I think you should try the best active preamp you can afford and see if its poorer detail and transparency are worse than its "midrange magic" is pleasing. I'm selling a CAT SL 1 III and keeping a homemade passive which sounds better to me, on balance. Despite having its signal path drastically simplified at the factory, the CAT just doesn't achieve the velvety background silence and astonishing transparency of a good passive. I get the "tube magic" from my power amps. It's chacon a son gout here, so see if you can try both on the highest affordable level. But I wouldn't buy a commercial passive preamp, as it's so easy to make one that beats virtually all of them at a much, much lower price.
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