Used tube pre-amp around $1,000

I'm thinking of upgrading my pre amp. I currently have a CJ PV10al & my first instinct would be to go higher up the CJ line. I have a set of Tyler Reference Monitors with matching sub & need another line out of my pre amp. The rest of my system is a DNA-1, Phillips 963SA, Tascam DAT deck with DH Labs, MIT & Analysis Plus cables. I think the system sounds fantastic but want a "little" more detail & larger soundstage.

The problem with staying in the CJ line is the cost. I don't know if the 12 is worth the jump & the 14 is a little more than I care to spend at this time. Are there any choices out there that will provide a marked improvement & keep me around my $1,000 budget? A remote would be a plus but not that important to me. It must have two outs & be tubed.

Audible Illusions seems to top the list in this price range but I hear they are rather tough on tubes. I am also considering adding a turntable to my rig in the future. So what are some great used pre-amps in my budget?
I suggest get an AI and change the tubes every year. Seriously. The M3a, or an older M3 if budget is tight. AI is clearer and more detailed than CJ at the price point you are describing, although you will give up that hint of CJ sweetness. AI is not harsh though, it's a nicely balanced sound. IMO.
VTL 2.5. Used $750. Easy on tubes, great sound. Best bang for the buck.
Do some research on the Eastern Electric Mini Max preamp at $1200. It seems to have some very good buzz going.
You would do yourself an injustice if you did not investigate the JJ Electronics 243 preamp. Especially if you ever plan to add vinyl to your system. It is an excellent full featured preamp with MC capability and adjustable loading.

AI Mod3, no need for 3A and those hideous stepped attenuators. Get 6H23 tubes from Upscale Audio for about $100. The tubes will last forever and so will that sweet sound.
What's the deal with the "hideous stepped attenuators" ?? Everyone seems to be offended by this & why is there a resistor in the CD input? Alot of people like this pre-amp & don't seem to mind these two issues. Does it sound that good?
Don't overlook the EAR 834L. Great sound - easy to tube. No remote. Minimalist desig. Seen them sell between 650 and 750 on AA. Harry Pearson thought they sounded much like the ARC SP10. Actually they do but the line stage of the SP10 is not as detailed.
What about the Sonic Frontiers Line 1? It is superbly constructed, not overly euphonic, and is one of the most feature laden tube preamps ever built, with the best remote on the planet.
I've had an Eastern Electric MiniMax for two weeks and am absolutely amazed with how it's brought my system to a new level. Check out the website at For $1200 retail, it's a giant killer.
you could try sending the unit back to cj and get the 10b'll get a better power supply and a better gain spec.the upgrade unit operates at a lower noise level.i just sent my pv10a in for the mod.the cost is $350.00.i'll get back to let you know how it works out,if you want.
BAT VK3i can usually be had for just under $2k w/o remote and just over w/remote. I liked it a lot w/my DNA, although the 0.5 is better than the 2.0 if you don't need the watts.
The AI stepped attentuators have steps that are sonicly too big, so you may not be able to achieve the precise volume you are seeking. Still, the quality of sound is remarkable.
Hi Fishwater, I have a pv 10 and bought a used premier 14 about 2 years ago. A really big jump - music is so much more natural, every area improves - bottom end, top end, detail, imaging. It is also more neutral/natural - not as euphoric as the PV10. I got a reminder this week - I'm having a problem with the 14 and sent it in for repairs and put the PV 10 back in. It's a very nice preamp but it is not in the league of the 14. One caveat - there aren't alot of 6GK5 tubes available if you like to tube roll - CJ is now using all GE's. They were using GE's and Sylvania's which I think were the best combo, but I guess they can't get the sylvania's anymore. There are also Mullards and Hitachi's available from other retailers that are interesting but in my system the GE/SLY were the best overall performers. If you like CJ - move up into the premier line when you can is my opinion and you'll never look back.
AI sound is just specatular for the used price of a Mod3. I've never heard it equaled for as little as $500 used. It's holographic and also has that sweet tube sound. Phono beats multichannel digital sound, e.g. SACD. But there are some issues-it eats tubes, stepped attenuators in newer 3A just too inflexible, and stay away from CD input use AUX which has no resistors.