Tube Preamps with Bass?

I love what a tube preamp does for the mids and soundstage in my system but I hear the loss of bass slam, weight and dynamics. I was looking at the Blue Circle G-3, Lamm LL2, CJ LS-17, First Sound Presence Deluxe, Joule Elextra.

Any opinions on these preamps or any others in the $5K or so price range mated to the Pass X-250 power amp and producing the added bass slam, weight and dynamics?

Thanks and Happy Listening.
It's gonna be hard finding one to audition but you should try a Supratek. Your search will be over.
I use the First Sound with a Pass 150. There is a slight impedance mismatch between these two components, which may limit bass performance a little, though I can not be sure of that. But I do get excellent bass and I think the First Sound in general is a superb preamp for bass. Superb.
I 2nd Lugnut's response. I use my supratek with an Air-Tight ATM-2 tube amp - I get all the bass response I'll ever need. Alternatively, you could give HOVLAND a try.
Aronov Audio LS-9000 tube preamp together with top of the line Mapleshade power cord (and, presumably any other great power cord) has tremendous bass slam, along with natural, musical sound throughout the entire audible range. See review in for introduction to Aronov line.
If you already have your ideal amp, then EVS Ultimate Attenuators (from which attach directly into RCA input jacks of amp eliminate one interconnect, and allow all that your amp is capable of in bass slam, weight, and dynamics. Used in single source system, such as one where you listen only to CD's. Retail is $350, although I got mine for less as a used item on Audiogon.
Mcintosh C2200
Don't know what your budget is, but try BWS Consulting at
I have owned my CAT Ultimate pre-amp now for over a year, and feel that it has as much or more bass slam and impact than any of the SS preamps that i have owned in the past, along with the ability to create a very satisfying musical presentation as well...very robust build quality and also very reliable as well.
Bigkidz, I'd like to keep an open mind here, but aside from gain, I just don't see how any pre-amp worth it's weight is going to provide better bass or better anything else for that matter.

As far as I can tell, the best a good or better pre-amp can do is get out of the way (or simply interfere with the signal less than it's competition) much like cabling. (and I'm not speaking of passive pre's)

For the characteristics you seek, I can't help but believe that 90% or more will be found, not in the pre-amplifier, but in the amplifier. And then of course a pair of speakers than can reproduce what the amp is delivering to them.

Yes, I am aware of the synergy between each and every component within an entire system. But the amp produces far more sonic signature (good or bad) than any other component or combination thereof.

I'm not saying this is the way it should be. But based on my limited experience, it appears that this is the way things are.

-IMO (of course)
Hovland will likely not give you bass as someone suggested.

Used, find a SF Line 3, it will not only give bass but authority through out the music spectrum.

I currently use a Pass Labs Aleph P which gives a tremendous presentation.

p.s. i previously used a line 3!
Stehno, I think that may be part of the problem. Some preamps don't let the bass slam and dynamics come through...

Bigkidz, I think I understand what you are looking for as I am looking for the same. As mentioned the Supratek is very good.

Another that you should consider that directly addresses what you are looking for is the Joule LA-150, not LA-100. The LA 100 is a sweet, lush sounding preamp. I have heard it and it is extremely good. (I am familiar with the Joule equipment as I own one of Jud's OTL amps.) According to Jud Barber and Bobby Palkovic (Merlin) the LA150 improves upon the LA100 in every way, most notably slam and dynamics. I am buying the LAP-150 and I expect it to better the Syrah Supratek preamp I have heard... but I don't know for sure it will. If it does it will be some kinda pre... I don't think you can really go wrong with either.

Best regards.
Sonic Frontiers Line 1,2,or 3.My CJ PV-14 is also surprising.
Bigkidz, if you're just looking for the bass slam in preamp, you should consider ARC LS-5 MKIII.
It has excellent top to bottom frequency response like no others. However, the only setback is -- You need ALL balanced components to use it because that's all it have.
S23chang, no I am looking for a great tube peramp sound where the tube preamp has some bass. I have just received a well know tube preamp but compared to my Pass X-1 lacks the same bass weight, slam and bass dynamics. I guess I want it all.

Happy Listening.
I have the Lamm LL2 and it has excellent bass that goes much deeper than the Hovland preamp it replaced. The images are very lifelike with this preamp.
Isn't the bass slam really a product of the speakers and the amp? Maybe I'm naieve, but it seems like you may be trying to solve the problem with the wrong component. I'd be interested in what others have to say on this.
Bobo, When a change to a "better" power cord is made on a DAC or preamp there can be an improvement in apparent bass extension, and slam. You are correct that this performance has to be within the capability of the source component design, and presumes audition somewhere else has already demonstrated what the downstream amp and speakers are themselves capable of delivering.
When I began to use the top of the line power strip from Mapleshade for all my source components, there was improvement in bass extension, and slam! This was easily heard by non-audiophile family members, as well as by those who are supposed to hear the difference. Even a bigger improvement was noted when the same basic design in a power cord connected the amp directly into its own unmodified AC wall outlet. As Mae West was known to remark, you never know all of your capability, or something suggestive implying the same idea.
Someone just put up for sale an Aronov LS-9000 preamp, and I notice the ad mentioned the bass performance. No, not a relative of mine, although a set of reliable Audiogon ears.
have your slam too:Biamp,tubes on top.keep your Pass pre and use the x250 for the bass.I didn't try everything in my set-up, but that was the only way I found to have tubes AND slam.
Meant to start that out with: Have your tubes and get your slam too:
Bobo, If a loudspeaker is capable of the lowest audible bass, it's possible that a preamp with poor bass extension will not allow the speaker to show what it can do. I tried the Hovland HP-100 with my full range speakers. It sounded fantastic except the whole bottom octave was missing.
Bigkidz, you have an excellent short list. The deepest bass I have heard from a tube preamp was the Thor TA-1000. It was every bit as deep as a high quality solid state preamp. Unfortunately it is $10,000. Maybe $5000 used.
Of those you mentioned I think the most positive comments I've heard were for the Joule and the Blue Circle.
The Supratek mentioned above has a big following on Audiogon. If for some reason you don't like it, you could probably sell it in a heartbeat.
Thanks everyone I was comparing the tube preamps to the Pass X-1 and on the same songs the Pass has better bass as I describe above. I would like to find one of these preamps that can come as close and retian the tube mid magic. I have Talon Raven C speaker and they do go pretty low.

Happy Listening.

I second Holzhauer's Thor TA-1000 recommendation. I had a chance to audition the Thor and compare it to the Pass Labs X-1 and the ARC Reference. The Thor has tremendous bass extension, great speed, liquid midrange and great top end extension. It easily bested the Pass and the ARC Reference. I bought mine used here on Audiogon within your price range.

If you have a chance, I highly recommend auditioning one before making a decision. If you're ever in the San Francisco area, feel free to stop by for a listen.
First Sound's is Superb. Best I have heard so far.
I don't know about the PASS X-150, but the older Aleph series amps had a low input impedance and if this is the case with the X150, you may lack some bass with many tube preamps. Try a BAT tube preamp with the 6-pak capacitor package. (See Drubin's response about an impedance mismatch which most other responders seem to ignore.)
Oldears I once owned the BAT VK-30SE and it was outperformed by the ARC LS-25 MKII in dynamics. The Pass X-1 also outperformed the BAT. The BAT did not offer the mid range sonics I am looking for in a tube preamp.

Happy Listening.