Tube Preamp for McCormack DNA-0.5

Looking for used tubed preamp recos for use with my amp. I currently use a passive line stage and would like to try a tubed unit for fun.

I have heard some brands (Cary) seem to be regarded as very tube-like (Not sure if that is good or bad). I don't want flabby bass - just some added warmth for the McCormack to pass thru to my Magnepans.

Would especially be interested in preamps that use the 6922/6DJ8 tubes as I have some very nice NOS Telefunkens I could drop in there.


Go with an Audible Illusion pre amp, uses 6922 tubes, may be one for sale here.
I was in your same exact situation years ago. I had McCormack amp driving Maggie 1.6 with a passive preamp. In fact still have that setup up among my several systems.

Needless, I compared the Audible Illusions preamp in the system to my hot rodded passive (TKD $500 attenuator from Michael Percy Audio) and the Audible Illusions didn't hold a candle to it. What did trump it was a preamp of 12au7 variant. 12au7 tube really added the missing emotion in that system with the McCormack amp.

I still have that 12au7 preamp and later I Hot Rodded it also with a $300 TKD attenuator from Michael Percy. Emotion and extra transparency in spades. Bested the passive, and more emotion with 12au7 tube. I still have it (the preamp) and it is a Consonance. Don't laugh. Great Value product from China. Musically it beat the Audible Illusions easily. I might sell it, if you are interested?

I still have a First Sound Paramount MK 2 preamp also that uses 6922 with NOS tubes. It is very dynamic and transparent, but lacks the emotion of the 12au7.

I have a VTL preamp, and it uses 12au7 and 12at7 tubes. Yes, it is my current BEST sounding preamp all around. But it also costs twice the Consonance.

Just my 2 cents, hope something is useful here for you.
When I'm running my McCormack DNA-1, it's been paired with an Audio Research tubed preamp with very good results; either an SP-10, SP-11 or an SP-9. The SP-9 only has two 6922 tubes and I've subbed in Siemens CCa's, amongst other NOS tubes, for the stock Soviet 6922 which greatly improved performance.
If you've got a passive now then it's generally going to be hard to find ANY preamp, tubed or SS, that can match the transparency you are now hearing. Having said that, passives may lack the extra balls an active linestage will give you, and probably lack that extra bloom that tubes bring to the table.

Try to find the most transparent tube pre you can afford. Mine is a little long in the tooth now, but if you can find an Audioprism Mantissa (or it twin sold under the Red Rose name) you might be very happy.