VAC Renaissance and Cary SLP05 come to mind. I own the VAC and it is a joy to listen to and operate.
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You should be careful and to find out if your selected preamp has:
a) XLR Plugs but single ended inputs/outputs
b) XLR Plugs with balanced inputs/outputs
c) XLR Plugs with true fully balanced preamplifier
Obviously, a) is a faux balanced and c) is the best. I know only BAT which does fully balanced tube preamplifiers. I am sure some other do it too but you will HAVE TO contact manufacturer directly
Your post is duly noted and I did not know this fact. Your products are uniformely prised and I am sure its one of many reasons behind it.
My attitude is that fully balanced amplification definitely improves performance but raises price for the end-user (in various degree, depending on the way of implementation) so if its top of the line SE unit,in theory, customer should have an option to select fully balanced configuration.
Regarding balanced inputs and outputs only - its not that big of the deal one way or another and francly depends on upstream noise....
Yours very truly,
I found this thread when looking at the forum today. For me I like the combination of a Bottlehead BeePre preamp matched with a pair of Red Dragon M1000 Mark 1 amps.
The Bottlehead BeePre has XLR outputs and my Red Dragon M1000s only have XLR inputs. I believe both are balanced so the pairing works great to me.