I was in a similar position to yours about 6 months ago. I had an older Audio Research and was seriously considering the Levinson 380S as I have a Levinson amp. A local dealer, however, who does carry Levinson, suggested that I consider a tube preamp. After listening to many solid state and tube preamps, including the Levinson 380S, Krell KCT, BAT VK30SE, and Audio Research LS 25 and Ref 2, I concluded that the best I heard was the BAT VK30SE and ARC Ref 2. These preamps were listened to back to back on the same system with the same music. If if money were no object, the BAT was outstanding - comparable to the Ref 2 for less than half the cost. I urge you to audition one. In my opinion it literally blew the Levinson and Krell away. The sound was so much clearer, open, and extended. If you ever wondered what the reviewers meant when saying a veil was lifted, I think this is what they meant. The BAT and Ref 2 made all others sound muffled. But you should note that ARC has come out with Mark II versions of the LS 25 and Ref 2 which use the 6H30 tube, like the BAT, and should be auditioned before your purchase. I hope this response has been helpful.