Thiel CS2.4 and suggestion on preamp

So Im getting back into Hi End Audio after many years. To that end I have purchased some Thiel CS.4's and a Vincent SP-331 amp. I've had my Acurus LS11 preamp modified by Ken Ealey. I also run a Rega Apollo R CD player. My cable is Kimber Kable 8tc speaker cable and I still use some old Tributaries for interconnects.

The sound as many of your know is very revealing on these speakers. I've been reading on this forum how many people say they are bright. I suggetst that it's not so much the fault of the speakers (though there is energy in the highs) as it is the listening position, toe in (or lack thereof) and most importantly the quality of recording that contributes to a really good sound vs. a bad sound in them. Without a doubt most of my 90's CD's sound overly bright (of course there are exceptions). However, with the right recording these speakers are wonderful. My amp is a Hybrid design with a tube front in and SS output. The Acurus line stage is going on 20 years old, but I had it refreshed by Ealey and man that thing is amazing now for a meager 300 bucks.

Currently I am auditioning my workmates VTL TL2.5 preamp just to compare for kicks. The VTL is all tube and it does soften the highs of the Thiels a bit, which allows me to enjoy many more of my older CD's. However it comes at a cost to the space around the instruments. There isn't as much air around the performers and their is a more laid back feeling while being not as detailed feel to the music. The bass of the VTL isn't as tight or controlled as the Acurus either. However, I've never had tube equipment and this expierment has me thinking of what tube preamp would be a good fit for my speakers. If my budget is $4k (but preferably $2.5K +/-) I could go with a Audio Research LS17 pr SP17, but there is no where near me to hear these pieces, for that matter any hi end gear. I limited to the internet for most of my purchases.

My question is what would be a good match for the Thiels for a preamp that would have good space around the performers, good tight controlled bass, with highs that wont aggrevate the Thiels.
I used a cj premier 16 tubed pre with Thiel 3.6's and it was a very good combination.
I have used an Audio Research Reference 5 and now 5SE as well as an Ayon CD5S hooked up to my SS preamps driving the Thiels. Definitely a good combination.

I've been told the LS27s are a bit of a bargain being very close to the Reference 5 that they had to upgrade it to the 5SE.
How long have you had your 2.4s? It took me a year to break mine in so that the bass response improved greatly and any perception of brightness (I'm not convinved of this) disappeared. You gotta play these speakers; even Jim Thiel admitted this in an interview froma few years ago. I agree that a CJ pre would reveal much detail in the music along with ambient low level informationt that contribures to three-dimensionality of space around the musicians.
IME, matching a pre to the amp, might be the priority. With that said c-j pres seem to work well with Thiels.
I might try a CJ, but my budget would limit me to a classic line stage or et-2 or et-3

As it stands now I will be ussing a NAD M51 DAC that will allow me to run 2 channel sacd's thru hdmi or redbook cd's. It's getting great reviews and it can be used as a preamp. I'll try that route and if bettering the source doesn't work then I might go CJ tube per. I need to do some research on the CJ units I mention first. Not sure how they stack up in their price points vs say rogue or vtl gear.
I have owned 2.4s for six years now and have tried several amp/pre combinations. Ss always sounds a little bright. Tubes are absoutly the way to go. I have had the best luck with the bat vk3ix with 6922s and prefer it to the se models because of the much needed warmth.
I would consider replacing the tributaries interconnects. I used the silver top modle with locking rcas and was never happy with the sound. While good for the money, I had a hard time with the hard, brittle sound they passed. I know this was not really part of your question. I used them in various systems from meridian, classe, and musical fidelity. I have used kimber pbj to nordost various cables and considered them all a huge improvement over the tributaries. Either way, good luck in you search.
Actually I have ordered some Cardas twins to give a try out.
congrats on such a nice system. I've lived with the cs2.4 speakers for 7 yrs now and have used the VTL pre you currently have.(now in a second system w/SCS 4 speakers) keep that gem or maybe consider a balanced design tube pre. I chose the BAT VK-3ix with XLR runs to VK-600 and the sound is just astonishing. Would be interested in hearing the vincent gear someday

Good luck
I hope you enjoy the cardas. I have always wanted to try them but have had touble finding them used while in the market for some. I have read great reviews for them as I am sure you have as well. Please post your thoughts on them once you use them, if you dont mind? Either way, good luck
I am using a Primare PRE30 preamp and Primare A33.2 amplifier and the CS2.4's just seem to get better after a long break in period. They are so open and nice sounding now. I have had them now for two years and they sound so good now.
I have 2.4s and have tried them with both an Audio Research SP14 and a Jon Soderberg modified Threshold FET 9e. They sound really fabulous with both and I am currently using the Threshold simply because it fits better in my shelving. I have also tried Parasound, Emotiva, Denon, Harman Kardon and Onkyo pre amps and all of them sounded either veiled or bright with the Theils. I also have tried several power amps including Hafler, Acurus and B&K but feel the Conrad Johnson 2300A I'm using now is giving me by far the best sound yet. It has been said many many times that Thiels are very revealing of upstream sources and it has been my experience that this is true. Careful system matching is needed to get the best out of them.
I agree with your assesment Drjay. Im using my NAD M51 DAC as preamp straight to my Parasound Halo A21 right now. The sound is not bright at all on good recordings and is VERY open and clear. I have downloaded several albums from and have found them simply amazing on my system. I have a CJ MF2100 but it simply doesn't have the guts to push the Thiels. I also tried a Vincet amp and it just didn't have the low end grunt that was needed. Im pretty happy with the Parasound so far considering its price point. The trick with the Thiels as Im coming to understand, and that most people have already said on Audiogon, is that you need lots of clean power. If the amp cant deal with the bass then the highs sound clean but the bass cant starvs giving the impression of a bright speaker. However, if you feed it gobs of clean power and allow the bass to have its day, then the speaker balances out nicely. Not to say the the Thiel has gobs of bass, it doesnt, just accurate for whatever bass is there. However, they are a VERY revealing speaker so a bad recording can hurt your ears.

I was considering a Balanced preamp, but Im not sure I like the idea of another potential distortion between the sorce and the amp. I like the idea of less is more. But Im open to comments/ and or correction on this.
True balanced operation should diminish the potential for distortion.
What benifits would adding a preamp be? I would think it would only add the new preamps sonic signature to the sound. I suppose this could be good or bad - depending.
Please excuse me, I think I got confused by your earlier post. I thought you were referring to the issue of the complexity of balanced vs. the simplicity of single ended.
Often times a separate pre will offer stronger output to the amp, increasing dynamics and usually a separate pre will have a better, more suave volume pot, and as previously alluded to, balanced operation does have some inherent advantages. But if your volume controlled DAC is working well, the redundancy could compromise things. Your point is well taken.
try and listen to a BAT preamp. I think it sounds perfect and I came from using the VTL
Velocityofhue, right now i run straigt from the source to the amp. Though I would love to add a BAT preamp wouln't I just be adding a sonic flavor to the signal at this point. Assuming the BAT doesn't does help in any other way. One question though, being that the Thiels lean towards the bright side how does the BAT influence the highs?
I think it sounds great as it does absolutely nothing, I believe it gets out of the way of the music. Speaker cables on the other hand really affect the sound in my system. If i want highs all day with tawt tight bass the straightwire crescendos get put on, If i want a more rich full and meaty sound i use cardas quadlink. my dealer who i always trusted said BAT and Thiel was a good combo and I couldnt agree more