Most Rockingest Preamp south of $2k used

I'm curious if anyone knows of, has heard about or owns a preamp that simply does the most justice to rock n roll, under $2k (or more) used. The one SS pre I owned (Odyssey) seemed a bit light in the mids and bass, arguably the two most important components to rock. Then I went tubes, and I think it's in the right direction. Regardless of SS or tube, I would think the ultimate rock pre would be a PRAT king, maybe even pushing the beat a little, certainly not laid back, with great bass, mids and dimensionality and overall musicality (vs analytical). Am I missing anything?

I'm tired of putting the cart before the horse -- researching what's for sale on agon as opposed to having a few models to look out for and keeping an eye out for them. Who's got a say in the most rockingest pre?
Audible Illusions M3A

I would second the AI Mod3a but the company blows... worst customer service in the world. To bad because it's really a great product.
I have an Audio Valve - Eklipse, which is not south, but rather a little north of $2k used, but man does that thing rock. Very dramatic and a giant sound stage. And I listen to Prog rock which is really intense. Save some more pennies and go for it if you can. It definitely rocks! Check the reviews, give it a listen, and I'm sure you'll agree.
Tsciame is right, the Modulus 3A is hard to beat, but customer service is a misnomer in their case--if you need service.
I feel the same way you do about putting the cart before the horse, you just answered a question i posed in Agon about preamps and rock.
Have you found the Rockingest preamp? if you don't mind can you share your findings with me, so i can have a reference to start.
Thank you
Morgoth, still on the hunt. Like i said, Rogue is a great place to start, and just may be where one can end. I just haven't had the luxury of trying many pre's. But the Metis was damn good.
Tholt,What became of the advice about audible illusions M3 did you ever got a chance to hear one?
No, I haven't. I know it's a non-tangible, but I don't get excited about that brand. Maybe its the dual vol knobs. who knows.
i was in a similar situation. upgrading my pre (a cambridge c500 which i bought new about 8 years ago) from a decent entry-level one to something much better. i listen to about 40% blues 40% heavy metal and the rest all kinds (except rap!). i wanted a big soundstage, details etc., but it had to sound good on heavy guitars and drums. i tried a few solid state and a few tube pre's. every one had it's strengths, but nothing that i wanted to live with. i ended up with a classe 6l. it does what i've been looking for and more, except it doesn't have a phono stage. this is an awesome pre for the harder side of music, plus it's good on all other types. i suspect any of the older classe pre's would do as well, for under what you're looking to spend. my two cents anyways, pieman42
Audio Mirror. Best money on a preamp you will ever spend. I have the Pp1 and love it. Great dynamics and smooth. Under $2k for either one they make.
Wondering about the audio mirror stuff. Looks like the requisite 'passionate small company' and a few good reviews/comments like yours I've read. Is the PP1 significantly different then the other one outside of chassis and phono?
Difference between The Audio Mirror units are that one has phono and one does not. If you can find a Tube Audio Design 150 or 150 sinature it will sell for less than $1000. i have had mne for 4 years.
Sounds good but how does hard rock/metal sound thru the Audio Mirror preamp, how does it compare against other preamps like Rogue metis or Croft precession to name a few.
You didn't say what power amp you have. I have the TAD 150 paired with TAD 125 monos. I play hard rock also and have a hard time finding a CD that doesn't compress the music but, my combo with the TAD stuff throws a big soundstage and does a fair job on some CDs. You can't get the TAD 150 new anymore but, i believe that the AM stuff is on par. Vlad lives here in Houston. I have heard his pre at the Houston Audio Society meetings and the audio nuts at the meetings seem to like it.
This may sound crazy, but I just picked up a Shindo Aurieges L. We'll see if:

1. It plays well with rock (and others), but more importantly,
2. It synergizes with my amp with its high output impedance.

Really just picked it up to hear what all the hype was about with this pre. Hoping to hear at least a little of the magic.
I have the McCormack DNA-125, and been looking for a preamp like Tholt that will aside from producing excellent bass including mid & upper, but also posses a midrange that can resolve signature sound of a Flying V or a Strat or any other guitar i'm listening to, i've tried several ss preamplifiers without success i've heard that tubes do a better job in resolving tonal differences my budget is 2k and i don't mind buying used, i will appreciate any suggestions.
My experience with SS pre's is that they tended to be a little light in the mids and lower freq's, plus they lacked the warmth in a tubed pre. Tubed pre's had more meat on the sound, which to me sounded way better with rock.

There's a Rogue Perseus on here for <$1k if it hasn't sold. Bet that would sound sweet, or maybe a Manley Shrimp.
May I suggest the Audible Illusions L2. It the remote version of the M3A. I sold my M3a ONLY because I wanted a remote. I can assure you that you wont be dissapointed in this tubed pre. The M3a has mm and high mc capability..the L2 doesnt, but does have pass through for home theater. The only other pre that I have had in my systems that "betters" the the 10,000 Whytech Opal. And "betters" is in quotes for a reason. Subjectivity is a bitch in the audiophile world.
I have yet to hear a more dynamic bass and midbass (micro and MACRO dynamic bass) that matches a midrange that does vocals proud, and just kicks ass than that from a JOULE ELECTRA LA150. (throws a huge stage too!)

now... I prefer the 6c45p/6h30 version for its detail, slam, and vivdness. BUT the older LA100 mk3 with the right NOS 5751's can rock out too! (just a more laid back presentation, you'd have to switch power cords and isolation cones to make it more forward sounding, probably).

The AI M3a can be a bit warm... and it had WAY to much gain for me (same for the Blue Circle 3.1 prior), thus limiting your ability to dial the sound in for just the right volume. BUT the lower gain (4db up to 8db) might be to low depending on your amps.

If you need more "sparkle" or a more spotlit presenation to the JOULE's, then you have to hear a CAT preamp... to me the Joule's just gets it right here...
I can definitely help on the suggestions listed above. My vote would be for you to get a Modwright SWL 9.0 (& not because I am selling mine!). I have owned many preamps. I owned a Rogue 99 Magnum. Didn't care for, noisy and not refined enough weird soundstage. I borrowed a Audio Mirror PP1 from an audiophile friend he was selling. Don't get it on this one. Didn't work in my system at all. All preamps I have owned were better than this. Had a Joule LA100III preamp, a Belles 28A, and a CJ Pv-11 and now own the Modwright and a Supratek Chardoney with cap upgrades. These 2 preamps are better than all the other preamps I have owned/tried. (although different presentations) I am keeping the Supratek and selling my Modwright (with cap upgrades & bunch of tubes). The Modwright is the most dynamic punchy preamp I have owned, perfect for rock. It is not analytical ( the newer caps help here - on Audiogon for $1675). The best prat of all the preamps I have owned. I know you wouldn't go wrong with the Modwright for your needs. If you were in the area you could borrow it and see. I have been trying out different equipment for years, and the Modwright is the best bang for buck preamp out there. It was much better than even the Belles 28A I purchased for $2400. If I could afford to keep both preamps I would, The Modwright for Rock and R&B, the Supratek for jazz and classical. Hope this helps.
From all the suggestions here and elsewhere i came out with a couple choices the Modwright SWL-9.0 or the Rogue Audio Magnum 99, now of this two which one will be the better choice for listening to hard rock.
I'm loving my new Audio Research sp-16 that I picked up new via a dealer for under $2000.
BTW, once you find a good pre-amp, I think the choice of speakers and suitable matched am[p will make the biggest difference in terms of delivering "rockingest" renditions.

I'd recommend the Ohm Walsh line of speakers ( and a good high current Class D amp.
Rock is great from the Audio Mirror Pp1 and so is jazz. I was listening to some rock an hour ago (Jane's addiction- Down in a hole)) and blown away. The preamp is not forward or laid back. It is whatever your speaker and amplifier are. The Pp1 is fast and detailed, but not bright. Tube rolling in the Pp1 can give you exactly the sound you want. The remote makes it so easy to turn up a song when listening to a CD. I had my volume potentiometer updated as well as some black gate caps added. It sounds better then a CJ PV10 and Melos Maestro. I also compared it to some $1k VTL and Cary preamps and found the Pp1 much better. Vlad is a great guy and will take good care of you for upgrades. He stands behind his products.
Audible Illusions Mod 3 is a great choice I had mine 14 years never a problem and it does not eat tubes . I change tubes for fun every so often but never trashed a tube I have used and tried many NOS and new tubes -Tele 6922 , Tele CCa , Ediswan , Mullard ,Siemens , Ram ,Gold Aero and many many more.
What about Sonic Frontiers SFL-2 anyone on Agon can tell me if this preamp rock's, or is it geared towards classical music?
Tholt what can you tell me about the Sonic Frontiers SFL-2 a friend suggested i give it a listen, i'm getting lots of suggestions but most of this preamps are either old or are only available online so it's not feasible for me to make comparisons, that's why i'm asking for your help also it seams like were both looking for similar results from our respective systems.
Cary Audio SLP98l, no question, rock the house with tubes!!

Get a Cary SLI80 with some Klipsch or Tannoy's and you are rockin' old school.
morgoth, haven't heard th SF stuff so I can't give you an answer. There seems to be some good suggestions here, and I stand behind my Rogue recommendation and I've read good things about Manley products. It seems that if a company has an element of fun to it, it will probably sound good with rock (go figure!). I'm also intrigued by the Juicy Music Peach. The looks are questionable (WTF ugly??) IMO, but the comments seem to cite characteristics that make me think it would be a good pre for the job.

As I've recently learned, impedance matching pre to amp is also important. Make sure if you get a tubed pre mated with your SS amp that the ratio of output to input is around 10-1 to start.
I'll add that old doesn't necessarily mean bad.
What i meant by old was that you cannot audition as easily as a new model, it's just harder to find places were you can listen and compare audio equipment.
You recommend the Cary SLI-80, but what about the SLP 98p, i've been readying alot of positive reviews about it, in your opinion is the SLP 98p one of the Rockingest preamps
Is there such a thing as a good pre-amp that is not "rocking"?
Well, that's what I have in my system now and it's my all time favorite piece of gear. I only mentioned the SLI-80 with high efficeincy speakers because I love that combo for rock music. I don't have that combo, but if you like to rock out, my fav systems for that specifically have always been old school tubes (McIntosh, Dynaco) with Klipsch or Tannoys.

But to be clear, I love my SLP98P F1, I expect they will bury me with it.
Is there such a thing as a good pre-amp that is not "rocking"?

IMO some may be better then others. Read my OP for what I was referring to specifically.

Yes, but I think I would want those things for other forms of music as well even if everything may not be as important for specific works or genres
I've heard pre's that are light in mids and bass (and therefore slam). Others seemed to be a little slow. Those may work fine for some types of music, but for rock specifically I think the listener would find it lacking.
Give a VTL TL 2.5 or if you can swing it a TL 5.5 a shot, You might just find what you're looking for. (I did)
Good luck in your search
O.K i'm new with all this terminology what does PRAT stand for, and is it something that will make music more enjoyable.
Pace Rhythm and Timing. I meant it to be in this case not a sluggish or slow sound, something with perceivable drive
Have you received the Shindo Aurieges yet? Please give us your thoughts when it arrives.
I have and love it. I wouldn't say it's especially tuned for rock, but it certainly plays it with verve. It's more involving then other pre's I've had.

I'm close to picking up a pair of mono Class D amps that I'm interested to hear with the Aurieges and my Usher towers. Seems like an interesting and potentially rewarding combo
Thank you Tholt. I'm looking at picking up the Aurieges myself. I don't listen to as much rock as I did 20 years ago but I still have a library of music from that time and every now and then some old Stones, Marley or Petty is fun.
Are you going new or used? If you can get hold of one I would say its worth an audition. Within the huge category of "rock" that I primarily listen to there are variables -- voice type (and sex) of singer, acoustic, electric, intimate, driving, various sound effects etc. It all sounds very, very good. While it doesn't have the hard slam I've heard before, bass is still very strong and satisfying. I would think the Shindo would sound just as good with other music types. It has an engaging quality to it. I'm off the hunt.
New or used? Either way, but I'd like to get the Aurieges with phono stage. I have a library of LP's that I haven't listened to in (many) years. I'll be in the Bay area in a couple of month's and plan to give Matt at Pitch Perfect a call to audition one. Should be fun. Good to hear your "off the hunt" and thanks for your thoughts.
Matt's a nice guy. I'm almost afraid to go listen to his stuff, I would likely come home depressed.
Tholt i'm glad you finally found a preamp you're happy with, im trying to find a dealer in the Los Angeles area that carries the Shindo Labs gear, i've been reading lots of rave reviews and it sounds like it might be exactly what i've been looking for, thanks again for all your help.
Hey no worries. I think you helped yourself quite a bit as well! Hope to run into you in some threads in the future. It's cool to find like-minded audio-fools.

You prob have read up on Shindo gear in general. I'm always drawn to things that have some sort of off-the-beaten path, special-ness about them, if you will. Shindo gear is revered. When I found a used Aurieges L, I jumped on it just to hear the hype, and fortunately I can. I think you'd be pleased as well, however as I said, I don't think it's got the 'rock' qualities up front like the Rogues or the Manleys (or perhaps the others mentioned here) I mentioned. That being said, it plays rock, and all other types of music I've thrown at it, with a very engaging and enjoyable quality. I certainly don't find it lacking.

Let me know what you come up with. Good luck
One last question Tholt,is the sound of the Shindo laid back or forward and how's the midrange when it reproduces the sound of an electric guitar.
Thanks again
It's not laid back. it's all there with realism and a sense of involvement unlike other pre's I've had. Vocals pop out of the center. The bass doesn't slam like the Metis I used to have, but it's not lacking. To me, nothing is lacking. Electric guitar -- meaty and crunchy. Its a hella fun pre!