Ray Samuels B52 headphone amp as preamp?

I have one used as a headphone amp and it does sound nice as a preamp also (miss a remote volume control though, but I can live with that).

My question is, how does it compare soundwise to other good tube preamps? What am I missing vs. some of the better preamps mentioned here?

A review of the B52 when it came out said it compared well to his big VTL preamp.

You might get more responses on the head fi forum ... I had an RS Stealth for double duty as a headphone amp and preamp but the gain was WAY too much to use as a preamp. The Stealth used a Dact attenuator which has 24 clicks of volume control. I was only able to use the first four steps then it bacame too loud.

Yeah, one of my big pet peeves are that a number of headphone amps use the Dact 24-stepper. I also never get beyond 5-6 steps with any headphone amp that uses this.
I don't even know why anyone would make an attenuator with so few steps. I would actually replace it with another attenuator if I could get it done with confidence.
I don't know if it's a cost issue or a performance one.
It's been a long-standing issue on head fi but it persists.

I'm wondering if it's a design fault in the Dact that seems to produce so much gain in the first few steps. I think it should probably be more logarithmic.
The Dact is an expensive unit on its own (right around $200 USD) so I do not think it is used to save cost. I actually have a Dact in a passive linestage and have been able to use 20 of its 24 steps. In the RSA Stealth, the gain with the tube stage is just too high to make it useful as a preamp. I tend to think the Dact was just designed for use as a passive device or in devices with very little gain.
Thanks Jrinkerptdnet. That makes sense to me that it was meant for a passive preamp. Therefore it just seems puzzling why it is used so often in active preamps/headphone amps.
No clue ... unless the headphone amp was designed for use with cans that are hard to drive and need a lot of gain, the Dact does seem like a poor choice.
Thanks again Jrinkerptdnet.