Thanks to all above. Every post makes sense. They're also the reasons that make this a tough choice.
Demo-ing is probably the way to go, however, it's tough to find these things. I might get my hands on the ML and Boulder, but probably not the CJ. Only 250 of these are being made.
Cornfedboy: If you see this, have you received your Boulder unit? I'd be very curious to hear your comments on the Line stage, DAC, and particularly the phono stage. I'm considering an Aesthetix IO depending upon the quality of the phonos with these units.
Tubes. Great point! my SS equipment would probably benefit substantially from an injection of quality "Tube Characteristics". (Im am concerned a bit, however, about the need for tweaking and reliability associated with many tube pieces.)
Pass X0: Also a good point, however, I currently use the X1 (great Pre) and understand that there is very little difference between the two units. Also, I've wondered if these are in the same league with the above listed units.
Thanks again to all.
If there is any additional insight on "Great Preamps" out there, I'd love to hear it.