tube preamp with satisfying low end?


Just spend the afternoon auditioning a couple of pre-amps. The VTL TL2.5 and the Adcom GFP-750 on Magnepan 1.6 speakers and a Bryston SB-3T Amp. Overall impression was that I love the VTL warmth and bloom on the mid range and high end. However, felt that it was definately lacking in the lower midrange and bass. Adcom had much better overall dynamic range and clarity, however it had that digital edge to it that can be a bit fatiquing. Am looking for a preamp that has the "glow" of the VTL in the mid and upper ranges but has better low end. Any suggestions? My budget is no more than $2000 - new or used.
Sibelius, I think this is an easy one - the BAT VK-5i. Plenty on the 'gon used for around $2k. Luscious midrange and delicate highs with great, I mean great bass. I personally decided to kick it another notch and went for the BAT VK-30 since my budget allowed for it, and I love it.
I would also give serious consideration to the Joule-Electra LA-100 MkIII (w/remote); the bass response of this unit is exceptional, and the midrange is even better. A preamp for lovers of music.
I experienced similar dissatisfaction with the VTL 2.5 & even the 5.5. However the Adcom (I've never heard one) is Stereophile class A isn't it? Was it warmed up thoroughly Sib? I mean powered on for at least a full day? If not that could explain the grain.
Regarding the BAT: I'm very curious to try one, but I do have one question? Does anyone know the "step-size" of the volume control's step-attenuator? If it is in 2dB steps then that's much too coarse. If only 1dB or even 0.5dB steps, then that would be worth my trying.
Bob, I know that the Adcom is a Sterophile Class A, but my ears were not swayed. I think it a great solid state Pre-amp. However, I think that I have been bitten by the "tube bug" and will have problems accepting anything other than a tube pre-amp. I'm trying to get greedy by having the best qualities of tubes (the warmth and for lack of a better word "musicality")with the dynamic range and solid bass of good solid state. This may be something that just does not exist in my price range. However, can't hurt to ask.
melos ma-333/music director - $1500-$2k, depending on exact model/features. outstanding bass response, wery detailed & accurate, but definitely that warm toob glow & bloom. also nice is the cary slp98 - i wooda been wery content w/it if i hadn't heard the melos... ;~)
Maybe you want to try the Anthem PRE 2LSE. I am going to audition it myself. It may have what you are looking for.
Hello Sibelius and Bob, I can highly recommend the BAT 5i. I truly believe it will give you what you are looking for. Then down the road when you have the extra cash you can have BAT upgrade it to the "SE" status. The people at BAT are wonderful also. All the best, Tom
I bought the melos after hearing Doug's glowing reviews of this product. It has all those qualities your looking for. I paired it with a good solid state amp and it sounds wonderful. Doug, i received my Newform's last night, and yes they live up to all the hype ! The sound is amazing. Brought my system to a whole new level. But those damn things are big! Must have a lot of room to set up. Also check the classifieds, i just saw a pair last week. It will save you the 2 mo, wait.
I too am tube-bitten and have a CAT pre and Cary monoblocks. Total happiness, however... I listen to all types of music, including bizarre digitally generated electronic stuff with extreme low frequency information. How to get those low rumbles? The answer is a good subwoofer. Let the tubes do what they do best, use solid state for the ultra low stuff.
hi streetman,

glad the melos preamp worked out for ya - now, ya yust need to buy my electrocompaniet aw100 amp, & yule be in fat-city... ;~)

tanks for the report on the newforms - i'm now re-doubling my efforts to count pennies to save for these...

regards, doug

another possibility is the audible illusions preamps. i am running an L-1 linestage with a DNA1 and am getting very full and tight bass. check them out
The Atma-Sphere MP-3 in linestage form can be purchased for around $2,000 used. Outstanding performance all around.
Hi Sibelius, please give Transcendent Sound's Grounded
Grid a try. $499 in kit form or $799 assembled. I am really
happy about it with my McIntosh MC-275 plus Quad 989!
I second Musicslug for his CAT nomination and Hmm for his Audible Illusions choice. Both of these go low, low, low and both are excellent preamps overall.
Sibelius, I also own 1.6's and am using a Music Reference RM5III preamp which pleases me mightily with a very taut and well extended bass. I couldn't be happier with this pre and it only uses one 6922 in the line stage and two 6922's in the phono stage. It sells for 2k new and can be had used for less than a grand. It's design has been relatively unchanged for a decade and is noted for reliability.