If your current preamp is only flat sounding, I would keep it for now. Its very hard to find a good, inexpensive preamp in your price range; new or used. I would consider a passive solution but not active. If you go active, you are likely to get something else that sounds flat; or worse, you'll end up with something that is bright or harsh. The preamp is too just too important. The only cheap way around it is to not use one.
3 responses Add your response
The only cheap way around it is to not use one.Not true at all.
Check out Mapletree Audio http://hollowstate.netfirms.com/
2A SE Linestage: Point-to-point wiring; customizable gain for each input; separate PS; 6SN7/12SN7 tubes switchable; single volume and separate channel level controls; best customer service; new < $1k.
My system retails for over $15k. Some say the preamp is the most important system component. My 2A SE Linestage, as inexpensive as it is, is not going anywhere. I love this piece - it is wonderful.