Good used Pre-Amp? Price Range $1500.00 to $2000.00


Hello to Everyone.

      I'm new to using this forum or any other. My question is what  recommendations would you make for a good used preamp in the price range of $1500-$2000.00. Preamps I've used in the past range from Phase Linear P3800, Nikko Beta 20,30, and 40. Luxman can't remember the model# but it was from the early to mid 80's. And I currently own a Classe DR-6, and Sonic Frontier SFL-1. I wanted too possibly get into using a tube preamp. 
     From the previous forums I've read people always ask. What type of Equipment are you going to be pairing with the Pre-Amp. So here goes.
  1) monarchy SE-160 mono block amps. 
  2) Classe CDP-100 CD-Player.
  3) Carver TX-12 Tuner.    Until I can afford to get a nicer unit.
  4) Systemdek IIX Turntable.
        A) AudioQuest  PT-6 tone arm
.       B) Graddo  Mc wood cartridge. ( Sorry can't remember to exact model ).
        C) custom made tone arm cable. Made of a mixture gold,silver, and ofc red copper.
  5) Audio Research  PH-3 Phono Amp.
  6) all aftermarket power cords. All made of Sliver Plated OFC Copper. In 10 AWG. 
  7) Monster Power HTS-5000 reference power center.
  8) Speakers Sony. ES-SS-M9's. 4 ohms rated 100 to 300 watts continuous. 
        A)    87dB  efficiency. 
  9) Sonic Frontiers SFL-1 with new updates and larger caps. ( Pre-amp ).
10) Classe DR-6 with Seperate power supply & upgraded umbilical cord. ( Pre-amp ).

    I do hope that all this info helps. I really would like to get a nice used Tube Pre-Amp.  And now that I'm disabled because of health issues. My budget got slashed to practically nothing. And as my wife likes to tell me.  I have champagne taste on a non-sweetened Kool-Aid budget. 
   So I would most certainly appreciate any and all suggestions. Thank you all for taking the time to help.

     I will list a few other components and speakers that I occasionally switch out. 
 1)  Amps.
     A) Proton D1200 power amp.
     B) Digital Amp Company  DAC-4800A  amp.
 2)  CD-Player & DAC.
     A)  musical fidelity  Elektra E-60 CD-Player
     B)  Audio Research DAC-5. Digital to analog converter.
 3)  TurnTables. 
     A)  Micro-Seiki DD-40 with 505 tone arm. 
     B). Conrad-Johnson Sonographe SG-3 with Proline tone arm.
 3)  Speakers.
     A) B&W DM-14 speakers.
     B) Canton Karat 30  speakers.
     C) canton  Ergo 32DC. speakers

.  Hey guys thanks again for letting me Ramble.
   Best Wishes to All.
goldhawk
Why buy used? Check this out!
http://www.needledoctor.com/Rogue-Audio-Metis-Preamp_2
used or refurbished audible illusion with or without phono
If you don't need a remote, the Herron VTSP-1A/166 sounds very nice if you find one for sale; usually ~ $1500. Given your phono stage, you're probably thinking about Audio Research, I would hope. They really made their rep on preamps. Cheers,
Spencer
Had a SF SFL-1 years ago so I know that pre. The SF Line 1 is a step up over the SFL-1 so that would be an improvement as well and is a remote control unit. I've owned a ModWright SWL 9.0 SE and that's another more punchier, great preamp in that price range. Not heard the Herron's but they get great press by reviewers and actual users.

Won't go on and on what's the best for the money but yes, many preamps in your budget will outperform your SFL-1. I would add I listened to several ARC preamps below the Reference units that I felt the little ModWright outperformed; not saying the ARC's aren't nice preamps but I think for the money or less they're better options. The Reference preamps are another story and a lot more money but hold their own against similar priced and costlier competitors.

ModWright is bringing the SWL 9.0 SE back as an Anniversary model that might be something to call Dan on to see when it will be out. I believe that will be around $2K new. 
Manley Jumbo Shrimp used.  Run one right now with Mahi Mahi mono blocks, so this not a blind suggestion.  Great imaging, solid bass foundation, quick with no tube bloom.  Particularly good with acoustic music and vocals.
For your system, I would get a used Classe CP-65 preamp.
  I got one and never looked back. I think the CP-65 is fantastic.
I have a great recommendation in your price range... or any price range.  Don Sach's tube preamp, based around octal tubes (6SN7's), is a glimpse of heaven for under $2K.  It is better than a fully rehabbed Harman Kardon Citation I and is quick, liquid, detailed and dead quiet.  Don is among the nicer and more approachable audio folks in the business and is brilliant. It comes with an excellent wood base and the tubes are exposed for easy tube rollling.  It is the best preamp of the dozen or so (Berning, CJ, Klyne, Modwright, Belles, et. al.)  I have had over the past 45 years.  You can find it by searching for "Don Sachs Consulting" and look under the custom line stage.  He has a killer phono preamp and is nearly completing the development of a KT88-based amp that he feels betters the HK-CII for about $2.5K.  Whitestix  
Hi,
. I wanted thank everyone who had commented on my post. I really do appreciate all the help and information. You all have been wonderful. 
   So thanks again for taking the time too help a guy out. 
One more to consider, Modwright, the LS100 and discontinued 9 series, would be well in range second hand. Excellent products and great manufacturer support. I got the 36.5 Pre, which might be in your price range and it is not going anywhere. It is better than the Audio Research Ref 3, which costs a lot more.
@goldhawk So what did you decide on? Cheers,
Spencer
Hi Everyone,

 again I want to thank every body. You have been wonderful bunch. I want to apologize for not responding quicker to post. I've been under going chemotherapy treatments and it's taken a lot out of me. Now that's out of the way. lol. I picked up a BAT VK-5 for a steel. So that's the Pre-Amp I'm using now. All I can say at this point is what a difference tubes make. There are a lot of other Pre-Amps I would really like to try. But for now I'm satisfied with the BAT VK-5. I'm hearing things I've never picked up on before. Oh wait that might be the drugs. lol. The music seems to have picked up little nuances i've never noticed. It's hard to put into words. It seems as though you can feel the music. 
  I want to thank every one again. It's nice to know that this place exist. Where everyone is willing to share their knowledge and experience. Good Luck and Best Wishes. Richard.....

This is not audio related. I wish you the best in the battle you appear to be having. 

           Ray
Goldhawk---the ARC you listed (PH-3) in a phono stage, not a line. The ARC LS-15 and LS-16 line stages regularly sell for around $1500.
Hi Goldhawk,

I have a sonic frontiers line 1and I was already tempted to try a BAT. Now I am more curious ....

-v
Hi Halifax,

I haven't had this BAT VK-5 very long, but Oh my what a difference there is between this Pre-Amp and my SFL-1. I have even had my SFL-1 Modded with larger and better caps. I know that I can make very slight changes by tube rolling with the SFL-1. Nothing like the changes I can make now with the BAT VK-5. And the 8 (6922) tubes it takes. Please don't get me wrong I have enjoyed my SFL-1. But it's not even on the same level as the BAT VK-5. I can't believe the difference. I can't believe how much music I was missing. Also how the music is so non fatiguing even after 6 or 8 hours of listening. the best way I can explain it is that you feel the music it seems to come to life. I hope that helps you