Aric Audio makes some great tube preamps.
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Good luck, it's a critical component with lots of options. Think about future flexibility.
I went Vintage, never been happier, both Phono and FM are the best I've ever had (I'm 72)
My timing was good, they are going up in price.
Even if you don't go Vintage, look at the features that many current equipment have dropped. I wouldn't live without a balance control, and, if you listen to low volume, a properly engaged 'loudness' control keeps the music involving rather than just low level background music.
@snesvold I,m curious also about the recomendations you get, as I also have a 4bsst2 which i use with the Bryston Bp25, before i used a ARC Ls7 which is an entry level pre amp with only rca,s and was kind of lean, i much prefer the bryston preamp. You should probably decide if you need only rca,s in,s and out,s or if you need Xlr,s balanced . Lots of choices out there.
I never owned anything using 6sn7. I had to replace 6sn7 in my Cayin amp, It was surprising how much difference in sound the replacements were. My first choice: bad. The Cayin went from wonderful to lifeless. Brent Jesse let me exchange them for ones I much prefer.
Just saying, it’s a tube to research, find reliable descriptions of differences, buy from a source that will allow return, if a new amp, ask OEM about options if any. ...
I imagine they would be very good in a preamp, especially with your preferred 6sn7
Would I be crazy to decide to go with a Bryston Preamp, rather than a tube preamp (I know, I suggested I only wanted to go with a tube preamp in the title. Sorry to be waffling)? It looks like a couple of people here, and some other places suggest that you will get better synergy that way. What are peoples thoughts, pros and cons?
Have owned several iterations of Bryston amps over the years and I can tell you in no uncertain terms that pairing with a tube pre amp is essential.A tube pre will add that touch of romance and naturalness and still retain the articulate bass slam that Bryston provides.Audio Research and Cary come to mind.
A Don Sachs linestage meets your budget:
His preamps are based on 6SN7 tubes. They are hand built by Don so he can customize them to match your amp’s impedance.
Don’s a great guy and easy to talk to.
- a happy Don Sachs linestage owner
Check out ModWright. Used to own an earlier version of the SWL 9.0 and felt it bettered ARC’s at least up to the LS25 MK II. It’s a great preamp that has killer PRaT. Not a fat tube sound, but very musical and very open. I felt the ARC’s felt cold and lean compared to the little ModWright. Here’s the current model.
I use DeHavilland Ultraverve preamp with my 4BSST and an old 4B running two zones. Minimalist design so no balanced. I sent it back and Kara rigged up a custom mono switch. Very happy with the sound.
I have also used Bryston BP 20 and Van Alstine T8 both of where very satisfactory. The Bryston BP has mono and phase invert both of which came in handy. From my experience you cant go wrong with any of those choices and all are in your range.
One day I want to try Audio Research and Mc preamps too.