Low budget vintage preamp or new

I’m new to this hi-fi world and wow wow wow it is so exciting. Been nerding out big time in these forums and am happy to be a part of this now.

I got Heresy IV’s, a McIntosh MC352, a Project S Box and a $50 amazon dilvpoetry preamp. I spent nearly all of the money I have right now besides about $1,300 I saved for a preamp. 

I definitely want a tube preamp, and am looking most closely at the Audio Research LS7 and the Schitt Freya +. Honestly even with the $50 preamp I’m still totally floored every time I turn the system on and do not think I have had a single conversation with anyone in the past couple weeks that did not at some point turn to how dope the hi-fi world is. 

What are your thoughts on the lower end Audio Research amps? I’m a bit nervous they’ll hum, that I’ll need to spend a lot of time and money repairing them, and that they probably won’t work so well when I use my system to play movies, which I will certainly do at times. 

What do you think? Are there other preamps I should be looking at? Thanks so much for your time

Hi, I have a 200W Perreaux Integrated Amp driving some Shahinian Compass speakers, approx. 6 months ago I was considering a tube pre-amp and in particular whether to go for a 2nd hand Audio Research LS7 or a new Schiit Freya+. In the end I purchased the LS7 and rolled in some NOS tubes... I wasn't able to do a comparison but couldn't be happier with my decision :-)
How about a left field option with something a little more versatile.


I run this Arcam SR 250 (msrp $3600) as a pre with a Parasound JC5 and it works great for a split system for movies and music. You get HDMI switching and digital/analog inputs as well as DIRAC room correction. Paired with a solid amp its a very musical combo. 
If you go for MM stage I would go for a tube stage, at MC almost impossible course of the multiply factor. 
MC with tubes you get loads of pink noise. 
If your handy diy buy a good kit. 
MM with 12AX7 Ecc83 or 5751bit lower Mu factor. 
There are very good schematics. 


Look at Vacuum Tube Audio (tubes4hifi).  I am very happy with my SP14 preamp, based on the 6SN7.  Prices are reasonable.