The Herron 1A pre was my first Herron Product. It has trumped other similar budgeted pre's even through several amp changes. Recently, I made the step to the matching Herron M1A amps. It was a revelation in detail. So much so, I pulled the Arcam CD23T back out of the closet to replace the Bryston cdp we long ago decided on for its perceived added detail. The Arcam cdp absolutely provided a much more pleasant presentation in our environment which I would certainly consider lively.
Now after some critical listening and paring of components, I am indeed bored and willing to attempt some more refinement. We have a flute, piano, and guitar player in the household. So naturally the music quality is a priority. I have no desire to revisit changing amps at this time, so I have been focused on a more efficient speaker upgrade that would mate well with the Herron M1A's. I do not believe my current Dunlavy Contata'a to be that efficient at 90db 4ohm. But after much reading and not being particularly unhappy with the Cantata's sound, I am thinking the preamp may be a logical next step for some exploring.
Thanks for everyone's time who has commented. I very much enjoy reading the great articulate feedback and experience of the many members.