Minimax or Audio Research SP 9 mk III ?

Budget is $600 for tube preamp. Looking to add some body and dynamics to the music.

Recently downsized from MWI 9.0 SE Signature and MWI 9100es.

System is Sony PSP 1, Red Wine 30.2 integrated and Vandersteen 2ce Signatures with Clear Day Silver Biwire speaker cables.


Minimax tube units are voiced Neutral ( i have the Minimax phono ) and may not give your more body..Audio Research sp-9 ( I had the mk2 )can be a touch on the lean side ..I could be wrong but the 2 mentioned are not your typical tubey sound tube units.. ( assuming you really do want more body )..........Not sure if that helps but thats my take on the two mentioned..........
I owned an ARC SP-9 for a few years and one thing that did warm it up some was the use of brass tube anchors from Mapleshade. I also tried some NOS tubes that I felt made a difference. The ARC unit is a very musical preamp and is worth the extra effort in my oppinion.
Be careful with the SP 9 mk III, I owned it and kept it for less than a week before I got rid of it. It was woefully too thin sounding....too anemic for me.
Agreed, the AR 9 Mk II is thin sounding and lacks dynamics, not one of AR's better offerings. NOS tubes won't give it sufficient body, the SS circuitry dominates any tube swaps.
I agree with Mitch (and most of the rest.) I had an sp II and hated it. Had it for about 4 days. Thin sounding junk. Buy anything but.

With your budget, also check out the space tech offerings.
Ken,......I noticed you mentioned a Sony PSP in your system. How do you configure it to play music in your system? I own a PSP and never looked beyond the gaming capabilities.



Sony PlayStation 1 model SCPH-1001
It has rca outs and I'm going direct to my Red Wine 30.2.
Do a search " playstation 6moons" to read articles on using this. Cost me $20 for one on craislist.
I think one suggestion might be is try one of the older used Audio Research pre from before the sp9 models..The sp6,sp8 ( i have owned both ) models are much more lush and full ( and much better units in my mind )... They also have very good Phono stage built in...
The only ARC Pre I owned that was lush and tubey was the SP8. I kept it for many years. It seems like ARC worked hard to design the tube sound out of their preamps. The best thing about the MiniMax is you can experiment with different tubes until you get just the amount of "body" you want. Check out the various MiniMax tube rolling threads and reviews.