Tube Pre-amp for Levinson 432

I have a Wadia 830, Levinson 432, and Wilson Sophia 2's. I would really like to add the a tube pre to the Levinson-Wadia combo. I have demoed the Audio Research Ref3 and the sound was magical but the price was a bit much. Suggestions for what would provide system synergy would be appreciated.
Step back a bit to an ARC Ref2 MKII. That will give you most if not all the good you heard with the REF3.

Also, BAT tube preamps work well with Levinson, there is a synergy there, although why not try a 380S or better Levinson preamp?


Paul :-)
Thanks Paul, I tried a Levinson 390s into a Linn Klimax Twin and the sound was not as open as when I used the Audio research Ref3 into the Linn Twin. I have since purchased the 432. I have been curious as to system synergy between the 432 and the 390s without a pre-amp.
Why not something made br pro people like Manley or Ear?
I have a 390S in a second system consisting of Levinson 33H's, Revel Gems and a Quicksilver Remote Linestage preamp that uses a pair of 6922's. The quicksilver was bought as a demo and I''ve been pleasantly surprised by how well it stands up to the rest of the system.

I have also had Wadia 860X and the combo 270/27ix. I could not run these without a preamp as the digital attenuation degrades the sound to the point where for me it was easily heard.

I have run the 390S direct, it volume control is analog and pleases my ear, however I need inputs for a tuner and tape, so thus must run preamp.


Paul :-)
I had the ML 432 and used it with the 380s for three years, then picked up the BAT 51se. It was night and day the BAT is just that much better, way, way more dynamic from the highs right down to the bass. IMHO the BAT brings out the best of the Levinson; the ML 380s just sounded compress when paired with the BAT. So did my ML 37/360s combo. You can’t go wrong with the BAT & ML 432 combo.
I am auditioning a Mcintosh C-2200 with my Levinson 432 and am somewhat pleased with the sound. I wonder what changes I could expect if I substituted a Bat31se. The Mcintosh has stock tubes and the speakers are Wilson Sophia 2's. Auditioning the Bat would be difficult-no local dealers.
You know, hyper-detail is not necessarily synergy.
I think that were you to try a 326s you would give up the tube idea. I just replaced a Ref 3 with the 326s and I can't think of one thing that the Ref 3 does better. The 326s is amazing and totally unexpected by me. Also you can see the value in the ML pre whereas the ARC seems grossly overpriced. Just my opinion but I've owned a lot of gear including lately the CJ ART and ACT 2. The 326s will be around a while in my system.