Need help with preamp purchase

What I have so far.
cd ayre c5xe
amp h20 S250

Looking for an active preamp with balanced connections. Has to have a remote. I will also concider a passive pre with the above features. The most important thing is that it has to mate well with the h20. Price wise I'm concidering $5000 - $6000. I can go a little above $6000 but not by much. Oh and no tubes at all!!! Come on guys voice your thoughts!!!
Krell has a few SS balanced pre's
BAT VK-51SE....sorry, but you can't really do any better if you love music.....IMHO.
I highly recommend the Ayre K-1XE.
It has 3 balanced and 3 single ended inputs.
It has an optional remote.
(Note the remote only controls volume and mute, but that works fine for me.)
It has optional phono boards that are very, very good.
Check the reviews and you will find it is an excellent choice.

New the price exceeds your price range, but used, it comes in a bit below. (I believe Jtinn has a fully loaded K-1XE, with remote and phono boards for sale for $4,900.)

Good Luck in your search.
Chadaudio816, I would recommend you put on your audition list the Placette dual active line stage. It retails for $4500.00, but you can ask Guy Hammel, designer/owner of Placette, to build you one with balanced connections for a slight increase in price. My Placette replaced a ML-32 reference which cost $10000.00 more. I had auditioned over six pre-amps before I decided on the Placette and find it to be a wonderful linestage that brought my whole system to another sonic level of enjoyment.
B/c of the low input impendance of the ICE modules, there may be compatability issues w/ a passive preamp.
The H20 won't work well with a passive preamp. Why don't you buy the "Fire preamp" from Henry the designer of the H20 amps?

Any of the Blue Circle BC3 model preamps can be made fully balanced with remote controls. This includes the BC3 Despina, BC3 Galatea, and BC3000 (all new Mk2 versions).

The BC103 is a solid state preamp is also fully balanced and can be made with remote volume controls.

The BC3's are tube which you've said you don't want. Can I ask why? BC tube preamps are pretty much maintenance free. New tubes once every 3 to 5 years and not harder than changing a light bulb. $60 to $100 each time, assuming you keep it that long.

I am an authorized Blue Circle dealer. Contact me if you like for more information.
The Rowland Synergy IIi may also be a consideration if you want balanced as well as no tubes. I have heard high praise of the Placette preamps also mentioned above.

I personally use the First Sound Presence Deluxe Mk II with my H20 Sig monos, but the First Sound is single ended only and has tubes.

You will not want a passive preamp to mate with the H20's.
I have looked at the ayre. And have read the latest review from, I think that's it. From the review it sounds like the guy really loved this pre. My only question would be if it would mate well with the h20. I don't have a glue of what the specs mean.

The same thing with the Placette dual active line stage, mating with the h20.

I think my top choice would be the fire pre. With the Ayre in second. I'm going to see if I can talk to henry about it. I don't think it's up for sale though since it's not on his site.

As far as tubes, I'm not a big fan ever since I tried a tubed cd player. The cd player dimmed the highs and made the lows sound slow, not in pace with the music, and had no attack at all. The only think that I loved was the mids, tubes are great with voices. I can't remember the name of the player.
Thanks for you responses guys.
The cd player dimmed the highs and made the lows sound slow, not in pace with the music, and had no attack at all.

Boy, you got hold of the wrong tubed CD player, bub. I wish you could come to my house, or to the homes of three audio buddies to hear how tubes will faithfully and accurately reproduce crystalline highs, and tight, fast, punchy bass.

You owe it to yourself to investigate tubed equipment further. You haven't yet heard what they can do.
Nods in agreement with Tvad.
Tvad and Audiofankj

I might give tubes a try down the road. Tvad I live in Los Angeles,Ca. I will love to give your system a listen, when you have time. Get in touch with me through this tread and let me know.
Provided you can convince my wife you're not an axe murderer, you're on Chadaudio816...
Sent you an email. For the rest I will report what my ears hear and get back to this thread. If Tvads tubes makes me dance in his chair then I will have to change my mind and go the tubes route.

I have no clue either whether the Ayre K-1XE would mate well with the H2Os either. I have used a Levinson No. 23 (solid state amp) with it and now the Lamm M2.1s (hybrid amp) and they both sound great, (especially the M2.1s, since they add just a touch of tube warmth to the sound).

If your local Ayre dealer won't let you home audition the Ayre, perhaps, since the H20s are relatively small, you could bring them to them and hook them up their to check them out. (Just a thought.)

Good Luck.