Preamp upgrade opinion...

thinking of upgrading from a Levinson No. 28 preamp w/phono to something else. I currently own a Pass Labs x250 amp and my musical tastes range from rock to reggae with an occasional jazz piece. I'm not certain a tube preamp would fit the bill (please correct me if I am wrong!!!). Currently use XLR inputs and outputs in my current setup and could probably go with RCA's if need be with a future preamp. What could I possibly purchase in the <3k market with something a little newer. The phono option would be nice but not mandatory. Let's discus. Regards. J~
Ab5dbd3d 809a 499d a874 6e6a0f80361dteleos
I would look at upcoming Modwright SWL 9.0 Anniversary Edition preamp. It is targeted to sell below $3K and will be a 5687 based single-ended line stage of all-tube design, with choke-regulated supply, Home Theater Bypass and integral headphone amp.

You can also add phono option for $350.00. 

Speak to Dan at Modwright and he will happy to answer any question or concerns. 

I have a Pass X250. I used to have a MW SWL 9.0 SE and I really liked that pre but being singled ended was a little too noisy on the Pass. You're pass wants to run balanced so I would caution not sticking with a balanced preamp. I moved up to a MW LS36.5 and it's in another league honestly. The LS36.5 works and sounds great the X250.

I listen to much of the same types of music you do and the LS36.5 has great PRAT; pace, rhythm and timing. You can probably pick up a used one in your budget.

I came close to picking up a Pass X10 which gets great press in its price range and you can find them used at Reno Hi Fi in your price range. I went with the MW primarily because I really liked my SWL. Don't miss the SWL at all honestly as the LS36.5 is so much better.
Meant Pass XP10... not X10

Thanks. But do you ever find the bass and depth lacking at all using a tube preamp? I also purchased my amp at Reno Hi. In your opinion is the X10 better than the MW?
If you can find a used TRL DUDE preamp, the sound is without compromises and the bass is just awesome--tube or solid state.  It is a tube preamp with a very stout power supply.  Read the online reviews. There are many.  No phono section, however.  The DUDE is a large unit (75 lbs.) and has RCAs only.

The MW preamps are also very nice.  They will not equal the DUDE in sound quality.
The Pass Labs amps seem to work quite well with tubes. I think you will appreciate the additional detail and smoothness they bring to the party. Some preamps will have trouble making bass into the Pass Labs and others won't.

We have a little preamp called the UV-1 that might suit- even comes with a phono section.

Whatever preamp you get, get one as nice as you can- the Pass Labs will love you for it as they are quite revealing.
Telos. No the ModWright does not at all lack bass. It's a great preamp that is not at all thin, overly tubey or a wimp. 

I spoke to Pass when I was looking for a new preamp and they strongly cautioned me using a singled ended preamp on the X250; I know on my former preamp it was too noisy. The X250 has 30dB of gain so it's a little noisy to begin with. They .5 and .8 series have had their gain dropped probably for that reason. They mentioned to me they ran it that high for home theater users to begin with.

I never had the XP10 at home but came close to trying it. Read a lot of reviews from actually users using it, also X250 and ModWright users and came across several here using the X250 with MW LS36.5 so I went that route and since my former preamp was a ModWright I felt safe and it is a great combination.

It is a fine preamp but like any tube pre, tubes make a difference and I am running none of the stock tubes which seriously made a great difference for the better.

Whatever you try or end up with I would stick with a balanced unit.
Thanks for your response. Would the BAT VK-50SE match well with my X250?
Krell EV222, Krell Phantom III, Krell Illusion 2...all three could fit your price and sound AWESOME.  :-) 
Thanks for your response. Would the BAT VK-50SE match well with my X250?
 RIt should. Have you expanded your budget?
I found one around the 3k mark.
@teleos, Can you please share. 
BAT stuff kicks. They over build. Good resale and strong performer.
Balanced keeps the noise that you can't hear down. Lets the music through. Good luck.
For what it is worth, I tried a Pass X350 with my Primia Luna Dialogue Premium and thought is sounded good, if a bit polite for my taste.
I have actually decided on an Atma-Sphere MP-3. I have been patiently lurking around to find a second-hand unit. They seem to be VERY hard to come by.