please chime in...

i've replaced the pre section of my simaudio moon i-5 integrated with a tweaked bottlehead foreplay for cd only. i find tubes in my otherwise ss chain makes a difference. it smooths things out. normally i hate digital, and prefer listening to vinyl. but while the table is in the shop, i've been listening to a lot of cd's, and have been pretty satisfied at what the foreplay has brought to the mix. my question is: is this crazy?? using a $300 or so pre instead of the class a pre in a $2700 integrated and hearing a difference? is it possible? i know the common answer might be if it sounds good to you keep doing it, but im just trying to get opinion if this is logical, and if so, why don't more folks try it with their ss integrateds? and im wondering trading all of this in and using something like a pathos hybrid might make more sense...

really looking for feedback here. thanks.
Makes sense to me. I use tube pre/ss power and it works quite well IMO.

As for the price difference, you're comparing a mainstream manufacturer who sells via traditional distributor/retailer channels to a direct marketed brand that caters to the DIY enthusiast. A Bottlehead's MSRP would be 3-4 times higher if it had to pass through as many hands as a SimAudio to get from Doc to you.

In a market as inherently small as high end audio, economies of scale in manufacturing and distribution are difficult to achieve. The value-for-cost battle cannot often be won by ramping up volume, the demand simply isn't there to support it. Manufacturers seeking to provide greater value can do so by eliminating layers between themselves and the end user. Go to CES and you'll see the companies that prefer the traditional, high cost distribution chain. Go to VSAC, MWAF or similar shows and you'll see the manufacturers who prefer the lower cost direct sales route - and you'll see many components that offer outstanding performance for your dollar.

Bottlehead, Cain & Cain, Galibier, Teres... there are plenty of examples.
thanks doug never thought about it like that. a little validation goes a long way. can't wait to get my scout back into the chain...
I would wait until the turntable returns.I enjoy listening to digital,but after listening to analog-there should be no comparison.
Lots of audiophiles are using tubes, cables and other tweaks to tame the harshness coming from their digital front-ends. The problem with this is that result is loss of detail, HF/LF extension and usually dynamics. If you get the RIGHT digital front end, it can be sibilance-free, dynamic and extended - very analog-like. This is the music that I prefer - more live.
When I started using a tube preamp, many of my CDs started to sound a lot better. Even those with mediocre fidelity. Not just smoother highs, but better intonation and representation of complex musical passages. Was less fatiguing too. IMHO, my system seemed to project more life out of those bits.

I can't say whether it's more accurate. But to me it is much more enjoyable.

i think that's the key to my system. my digital front end (arcam cd62t) isn't bad, and didn't sound particulary bad when using straight throught the i-5. but i do hear more detail, and while cd's weren't particulary harsh, they are certainly smoother with the foreplay in the system. and as you point out, more enjoyable.
Well Sim isn't known for their preamps. Their amps are good, though. So maybe that's what you are experiencing? But who knows.
I sell the Mapleshade/Walker CD tweeks.You might try the Microsmooth and Ionoclast.They both have a 30 day return policy and have made a sizeable improvement in my enjoyment of digital.