Herron 1A,, Herron 2A, Modwright LS100 or Aesthetix Calypso?


I have narrowed down my pre choices to these. I would like to hear what opinions there are, maybe even from actual owners. I have owned a Shrimp and BAT VK3ix in the past. I definitely want to take a step up. The Calypso is at the top of my budget. I am not able to audition any, just buy and hope I made the correct choice. If it matters, my amp is a Rogue stereo 90 magnum. I am currently using the Eximus DP-1 DAC/Pre and a Salk Streamer tied to Aerial 8 speakers. Obviously I will have to pursue a DAC as well.
dpm2340
Depending on the size of your listening room and your volume preferences you might be better off changing for a higher power amplifier.
my listening is small, unfortunately. 13' x 16'

my goal here is to change from the dac/pre to a separate pre and dac.
I owned a BAT VK 30 and didn't care for it.  I had a Calypso about 8 years ago and regrettably sold it to try an integrated.   Ended up going back to separates and got a decent deal on a used Calypso Signature with good NOS tubes and have had it for approx. 4 years with no issues.   I have no interest in trying other preamps.  The Calypso and Calypso Sig. when tubed properly are hard to beat.  

I've heard good very things about Herron, but have not tried them.  It's a brand that seems to fly under the radar, but has a loyal following.

I've owned two Modwright digital sources and found them to be decent, but not good enough to keep. 

Are you finalized on your choices?
Not at all.
I have both a Modwright LS100 and a Herron 1A, both are very good preamps, but depending upon what sound you are after they differ. If you like the sound of 6SN7s (my partiality) swap in either NOS Sylvania or new production Sophia Electric or Black Treasure CV181s, as well as a NOS 5AR4; find it very enjoyable with good sounstaging, separation, no over-emphasis of treble, mids or bass. I purchased the Herron used a a potential back-up, but it now resides in my second system. It is 6922 driven and has a transparent sound with good soundstaging and separation. I haven't tube rolled the stock tubes , if I did I might try to soften it a little with NOS Mazda. I have used them as well as Phillips Miniwatts and Siemens in my Modwright Elysee DAC with very good results
LS100 is the 6SN7 preamp I'm referring to above
I have owned a Herron VTSP-1, upgraded to the max over time.  I traded it in on a VTSP-3A and have upgraded it to the latest version.  As really good as the VTSP-1 was, the 3A (r03) is outstanding.  Until I heard the VTSP-360, I had not heard anything beat or even equal the 3A (r03). 

The best part of owning Herron Audio is that you get Keith Herron.  He provides great customer service and will do what he can to optimize his equipment for his owners. 
From what i am understanding, the modwright anniversary 9.0 is a cut above his other pres. A herron 3 is more than i can spend. I'm afraid the herron 1 is not going to be much different than the shrimp i had. Not really sure why i think that way.
@dpm2340 :  And budget around 2K???
yes.
bpoletti: Can you describe the sonic improvements you heard with the new 360 vs r03? Also do you know what improvements the 2A phono has over the 2?
Thanks
no i can't sorry.
There is a VTSP-1A/166 on Audiogon right now, at an asking price of $1295. Buy it!
dpm2340

go for the Aesthetix and do not look back.  Happy Listening!
I owned both the Herrons and I cannnot say enough good things about Keith and his designs. The VTSP 2A and the M150 upgraded monos were my favorite gear I've ever owned. Incredibly musical. Would not hesitate to jump on a 2A, although the 1A wasn't that far behind it soundwise (the 2A was more convenient for my application). 
What when I've heard Aesthetix and Herron side by side I've liked the Herron way better. I will also echo the sediments about Keith Herron, he's a gem. It's well documented that the Aesthixs are fussy on tubes, and have a high tube count. This makes tube rolling an expensive proposition with NOS.

Speaking of tube rolling, no matter what you buy, rolling NOS will take you rig way higher than any current production tube in spite of what Mr. Herron or Mr. White say. It's  important to source quality tubes from a trustworthy source, Andy from vintage tube service comes to mind.

I've experimented with many a preamp, my favorite tube is the 6SN7 in this role, there is a meat on the bones quality with this tube that I've not found in other tube types.  This tube has a vast array of rolling choices that can allow you to tweak the sound balance of your system. If you were to decide to use this tube as the foundation for preamp, I can recommend the Modwright. Dan makes a good product, great support and enough volume of production that finding used samples or selling one off is a relatively easy task.

i know you didn't ask, however another rave on the boards these days with a 6SN7 is Don Sachs preamp. While I have not heard it personally, by all accounts, knowledgable audiophiles are very passionate about the preamp, and what's nice is you can get a new one for the kind of money you're looking to invest.

Good luck with your search....