Tube or Solid State Preamp- BAT or AR

Dear Audiogon Friends;

I am in the process of putting together a two channel audio system and I want to get a good preamp either solid state or tube to go with the system.
I don't need it to have a phono stage. I am looking to spend in the range of $1000 to $1500 for a used but in excellent condition Preamp and I have narrowed it down to these two preamps, either a Balanced Audio Technology VK20 or VK-3i or an Audio Research LS2BMKII or MKIII(hybrid),SP-9,LS15 or any other in the AR price range. Is the Sp line better than the LS line?

My two channel stereo amplifier is going to be a Parasound Halo A21.

I will greatly appreciate your opinions in choosing which one of these two great companie's preamps will be a better choice.


I've owned eqipment from all makers you mention.
Sonically, I find them all worthy.
Only advice is to learn about impedance matching and go with the best fit. The rest is up to your ears...
If you read through a lot of the posts, etc., I think you'll find listeners generally describing ARC tube gear as more "neutral" (i.e., less warm and "tubey") and the BAT gear to be somewhat darker. For me, a warm sound with lots of lower mids and bottom is the way to go. I tried an LS15 and found it entirely unsatisfactory. It lasted in my system for about 2 days, then I had it modified by Great Northern Sound. That was a signficant improvement, but then I got a BAT VK31 (not the SE), and found it to be more pleasant. But that's in accord with my own biases.

(When I hear someone describe some piece of gear as "neutral," now days the words "intolerably bright" jump into my head...though it's not always that way.)
Why not a tube unit from Cayin. Sweet sound, great value and if you are not pleased, great resale value. Forget the Parasound for now