Pre-amp suggestions

I have an aragon 4004 mkll and a pair of paradigm studio 100 v2's and a cal audio labs icon mk11. Anyone have any suggestions on a good pre-amp match for this set up. I was considering a little CJ PV-10 just to try. Very inexpensive way to see how a tube pre might sound with my set up. Thing is i dont want to lose the bass punch but like to smooth out that top end. But then again i might lose detail and air using a tube pre as well. Any suggestions would be most appreciated Thanks
You should gain detail and air with a tubed pre-amp; at least that has been my experience.The ss amp should provide the bass punch / control you seek.

The CJ PV-10 is a very good tubed pre for the money. That is where I started and ultimately ended up with the Premier 16ls II. I am currently running a tubed pre and ss amp with very good results. The soundstaging is amazing with substantial timbre (air) around the instruments. The ss amp provides plenty of bass with good control. And the the tubed pre brings out the inner detail I am looking for. I listen primarily to classical (symphonies and chamber music) with some jazz (female vocals) thrown in. Hope I could help.

I brought home the CJ 14 to demo some time ago. I thought it was pretty poor sonic-wise and wasn't impressed with it's build quality either.

To be nice, I thought it's presentation was quite subdued to say the very least.

My guess is the concerns you mention above are valid.

If you are not into phono, get a used Audible Illusions L-1 preamp. It really settles the sound through ss amps. Very open and transparent without a lot of tube tubiness. If anything, you'll gain openness and transparency. I don't think you will lose the bottom end at all.
If you are into phono, go with the M3A. These pre's offer excellence for the money. You can pick up an L1 for about $650-700 used. It originally sold for $2195. I used it with my McCormack's and now use it with my big Theta. I would buy another preamp but I honestly can't see why. The Audible is that good. I have tried it against a lot of others and I've stayed with it.
The CJ PV-10 is fine. Other choices not mentioned above might be an Anthem Pre1, Pre1L, or Pre2L if you want tubes, or a CJ solid state. You won't lose any bass or air with the Anthems. Very extended frequency response, very dynamic, very nice. Same with the CJ solid state. The PV-10 is a little warmer and softer. I had an AI M3a, and sold it because (1) I liked the Anthem Pre2L better (2) tubes don't last as long in the AI, and (3) the as tested output impedance of the AI was close to 2kohms, which could lead to a low bass roll-off with amps with low input impedance (one of mine has 10kohm input impedance).


Must have been something wrong with it or poor system matching.

If you are concerned about "bass punch" you might want to reconsider the PV-10. It will "smooth out the top end".
Yup, Chick. That's what they always say.

I used a Melos 111B with an Acurus A250, Cal Icon Mk II and Paradigm Ref. 100's. I was satisfied for a good while. I still have the Melos and the 100's. Switched to Sonographe and a 2 piece digital system.
Thanks guys for the responses. Sounds like a decision between the pv-10,illusions L1 or the anthem. They all sound like pretty nice pieces. Goliver as far as the acurus 250 goes hmmm. I know the aragon equipment is a little bright on the high end, and acurus is a sister to the aragon, i wouldnt think the acurus a good match at all with the studio 100s due to their hot treble. And the v2's have even addressed that issue to some degree. So i can understand your looking elsewhere.
I have a C-J Prem 16LS II and the build and parts quality is superb. It is a first rate electronic instrument and a wonderful music making machine. The remote control unit and function is addictive. Volume level can be set exactly right for each CD. C-J always have a technician available by phone and this is very important. They are an established and strong high end company and you will have back up for any problems. I had a PV5 17 yrs ago which had to go back for work twice (tube technology wasn't as advanced as it is today) and both times C-J sent me back two new phono tubes at no cost, and the whole operation took 2 weeks including shipping. A friend had an Audible Illusions pre-amp which took 3 months to get fixed! (This was 10 yrs ago so maybe their customer service has improved.)
Take a look at the Consonance tube preamp choices by Opera Audio. Air, detail and reliability. Work great with Aragon amps. Pictures at
Good luck!
Hi,Check out Audio Research or Classe they make nice preamps and you can get a great deal on a used one,Classe CP-45 or CP-60 both are great, Audio Research LS-3 or LS-12 both are great preamps and good price on the used market, also BAT makes some nice preamps.
You may also want to look at a AES AE-3 preamp.This preamp is made by Audio Electronic Supply which is owned by Dennis Had owner of Cary.You can find one used from $350 to 400 and you will not be disappointed with your minimal investment into the world of tubes.