Tubed preamp suggestions?

Well I've finally decided to sell my Supratek Syrah. I loved it but the phono stage just wasn't for me. My AT 440ml MM was overloading it and I'm just not commited enough to vinyl for that good of a phono stage. The plan now is to get a nice tubed linestage and pair it with a high quality outboard phono stage that offers both mm and mc inputs. That would work with my current cartridge and allow for future upgrades. Some units I'm considering are the Joule Electra LA-100 MKIII and the Herron VTSP1A. They both sound appealing to me, the preamp will be paired with my Cary 300B Signature monos and Alon Lotus speakers. Either one of these linestages better, or better with my setup? Any others that I should be considering. This seems as if it's going to be a slow process since I can't seem to get any sellers respond to questions or potential offers! It's really strange, I've emailed 4 different people and have yet to get a single response. Ah well, it just gives me more time to ponder and solicit some opinions from you guys. Let 'em fly! And happy new year to everyone!!
You might want to investigate the Kora Eclipse, a tubed preamp with a built-in phono stage with 2 inputs, one for MM and one for MC.
I have the LA100 Mk III and feel that it is a great preamp. I know that it likes a high input impedance on an amp, 100,000 ohms or higher to perform at its best. So it should be great with your 150,000 ohm input of the Cary. Check out the soundstage review of the preamp for some comparisons to other highly regarded preamps. Their comparisons are pretty accurate.
I would also suggest looking at the BAT line of preamps. Swampwalker went from a 3i to the Supratek, you might ping him and get his perspective as well.
Hi Jond....................................

I hope all is well. You know what I'm going to recommend. The deHavilland UltraVerve or their new Mercury.

Resolution, tone, dynamics, it's all there. Plus excellent build quality. Things you are used to from the Supratek I'm sure. Kara and George at deHavilland are great. Customer service and support are outstanding

Well, good luck and keep us posted as to what you decide on.

If the cartridge was overloading it, you could try a lower output moving magnet.

What's the cost effectiveness of the move you are considering? Will selling the Supratek raise enough money to finance the other two items?

Thanks for all the responses. To answer Metralla I think I can finance the two items by selling my Supratek. I thinking a Joule or Herron linestage for under $2K and a Camelot Lancelot Pro phono stage for $4-500 and I'm all set. Perhaps not quite the phono performance of the Supratek but pretty good and pretty versatile components that I can use with mm or mc.
the bat gear is pretty nice...lots of options..phono, remote, upgrades etc...built like a tank and very nice sonics..
A second vote for the deHavilland UltraVerve. I've had mine for only a few days, and it keeps getting better as hours are logged on it. It's quite stunning, and has exceeded my expectations ten-fold. The eval won't be going back!
You must put VAC Phi 2.0 Master Control preamp on your list. This preamp hasn't been reviewed, but it is superb. The phono stage included is incredible also. You can read a lot of reviews on Kevin's integrated Phi stuff which is basically the Phi preamp and 110 Phi stereo amp. Many VAC enthusiast swear this is Kevin's best preamp ever by a long shot.
I have owned and upgraded with VAC equipment and must say it is the finest I have owned. VERY musical. Call Kevin at VAC and ask for his input, he is very approachable and knowledgeable and HONEST. He is a vinyl lover and his phono preamp stage is fantastic as an fyi.

BTW, the VAC active line stage was way better than some of the "talked about" passive line stages.

Good luck!
I am using Joule Electra La100 MK III with Cary slm100's with Alon Lotus se's, very nice! Carl voices the lotus with the cary 300's, can't go wrong with the Joule!
Hey Jond. I can identify with your experience as my 4.5 mv grado reference would overload the phono stage of my syrah. Frustrating to be sure... I had to run the grado through the phono of the arc sp-10 and into the line of the supratek to enjoy my vinyl.Fortunately... I have a koetsu rosewood as well. I ended up trading my high output grado for the .5mv Statement and just love it. Are you THAT attached to the sound of the at440ml? Furthermore....not all mm cartriges have too much gain for the riaa stage of the supratek. Sounds like a very expensive proposition and down grade move in my books.... side ways at best! The joule is a very compentent preamp but nowhere near the level of the supratek in my experience. Have not heard the herron. I understand it's phono stage is very good and versatile as well but I rather doubt it's line stage would compare to the supratek. The line stage of the joule la-100 mk 3 is rather ordinary in my books. In my experience with vacuum tubes... the miniature 9 pin tubes[ 12au family triodes] cannot compete with their octal based equivalents [6sn7 family] in many critical areas of reproducing sound. Both the Joule and the Herron fall into that camp. Some food for thought???
I have not seen the CAT mentioned here, one of it´s nice features is the phono stage.

Other route considering atention is a First Sound preamp with an outboard phono stage.

Thanks again everybody but I've come to a decision. Just closed a deal for a Herron VTSP1A line stage and I am also going to pick up a Camelot Tech Lancelot Pro battery powered mm/mc phono stage. This should give me great sound and decent flexibility. I'm very excited and should have all the new gear here by the end of next week. Happy new year everyone!
Jond, it will be very interesting to hear your report. I was particularly brief with my comments, but Ecclectique read my mind and said in detail what I was thinking. Anyway, the deal is done and we await your impressions.

Upscale Audio is selling these pre-amps at what seems to be a pretty good price. Anybody know anything about this model?
Also, I seem to remember something about connecting the cd player to the tape loop of the pre-amp for a better sound. Any suggestions?
Dannoh what preamps are you referring to? We need a brand name and model designation. As far as the tape inputs go, I concur, on all of my preamp I've run my cd player (primary source) in through the tape inputs bypassing the selector switch for a more direct signal path. The result seems to be a touch more transparency with no drawbacks.
The pre-amp from Upscale is the Antique Sound Labs AQ2002DT. I'm wanting to switch to tubes, but have a pretty tight budget. Any opinions on this model?
Hello Jond, I'm a type of beginner here and in the audio higher ends, but have some personal experience with simple and well made stuff. You may already be familiar with Tube Audio Design (TAD). They seem to have a very well made remote controlled unit you ought to consider; the TAD-150, check it out at You may find it interesting to review....Good Luck.
You're going to want that Syrah back. Should have just bought a Denon 103R for $250 - great cartridge. would have been a done deal.
I am auditioning a SAS audio preamp (the 10A0 right now. It opends a wonderful window to the music. Bound for Sound loved it