Preamp for Atma-sphere s30


My Hovland hp200p was "stolen" by a transport company after it was repaired in another town, so now I am looking for a preamp for my Atma-Sphere s30. I am looking in the second hand market. I am looking at a Audio research LS26, and a bat vk-51se (both second hand). It is sadly not posible to test before buying, they are in another part of Norway. Is there anybody that have any experince with these preamps together with the atma-sphere s30? Any other sugestions to what preamps that is a good match?(It has to be a remote controlled preamp!)

My hifi gear is:
Atma-Sphere s30
Merlin vsm mxe with super bam(xlr/rca)
Emm labs cdsd and dac 6e se
Wilson benech full circle
Logitech transporter
Cardas g.r cables

I have owned a different model ARC and have heard the BAT. I would buy the BAT as it more suits my taste. I dare not criticize ARC in these forums, so I will just say I like the BAT sound better. Either will give you a very clean open and 3D sound, especially with the Atmasphere.
I didn't think anything ever got stolen in Norway, that's a shame.
Nearly any preamp will drive the S-30; my personal preference is for a tubes of course:) If you run balanced you stand a better chance of having to spend less time sorting out the sonic merits of the cables but the amp does not care if it is driven balanced or single-ended.

Sorry to hear about your Hovland! Their preamps were pretty decent.
Your speakers will appreciate the "fullness" of the Joule preamps
Thank you for your feedback! Today i bougth a Atma-sphere mp3. That should be a good match;) i am looking forward to get it!!

It was very sad with the Hovland, but when it first happened i think i will be happy with atma-sphere mp3.
Just curious how the s30 is with your Merlin's. Enough power? Been considering trying some Atma-sphere's for some time with my Merlin's.
I used a Joule (among others)/S-30/VSM-se combo +/- a dozen years ago. Mine was a very early S-30 (One of the very first IIRC. It was intended to be a demo, but I bought it from the dealer in Venice, CA. about 15 minutes after he unpacked it - lust at first sight!).

I understand that these early examples may not be representative of later production. That said, it worked well with the VSM, but sort of "doubled down" on the Merlin house sound - an impression of a strikingly transparent midband coupled with some leanness thru the mid-bass.

I ended up preferring Cary 300B monos with the speakers, but I'm sure that some tastes will find the S-30/VSM combo absolutely irresistable.

Marty, there's been of lot of improvement in the S-30 in the last 15 years :)
Merlin always presented with Joule-Electra pre/power amplifier. Surely S30 is great power amp too but I would use Joule-Electra preamp...

I got the impression (maybe from one of your posts here) that there were changes made after the first 15 units. I've never heard a later production example, but my early example certainly had its strengths which were evident when it was appropriately partnered up in the right system and weaknesses that were exposed by less happy marriages. I have no reason to doubt your observation that later units are less "picky" . I hope my post made it clear that I wasn't generalizing about the sound of current/later production S-30s, as I have no experience with them.

To this day, I'd list it among the best looking industrial designs to ever come out of high end audio.

Thanks Marty. We can update those older S-30s so we can get them to sound just like the current version. If we do that the warranty reactivates.