Tally up best preamplifier ever

We have seen so many threads on what is the best preamplifier ever, but the responses end up in paragraph form as a result making it hard to get a good accessment of which preamplifier gets mentioned most or more often, which is ok, but let us see if we can get a thread going that will make it easy to tally up which preamplifier gets the most votes as the best preamplifier............. We all have different tastes let's keep in mind that the diversity is a plus and there is no need to make this a personal crusade................ I think most of us would like to see a genuinely accurate picture of which is the best preamplifier. I don't like to live by rules but if I may suggest let's keep the response limited to just the name of the preamplifier company and model name or number. Every now and then we can get a score card showing the results. I would like to start off with what I consider the best preamplifier: .............. hovland hp200
Bent Audio NOH
Kondo KSL M1000 and KSL M77 for the second place.
Supratek Cabernet
c-j Premier 16LS MK II or 17LS Series 2
Atma-Sphere MP-1 MKII
Krel MRT Master Ref Tube
Tube Research Labs GTP-4 or their new multi-channel
Of course I'm biased, I own the GTP-4 ...
Gryphon Elektra/Orestes
Try the Tron Syren (see 6 moons website for new review). I have the Tron Meteor (the Syren's predecessor) and this is stunning. I've known Graham Tricker, the designer and maker, for 15 years. His tube amplifiers have alwyas been designed as bespoke ultimate instruments. Like Frank Schroeder, Graham makes every piece himself. Unbelievably, he will also sell his amps with a money back deal if you don't like them!
Supratek Cabernet
First Sound Paramount statement= 4 chasis 128lbs and over 500,000 microfarads worth of juice.Eat your heart out!!
Hovland HP 200 (replaced my JP-80-MC).
deHavilland UltraVerve
Joule Electra LAP 150 and Bent Audio NOH - I own and use both. The Joule replaced a Hovland HP 100 P, which in turn replaced a VTL 7.5. The Joule is by far the best tube pre-amp I have heard or used - it is very dynamic (using the very latest in Russian super tubes, and separate power supplies that would power Cleveland for many separate stages) and gives the most "you are there" reality and "jump" in the midrange I have heard. The tube phono section is wonderful. As a back-up (with high-powered tubes you always want a back-up) I use the Bent Audio NOH - a passive pre-amp, but using exotic transformers to step up the current to avoid the "anemic" sound that can result from passive pre-amps. It also uses the latest in relay switching and remote controls - very handy. Anyway the Bent NOH is very, very clean and pure, but still punchy, particularly on CD, every bit as much as the Joule LAP.
There is no such thing...but since you asked...

Herron VTSP-1 (w/lastest upgrades) It just sounds like music...live music.

This is the preamp I own, of course. But I auditioned Joule Electra LA100 mkIII, First Sound Presence Deluxe MkII, Hovland HP100, Blue Circle Galatea, CAT Ultimate and various ARCs and C-Js.

I remember being impressed by the CTC Blowtorch and Aethetix Callisto in demos, but these machines are 10k and 5k more than my beloved Herron.
Supratek Cabernet, the best I've heard according to my preferences. But I haven't heard everything out there.
deHavilland Mercury may be a giant slayer!
I suppose I can list some of the contenders, but of course, the "best" is dependent on system, taste and need (e.g., remote controlled?). Sonically, the best I've heard in systems that I am familiar with are:

Audionote (u.k.) M-10 and M-8
Emotive Audio Epifania

I heard the Connoisseur in a system that I was not familiar with and it sounded very good. I heard the top of the line Boulder linestage and phono preamp in a system whose other components I know well, but the system did not sound right, but it's impossible to attribute the source of the problem. The Boulders certainly look good, are well built and the convenience and flexibility are absolutely top notch.

I own a Mark Levinson Ref. No. 32 preamp/linestage. It, like the Boulder and BAT linestages, has an extremely versatile and easy to use remote control that allow for an amazing array of setup options. Sonically, it is a bit on the soft and polite side. It is not in the league of the M-10 or Epifania, but it is remotely controlled and probably takes up less than a tenth of the real estate the M-10 would take up (not to mention costing about $100,000 less).

I have a Placette Active linestage that is not quite as flexible and versatile as the Levinson, but is sonically quite good (more vivid and exciting), particularly given its relatively reasonable price ($4,000).
Emotive Audio Sira LE
using woo audio preamp $1k awsome deal for the price
From all l have heard, the Supratek Cabernet
Silly, Dont you know that the best preamp is.................no preamp. On a serious note, How many preamps have been made? Do you think people responding to this thread have tried every one or do they vote for the 3 or 4 that they've actually owned and listened to in they're own system. Does that seem like a thorough evaluation. It seems a little ridiculous doesn't it. I guess you guys are bored, I'll stick with my Line-3. Have fun with your thread.
To all you deHavilland preamp owners. I have been interested in their preamps and was wondering how they compared to other preamps you've owned. They seem to place an emphasis on "big tube" sound in their preamps, evidenced by the tubes they employ. A characteristic I love.
I have recently had a Hovland HP100 and Lamm LL2 in my system. I felt the LL2 bettered the HP100 but I recently upgraded to the Lamm L2 and it seems to be better than the HP100 or LL2 in every way. I really think system matching is the key but I have never heard a preamp that presents this much detail in such a continuous natural manner than I hear with the Lamm L2.
New Audio Note M8 with phono. This incorporates a completely new power and preamp section. It is an amazing upgrade over the old M8. List is $31,500
Just bought a Hovland 200 with phono. Can't wait!

Matching the proper components,Placette Passive!
A real sleeper. Battery powered with a smartly designed charger that never lets the preamp see VAC. Unlike some other battery powered preamps I've heard, the Quantum passes all of the bass signal. Remote control is not a part of the design philosophy here. Thank you. Unexpectedly, my new favorite feature of the Quantum are the two phase inversion toggle switches on the rear panel. It seems recordings are made with no default phase and some heavily multitracked recordings have individual tracks out of phase all together. Filping these switches can have a positive effect on most purist recordings.
Messenger Preamp!

One of the most natural and musical midranges I have heard.

MFA MC Reference. Nothing like it.
Boulder 1012, Spectral DMC 30SL and Nagra PL-P
I did an A-B with the Levinson 320S and the Nagra. The Nagra made the Levinson sound dull and lifeless.

I then did an A-B with the Nagra & the CJ ACT2. The CJ made the Nagra sound dull and lifeless.
Jadis JPS2
Audio Note Japan KSL-M7
Lamm L2 Reference
Meridian 861
Canary CA-903
Rmaidenberg: I´ve heard very good things about CJ ACT 2. I´ve an option on the forthcoming (release autum/winter 2005) fully balanced PL-P MK II (or however it will be called). I strongly believe this one will be very hard to beat. Can´t comment on current PL-P vs. ACT 2 but PL-P vs. many others (see my thread best pre under US 10.000,00. The best I´ve heard is Boulder 1012 - stunning detail, clarity, space, speed, etc. Spectral as well was very good.
Wyetech Opal.Once you hear it you will not change. Only reason its not on many lists (although it is on HP's in TAS) is because they do not advertise and have only 2 dealers. This keeps marketing costs down, so the price of an Opal is about 50% less than it normally would be.

CTC Blowtorch...but Pedrillo, I don't think you're going to ever get a "...genuinely accurate picture of which is the best preamplifier". Tallying these responses is skewed (obviously) by what people have heard, so preamps that are more expensive and/or harder to get hold of are prone to getting fewer "votes". Even more of a problem: how many people who "vote" (including me!) have heard ALL of the "serious" contenders in their OWN SYSTEMS, and with all other variables COMPLETELY CONTROLLED (i.e. to see what each preamp's "character" is really like relative to others). To further complicate matters: I'd venture many of us have had the experience of inserting a new product into our systems that someone we trust has recommended as being better - and THEN having been disappointed with the new product. This has happened to me enough times that I have learned a very important lesson: one tends to get in "trouble" when he assumes the relative quality of two components without trying other things (cable changes, room treatments, speaker or head position, etc) to make each component sound it's best, i.e. tweaking things a bit. I think I understand your desire for a definitive and absolute answer on preamps. I just don't think it's possible for ANY component.
Great post, John. Naturally I agree with your choice but also with the overall view that an "absolute" best doesn't exist. For what it's worth, there are a few very nice tube units as well. It's all about system synergy (careful matching) and personal taste. To-MAY-to, To-MAH-to :-)

I´d like to add another top pre-power combo: Jeff Rowland 301 and Coherence II - stunning looks, build quality and sound especially when they drive Avalon Eidolon N Diamond.. Two other names: FM Acoustics and Goldmund..
Form this list, you would think there isn't a preamplifier out there isn't the best preamp ever.
Problems one runs into with these threads apart from taste and the very different systems a pre-amp may be part of, are of course that no-one really heard them all and it is a moving target over time. Which is why I find it interesting this thread is being revived after almost five years.

So, I'll translate "best" in "best I ever heard" and then it is, yes you guessed it, yet another name:
Tidal Presencio

I heard this when Lothar, its designer, was still putting the finishing hand on it. Even then, it was a stellar performance, completely beyond competition for anything I have had the pleasure to hear so far (with a price ticket to match, admittedly).
A little long in the tooth, but a contender none the less is the Sonic Frontiers Line 3, particularly if you allow one that has had a recent Chris Johnson "full monty" mod performed. Not strictly production, but...
Conrad Johnson ART series 2.
Marantz 7C
Balanced Audio Technology (BAT) .. Rex
Ayre KX-R
what about the VAC phi beta or signature renaissance?
This doesn't seem to be tallying. I will say that the best preamplifier ever when using the Joule VZN Amps with Merlin VSM speakers is the Joule LA300 ME.
The best preamplifier in the world at the moment is the Tidal Presencio (by far). There are some other super league preamps by Tidal, Sovereign, Wavac, Dartzeel etc but Presencio belongs in a different class altogether.
VAC Signature Mk2a. There is a current review by Dagogo. Importantly, it doesn't require specific amps or speakers to do its job exceptionally well. A Statement piece.
After many actives and many passives, the Lightspeed Attenuator - though single source only and no gain. And all of $450!. I am curious about The Truth preamp though.