If you had to make this decision....

I'm looking for some advice on preamps for my system. Aside from sounding great, a remote and HT loop/direct would be useful. I've heard the BAT50SE, CJ16LS, Melos 333 and Levinson 38S. None of these jumped out as clearly better. My system is Levinson 31 -> Audio Logic DAC -> Meridian 568 -> VTL MB750 -> Magnepan 3.6R. Any suggestions on what else to try?
Good God man, get ye a Lamm! They are the most musical preamps out there, not for lovers of hi-fi, but since you obviously know the difference between hi-fi and music, based on your desire for a stereo preamp in addition to your multichannel digital preamp (Meridian 568), then I feel confident in recommending the Lamms--there's nothing better. They do NOT have remote control, but they DO handle surround sound inputs. Well worth your consideration--hell, I'd say buy it sound unheard, they're that good. BTW, I went through tons of auditions and several purchases of surround sound preamps last year, so congrats on the 568. I did like the flexibility of the Lexicon's, and the bass management options of the Theta Casablanca are astounding. But the Meridian is much more musical than the competition, I love 'em! Also auditioned Proceed, Linn, and Krell....
as a melos 333 owner (music director version), i'm glad it fared ok in such company! :>) while it has remote, it doesn't have a ht loop. not sure about the others you mention.

hi-end preamps that *do* have ht loops include sonic frontiers, vtl, arc. i'm sure there are others. if you have a chance to hear the vtl tl-5.5, i'd be interested in what ya think...

I would recommend auditioning the Levinson 380S. I had a 38S and upgraded it. The two aren't even close in comparison--I probably would have gotten rid of the 38S had I not upgraded it.
Not sure what/why this need for a processor loop. Just use an ic from "fronts"-out on the processor,to another input on said pre. When doing ht,change inputs on the pre,to that input,do the "test" thing,see where the volume needs to be.It stays at that level for HT.Just so you don't rule out a pre baised on "no loop".
I like the buffered version of the Placette - sounds more like a direct bypass than any other preamp I have tried. But being a good Kiwi, I have to point out that the new Plinius linestage preamp sounds great too.
I had Levinson 38 and last fal upgraded it to the 380S. It was an astounding upgrade. If you compare the 38S and the 380S you will find a similar difference.
I would try and find a tube preamp if you can. I had the 1.6's, and they greatly favored tubes to solid state - at least with an amp. I know the ref 2 has a processor loop. I've heard the vk30SE and thought it was awesome.
hi redkiwi, ain't that plinius a s/s unit? - i thought ewe were a toob-guy. any thoughts how the plinius pre's compare w/good toob pre's?

regards, doug