I have owned both the cj 17 and 16ls II the 16 was better by far. Haven't heard the others on your list but for system synergy(match with your amp) I would stick with the cj.
If you enjoyed your LS-15 and want the same sound signature, but (a lot) more of it, the LS-26 is a wonderful amp.
Personally, I like the synergy of CJ amps and preamps together. If you can find one, the CT-6 is the unsung hero of the CJ preamp lineup - it's like getting 90% of the sound from a CT-5 for less than 1/2 the price. The CJ pre that sounds most like the ARC gear IMHO is the PFR. I know that you want tubes, but it's a great preamp and is available for a very reasonable (aka cheap) price.
Thanks guys, this is the kind of info that I am looking for. Now, if I could only audition all of the recommended pre-amps in my environment I would be in a real good position to make a wise choice. I am lined-up with the local dealer for a demo/loaner Shindo and a VTL 5.5 ... that is at least a good start.
Absolutely agree with Ahendler. The Shindo Aurieges L is the "entry level" pre in Shindo's lineup but there is nothing entry level about its sound. Far more musical than my Audio Research Ref 3. If I ever manage to sell my Ref 3, I will be replacing it with an Aurieges L or maybe even a Monbrison. Can't wait. ;->