I had excellent results with the ARC LS25, if its solid state your after try a Conrad Johnson 18LS. My MC402 matched very well with both these preamps.
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I hear you Unclejeff but I do listen to vinyl and cds so I gotta get a pre.......... I did try cdp going right into the power amp......... it was a clean beautiful sound but the amp was too laid back for me............ but that was a MC122, not as cool as a 352. Any way. thanks. and I'll look at that cd player you mentioned.
Hey Les! So you've decided to get the 352 - that's great. My opinion is that when it comes to forward vs. laidback, the main impact will come from the speakers. I have two systems in my room now and I can switch between them on the fly using the C42 and all I can say is that WOW! The difference between the presentation styles is amazing. I use a CJ MV55 on Triangles and my MC7200 on JM Labs and the two couldn't be more different. However, when I swap amps, the change isn't significant which means the speakers make the difference. If you want really forward, you have to pick the right speakers IMO. Preamps can help but not as much.
Anyway, it is hard to say which pres are forward and which are laid back since it all works as a system. I have had 9 preamps so far in my current room/system and the most forward has been a BAT VK-3i. But the most natural sounding of them all is my C42.
At the moment I'm stuck with Thiel 1.5s.........and I'm up in the air still.........I could take the MA6500 or the MC352 and wait and save for a good pre. I left a down payment so one of them is coming home with me? If I take home the Mc352 I should be satisfied for a long time......... it's balanced and powerful. Could curb my upgrade symptoms as far as power amps go.