Tube pre-amps with Home Theater bypass...

Has anyone done recent research on the offerings of tube pre-amps with HT bypass?

My budget is up to around 6k, but flexible. I've just recently added the Cary 303/300 and I'm leaning towards their products...but tube pre-amps are unfamiliar territory for me and we have NO local choices. I'm in Alaska, so even a 4 day drive for audition is out of the question:)

I do get to Seattle a couple of times a year, so I could do some auditioning...

Just curious if there are obvious choices that I am overlooking...and better deals (I'm not opposed to spend much less).

System is Denon 5803, Cary 303/300, Rega P25, Denon 3910, Krell FPB amps, B&W Nautilus 802 front

Phono stage would be a bonus in the new preamp...I'm using Acoustic Sig Tango(solid state) now.


VTL 5.5 is one.
Modwright SWL 9.0 SE ($2200). A matching phono stage should be out soon. Compares favorably to much more expensive linestages. There are a couple of dealers in Washington State and Modwright is based there as well.
Modwright's SWL 9.0SE...though no phono stage...yet. One third of your price range.
Aesthetix and Sonic Frontiers.
Audio Research LS 16 MKII and probably the top model does too.
BAT, probably the 50 at those $.
How about a Blue Circle preamp? You can get one made with a HT bypass. Although I think that the phono stage is still separate.
Supratek Cortese.
I am running the cary 303/300, Aesthetix Clyspo pre amp, and Quicksilver v4 amps. Really a grate combo. I tried the AR but it was flat and the soundstage wasn't as big. I really like the Aesthetix except for it is deep hangs out the back of my cabnet.
Hey! I'm in Alaska too Southeast MY First Sound has a video setting and may be the ticket for you. They are made in Puget Sound so you may be able to visit the factory. Send me am e-mail with phone # if you would like to chat and maybe meet up. Geo.
Thanks guys...I appreciate the suggestions.

How do I get in touch with Modwright?

Elwood...I am in Anchorage...I'll drop you an email. Are you in Juneau?

Anybody with experience with the Cary pre-amps? Specifically, the SP-98 F1?

Rogue Magnum 99 w/HT can get it with a decent phono stage as well.
$6k will easily get you into an Audio Research Ref2 Mk2. You'd get the killer preamp you're looking for with the pass through with about $1k to spare.
I am waiting for a lector zoe. Some have ht pass. The dealer I am getting mine from stated that the pass is not needed. Just set the volume to zero gain on the preamp. Supposed to be a fantastic tubed preamp.
Blue Circle top of the line pre-amp w/ht bypass is fantastic.

At any price point it is best to go and listen but at what you are looking at spending I would take some of that money and take a trip.

I can think of three tube pre's that have not been suggusted yet. Rogue Audio, the system I listened to it in was a little on the bright side. But that could have been any number of things.

Second would be MacIntosh although this system was a little warmer than the rogue It was still a shade on the bright side.

Last would be the Musical Fidelity KW750 Pre. It uses minature military grade tubes so you cant tube roll. I have yet to hear this piece because I havent had time to go listen since my favorite dealer got theirs in.

I use a A308 Integrated with my N803 and am very satisfied.

I owned a Cary SLP-98 P pre-amp for about two years. Mine was not the Upscale Audio F1, direct coupled version, but I will answer any questions I can. I do not believe there as a HT/Cinema bypass on this pre-amp.
All Conrad-Johnson tube preamplifiers have HT bypass (unity gain). I have the CJ 17LS and use Anthem AVM20 preprocessor for my HT. The left/right channels out from the AVM20 go to the input of the CJ. My power amplifier then drives the loudspeakers for both applications.

To me the goal is to get seamless integration where you can control both the HT system and 2-channel system from the same universal remote, in my case the HomeTheater Master MX-500. You should be able to control volume for both systems from your chair and also toggle between inputs.

This considerably narrows down the field, i.e. eliminates preamplifiers with only manual HT bypass switch or volume control.

If you are a purist who doesn't believe in remote volume control for your preamplifier, I question why you would want to integrate the two systems anyways.

Hope this helps.