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I'm using a Perreaux SA3 preamp with my bryston 4B-NRB, which works quite well (snell C/V speakers). I don't know if the new perreaux stuff is similar to the old (SA3 is about ten years old), but you see them used here sometimes and sometimes on audioshopper. buying them new seems to be sort of a nuisance, as you go direct from new zealand rather than through dealers here. anyway, i think the sa3 retailed for about 3k when new, so the new ones are probably about the same. they're solid state, though, not tube.
In the past I had a .5b mated with an older 3B (pre ST) and then I moved up to a BP-25/4B-ST combo. Still found it dry but extremely accurate. Went to a Rogue 66 tube preamp and was much happier. Gave up a little of the detail for a warmer sound - more enjoyable to my ears. Audition a tube preamp if you can so you can see (hear) the other side of solid state.
i definitely tink a toobed pre is the way to go. in my system, w/electrocompaniet s/s amps, i use a melos music director, which is outstanding, imho, & can be had for $1500-$2k, depending on age & exact iteration (ma-333/ma-333r/music director). later wersions had remote-control of balance & wolume, balanced outs were an option. in the $700-$1k range was the melos sha-gold/sha-gold-r/maestro. yust a small cut below the ma333 series. ewe will gain all the warmth of tubes, & lose none of the detail of good solid-state. also great dynamics.
There was no indication as to the characteristics desired from this upgrade. That knowledge would have helped tailor a response. Still, several good suggestions have already been made. To expound on a couple of them, the Sonic Frontiers Line 1 is more neutral and analytical sounding in its stock form. It's the most "solid state sounding" pre- I've heard. Adding the right NOS tubes does warm things up a bit, but it's not going to give a highly "tubey" sound. On the other hand the Rouge 66 has more more classic tube characteristics.
In this case, knowing the 3B-ST's analytic (dry?) leanings, on paper I'd give the edge to the Rogue. To borrow someone else's analogy, it's a yin-yang combination that helps avoid too much of a good thing.
The usual disclaimer applies: I haven't tried these pairings, so where possible please listen before buying. BTW, I own a Line 1 (which is a yin-yang compliment to my McCormack amp) and have also extensively auditioned the Bryston, though not together.
Thank you gentlemen for the input, after further research and discovering that my local hi-end dealer on Audiogon is also selling Rogue products now, I am leaning towards a Rogue 66 pre-amp. From all accounts, most people prefer it compared to the Anthem and other simalarily priced pre's.
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