Line Stage Preamps that blew you away $2500 Edition

Passive, tubes, solid state, jewel encrusted moon rocks, whatever. 

tell us what line stages blew you Away in the $2500 ish price catagory.



i hear you... volume control implementation is quite an art in and to itself

i had the sonnet morpheus, which had a volume control, supposedly a later gen adagio in a smaller enclosure

re the pavane vs adagio, it could be the volume control, or one has to wonder if it might be even unit to unit variations, i remember at one point i had two schiit yggy's, same spec, same gen, and one sounded noticeably warmer than other... go figure!

one can drive oneself kinda crazy if the ocd/analytical bent is indulged to a fault  

Sorry all, had to take a break as all the research was settingmy hair on fire. I read a review for the Denafrips Athena which compared it extremely favorably to the W4S stage 2. Seems that, according to 6 moons (who loves to word salad the sh*t out of everything), they are equals with the exception of their voicing and emphasis on ASD. It’s never explicitly stated but he seems to allude that the W4S emphasizes the attack of the sound where the Athena emphasizes the sustain so it’s attack is slightly rounded but with a fuller sound.

I have to admit that a fuller sound and unity gain/no gain is really peaking my interest.

the biggest knock, in my eyes, with the Sachs, Rogue, Supratek, etc is the amount of gain. My current has 18, my amp 30 and I’m driving 99db speakers (with 12db attenuators in line). Besides being hard in the tubes I feel like, and correct me if my observation is not as cut and dry as I perceive it, the gain exposes ANY noise a tube makes especially once a few hundred hours are on it. So it makes thing frustrating. When I flick it on I dread it popping on and there will be scratching/static/ etc.


Lately my current one has been flawless. And it sounds great. Admittedly the whole tube thing has just frustrated me.



I made the thread open ended so future people’s will find it and read the wealth of info here. It’s true the thread was to help me find MY new preamp but this way it will continue to benefit others for the foreseeable future.


that said I purchased a used preamp and while it’s been 3 hours now since I got it up and running I am really enjoying it. The sound is different than anything I’ve heard before so my ears are adjusting. The Denafrips Athena is something! Clocking at 35ish pounds it’s pretty…..over built. I read and reread the reviews at 6 Moons and Audio Beatnik repeatedly so felt I had a really good idea what to expect and I’d say their thoughts on the sound are spot on. That’s all I wanted to add but don’t let it stop anyone from adding their opinions.

This is drop dead gorgeous, an a active zero (unity) gain preamp to boot. I think I’m going to cry...Let us know how loud or the level of loudness you can get with this unit, and the quality of sound. Enquiring minds want to know...And all that for $2000...You got any hair left? Thanks