I have researched previous threads but would like some fresh ideas.Why don't you specify what you've already considered and dismissed so the answers aren't a rehashed laundry list.
Bwp (System | Answers)
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That would be smart:) I would not say have ruled anything out yet, here is a rundown of what I have looked into: CJ, BAT, Rouge, Audio Research, Primaluna, Jolida, Cayin, AES, Cary, Anthem, Dared. I am sure I am forgetting a few but those seem to come up quite a bit in the 1k-1.5k range new or used. Is there something else in that range that I should keep an eye out for?
Juicy Music Peach I or II. I recommend version I that uses 6922 tubes rather than the 6H30 because the 6922 version gives you options for tube rolling.
The Peach is no longer made, so you'll have to wait for a used one to show up. They sell for $600-$800 depending on condition and seller motivation.
There are a few Rogue Mag 99 preamps for sale. I prefer the sound of the 6SN7 tube versus 6DJ8/6922 tube sound. I recently installed a few of the 6SN7 NOS tubes that I owned in a friends Rogue 99 and the preamp became very musical over the stock 6SN7 tubes he was using. The CBS 6SN7 GTB tubes are cheap and work very well in the Rogue. I have never owned a Rogue product.
The AE-3 from AES is super IMHO. The in DJH edition runs in your price range or even less new (I have seen them at Upscale Audio). It uses 6SN7s primarily which allow for a great deal of experimentation with many around to roll. Got mine used here for very little in plain original guise, then had it upgraded.
I own the Consonance Cyber 222 preamp and I've been very pleased with it. 4 6SN7s in an SRPP layout, tube rectified, Auricaps, external power supply, very nice build quality. Tube rolling makes a big difference with the Cyber so you can alter the sound to your taste; I've just started experimenting there. The only caution is the relatively high gain (20 dB) and the remote, which works but is a little quirky. It appears the gain of all the W4S monos is 27 dB, so you'd want to watch your overall gain if you have efficient speakers. Feel free to email me if you have more questions.
The Modwright was on my short list too, and was the only non-6SN7 preamp I considered. My other favorite was the Cary SLP-98. I need at least 4 inputs so that ruled out the AES and a couple others. In the end, I got such a great deal on the Cyber 222 that I couldn't pass it up.
An Audiogoner who had owned both the Cyber and the Cary said they were very similar, with the Cary being just slightly darker. Their circuits are very close, but the Cyber is significantly less expensive.