I know few are in circulation; however, they seem to sell quickly on the used market.. Are they perfect best of all worlds??????
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If you need to add mass, have the pre made to accept monster brass footers, like the Edensound Bearpaw or the briefly produced "Fat Bastard" which I use. Otherwise get the commercial varieties around. The very Expensive Mapleshade products to the cheaper Chinese BBC brass cones and so on.
The only other pres that have that Octal sound which come to mind are the AE-3 from Cary which should come up at around your price point. The problem is they don't come around that often. The second thought is the lesser versions of the SLP-05 Cary. Their other 6SN7 pres like SLP 98s etc. They are prolly more than you want to spend.
I have an Ultra 4se and I love it, I think they are a great bargain for their cost especially if you can get a nice used unit. The factory umbillical (sp?) cable from the power supply is a little cheesy and can be upgraded, do a search on that and you will find the info. This is my first tube pre and Im thrilled with it.
My 2A/SE Linestage:
Strong: quality build with excellent personal support; point-to-point wiring; able to use inexpensive 12SN7s if desire; simple circuit; custom gain per input; L/R balance; quiet; wonderful sound.
Weak: so light weight that cables can raise it off the shelf; no remote.
My conclusion: quality sound and build far far far out weigh the weak points. After all, that is why I am in this audio rabbit hole - quality sound.
One of the greatest bargains in this crazy hobby. Having
owned AI, ARC, LAMM, CAT, JOULE, and ATMA-SPHERE tube
linestages, I feel this preamp can compete with most anything
out there. Though not audio jewelry (I like the RCA Red color
scheme), the engineering and circuit design are done by
someone who knows what they are doing. Don't
hesitate to buy on sound quality considerations - I just have
not had a problem with the weight, yes they are small and not
I had the line 2SE a while back and like the others say, chassis is very flimsy. Get any contact cleaner or alcohol on the paint and you will have to touch it up. On the plus side, the sound is very much like the AE-3. I should know, I have owned 2 stock AE-3s, 1 DJH, 1 AE-3 MKII and a modded AE-3. It does not have the impact or bass extension like a good SS preamp but does have a sweet midrange. I thought the upper mids/lower treble could be more refined but you will need to ditch the Auricaps for that. A good deal for the money though and Doc P can customize it to suit your needs.