Pre-Amp Recommendation

Thinking its time to update/upgrade. Have a 10-year-old Audio Illusions Mod 3 (with phono card). Rest of system is Audio Research VT 130, Wilson Witts, Audio Research CD 2, TNT 3.5 turntable, Audio Research PH 3, and Magnum Dynalab FT 101A tuner. The only balanced front end equipment is the CD 2. Pre amp needs to have balanced out. Budget of around $2000 used. Got any recommendations?
Audio Research LS-25 MkII.
Get a Bat you can't go wrong.
If you're lucky, a used Atma-Sphere MP-3.
Try to look at the Space-Tech Lab, their balanced pre start from less than US$1K and have a very good review from actual users. I have listened to their products both in the shop and my friend's place, very accurate, natural and opened sound, highly impressed. I am a brand-name freak, not even care to look at these small potatos before, I only will put an eye on Krell, Mark, Jadis, Cary, Conrad-Johnson, Audio-Research.....same as many other stereophile guys, but this small shop completely change my stubbon mind, I didn't met any brand-name products can beat down their musical liveness performance yet, of course their external appearances can look much better. I didn't have any of their products yet, I guess pretty soon I will be one of their customers. They are just like a small hole in the dam being neglected by most of the people right now, but I guess they can do something really big. Their web site is
I second the Atma-Sphere MP-3 it is outstanding!
used aleph P has the features you want and is very quiet unless you go to tubes for their characteristics this is a solid value and very well built piece. The non remote version is quieter than the later remote version.

i would guess this is one pre that will last for many many years.
Hi - You owe it to yourself to hear the new Audio Van Alstine Trancendence 7 Preamp before you buy anything. It doesn't have the "name" factor of some of the elite stuff others will recommend, but it will sound absolutely superb, and the phono is outstanding. It's well within your budget, and you won't regret it for a minute. Here's the link:

Still looking for Tommy The Canexican,
Audio Illusions 3A! Tight bass and won't disappoint you.

I would also look at some of Dense's preamps. They make awfully good stuff, but are rare in the USA unfortunately.
Sim Audio P-5. An audio "work of art" in my opinion. Wonderful sound, built like a tank, and beautiful to boot.
Check the thread entitled "Preamp deal of the Century".

Supratek is the preamp.

I am using a Supratek Chardonnay with WE 350B's and NOS Ken Rad VT231's and it is simply amazing.
SF Line 2 (and save $$$) or Line 3. I had LS-15 and Ref 1 before, Line 3 was so much better I regreted not upgrading earlier. Prior to LS-15, I also own AI Mod 2D.
We have some similiar equipment. I would recommend that you go for just a few bucks more and look for an ARC LS5MkIII. It's ARC's best next to the Ref 1 and Ref 2. It has great medrange magic and is much better than the LS25 which sounds more clinical. It would mate great with your ARC amp, CD2 and PH3. It's truly fully balanced, has a remote and is a steal at the current prices. Good Luck!

Your tubes cost almost as much as the preamp. It oughta sound good. I've invested heavily in tubes for my SupraTek also. I can afford to because I didn't have to spend $10K to get the sound I was looking for.


If you have to have a balanced output, then you don't have many options. BAT or SupraTek. SupraTek's phonostage recieves a lot of rants.
Counterpoint SA5000 $1500
send it back to Mike Elliot at Alta Vista to add the balance out. ($250)
SF Line 3 is also a very fine choice, although higher than budget indicated. I had one for 2 years and was very satisfied with it's performance and features that are simply incredible.