Preamp shootout: Linear tube audio, Modwright, etc.

Hi Audio friends,

The world of preamps is taking me down a lot of rabbit holes and I'm curious what everyone out there thinks.  My journey here started with using my Dac direct to amp.  As soon as I inserted a dedicated pre the debate over pre vs. no pre ended.  Didn't realize I was missing a third of the music.  My current rig: wilson sabrina's, Coda TS v2 power amp, exasound DAC, silnote & cardas cables .  I was using a Modwright LS100 and I'm currently trialing the Linear tube audio ref pre.  The LS 100 is holographic, images well, but is not nearly as open or detailed as the LTA.  The LTA is gorgeous through the mids, but is a little muddy through the bass and not really suited for hard rock.  Wonder if different tubes would make a substantial difference to the LTA?  If anyone has experience please share. 

What other options might be considered in this price range?



I’ve had an MZ2 for about 3 weeks and it’s definitely the best preamp I’ve heard in my system.  Quiet and uncolored. 

+1 for Modwright 36.5

It is the one of best Pre amplifiers on the market. I am just wondering there are so few talking about this pre.



I owned ModWright LS36.5 single chassis version for many years, at the same time I also own Einstein & Aesthetix Janus Signature.  LS36.5 had upgraded rectifier.

LS36.5 had stellar bass control, not the most weight, but deep and taut, much like BAT VK51SE which I used to own.  Midrange was quite neutral, borderline flat or boring sounding, again like BAT here.  But top end is why I sold the pre.  It's a bit recess, lacking air and extension and this is playing back on Aerial 20T with excellent air, with that comes with missing details.  I did play with 6H30DR to ill effect, at the end decided to let it go.  I sold my BAT51SE for the same reason, but I have many BAT amps in my system which is a completely different animal.

Another reason for staying away ModWright was their service, Dan certainly left a pretty bad taste in my mouth...

In comparison, Aesthetix Signature is much more open, more apparent to tube rolling, and more flexible, though it does have higher noise floor.  Nothing came close to Einstein so far.

Very happy with my LS36.5 and I’ve compared to ARC units around the same price and a little more and I’ll keep my ModWright. Using the Mullard rectifier with Herbie tube dampers on cryoed 6H30’s. Per Dans recommendations I’m using mostly WyWires cables and highly recommended the Daedalus DiD’s, which really opened up the LS36.5. Every time I have spoken or emailed Dan, he has always been courteous and easy to work with and has giving me great deals.