Thanks for the info. According to SMC, my ALD-1 is actually quite similar in sonics, and not far off in performance, to the VRE. Maybe I will look at demoing the pass. I will be in Reno soon, but not with my speakers (Linbrook Sigs). These are moderately easy to drive, but like a bit of current. Thoughts? They nicely paired with a CODA CSI integrated a few years ago.
Thanks for the info on the CJ. I know Macs are very popular and easy to resell, but CJ stuff I have always liked the sound of. I had a couple of amps and a couple of preamps from them over the years.
Ptm: thanks for the recommendation! I actually noticed the biggest improvement in dynamics when I put the preamp in my system; it bested away everything I had tried up that point, which all retailed in the 4-7k range. 3 of those preamps were tubed, and all were lacking in clarity compared to the ALD-1. I was probably most impressed with the LS-26, but even it couldn't quite match the ALD-1. The amp I have really enjoyed, but perhaps my speakers could use more juice, as I found more dynamics when I borrowed some bigger hitting amps with more current ability.
Maybe I should be looking at a bigger amp, or upgrading the DNA to Platinum level.