and musical taste. We each have our own preferences and would suggest that there is no "hands down" solution. I read where earlier in the year that you were considering a used tube preamp in the $2500-4000 range. If your budget has changed, then I would second Bar81's recommendation to consider the BAT REX. It has elevated the level of my system considerably. The Tron would also be worthy of your consideration. Good luck with your search.