Tube preamp options

My system from the preamp on consists of a rouge rp-7, rogue m180 monoblocks, and vandersteen quatro wood speakers. My main source is a brinkmann Bardo through a Rogers PA-2 phono pre. It all sounds great. But there's that itch, you know? I get tremendous soundstage but not that much depth. Clarity is great, mids are nice, bass is excellent. But it doesn't quite have that in the room sound that I'm looking for. The RP7 sounded too solid state and analytical for me out of the box with the stock JJ tubes so I've done extensive rolling. Been through all sorts of NOS tubes and landed on amperex as they seem to have the best balance of warmth and clarity. My thought is, maybe I can find a pre that has those attributes out of the gate without all the rolling. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of being able to tailor the sound with trying different tubes but I feel like maybe there's a brand out there who's house sound I like better. I haven't listened to anything more yet but brands that are on the list to check out are Backert labs, maybe a used ARC Ref 6, VTL, VAC. There are a million little boutique brands tho and I'm asking what people have heard in the 10k price range, new or used, that might be a good fit for me and why. 



@rmdmoore Ahhhh, WAF enters the picture--i must admit to forgetting about that as my room is a dedicated music room.  But maybe you could bring her in on the experiment just to know whether it's the distance from the front wall that causing the lack of depth, rather than a preamp--but if you find that depth gets better as you move into the room at least you have the answer and won't chase a rabbit.  Then you can start persuading her you need an addition to the house😀 


She's funny. She loves having the giant system with the turntable in that room but I think partly cause it looks cool. But it's gotta look cool with all the other stuff in that room. Worry not though, she is supportive of an outbuilding with a dedicated listening room. She still wants a system 8n the library though so I get to buy more stuff, lol

@rmdmoore I think i just heard a collective "Lucky Man" gasp out of the participants here.  Have fun!

Surprised no one has mentioned Balanced Audio Technology. I have a VK-51SE, it’s a killer preamp.


I want to thank everyone for l the input. This was quite a lively thread. As I previously mentioned I ended up moving the speakers as far as I could out into the room. This got the front baffle about 42 inches from the front wall. I toed them in a little just to sharpen focus. I did get some improvement in depth but marginal really and I can't move the speakers ang more. The couple of members that mentioned the Don Sachs stuff got me very intrigued. As I mentioned I found an older model 2 preamp of his online and bought it. Holy crap the thing is amazing. The greatest amount of clarity and detail but without sounding analytical. I've never heard anything like it. I think it has a lot to do with simplicity of design and with the 6SN7 tubes. It did give me additional depth of stage and honestly, just took me away to some other place. I'm going to stay on his list for a new one with dual volume controls and I'm not sure if I'm going to sell this one when I get the new one.