what is a good tube pre amp out there...........

i have and love the conrad johnson tube sound. i have a pv10 and pv12, both sound fantastic. but how do i know if its the best if i have never tried any thing else. my associate equipment is: alon 4 speakers on the 12 and axiom m80's on the other, cj 2300a and 2500a power amps, rotel 975 and nad 545eee cd players, interconnect are tara labs vector 1 on both. audioquest speaker wire on the 10 and some home mades from axiom speaker co on the other. i heard about vtl, bat and others, please give me the pro's and con's of each you feel is best. also some fyi on proper amp/pre matching that im just learning about. thank s in advance.
You will never know if they are the best if you don't try anything else. However, if they sound fantastic, relax and enjoy the music.
Why not consider upgrading in the CJ line?
I went from a PV-10 to a premier 17 then on to the premier 16 and in each case the improvement was dramatic in all areas. So I would suggest you stay within the cj line if that is the sonic character you enjoy.

Cary makes outstanding tubed preamps as well so you might try one of theirs. Although they have what I would call a similar sonic signiture to cj. If you are looking for something more on the anayltic side then ARC or BAT may be worth a try. It really depends on what you are trying to achieve or improve over what you have.

I would check out the Purity line from Bill Baker
Chuck, I find it interesting that you find BAT analytical. I've owned many pieces of BAT gear, but I find that they are a bit too dark for my system. Certainly not as dark as CJ or Cary, but the high's are rolled off compared to ARC or VAC. I have seen many people who, like yourself have claimed BAT to be bright or analytical, I've also seen many like myself claim that BAT is too dark. Maybe BAT is the only truely neutral line out there, who knows?

So it's all system dependant, I tend to buy warm and musical speakers, when I combine them with warm and musical electronics I find that too much of a good thing is bad. So CJ, Cary and BAT don't work for me. ARC does, but I prefer VAC.
If the OP loves the CJ sound as he states, he should leave well enough alone and just enjoy the music. Or, if he feels he MUST spend some more money, he should move up within the CJ line. Don't underestimate the joy of leaving well enough alone. :)

steve isnt this the whole idea of the thread.........
A question without an answer. To many variables you need to figure out how to audition different pre amps in your system or just enjoy what you have. I use the Aesthetix Calypso (used about $2,400) and really like it but that means nothing to you unless you hear it in your system and can judge. THE BEST ADVISE IS IF YOU LIKE THE CJ YOU HAVE MOVE UP THE CJ LINE.
thank you all for your post, was just curious. heard a lot about different brands like rogue, didnt quite like arc and what is vac. heard plus/minus of vtl, just thought i should sample some other brands.
The sound is simply beautiful. I get lost in the music. And the damn thing is so quiet one MUST check the volume before putting on music. Heat? yes, but worth it. I see them turn up for sale on Audiogon for less that 50% of list price. I have had mine two years and it is a piece of equipment that will be hard to beat (not that I won't try).
Kennesawjet understandable and fun to do and if you buy used and don't like it you can always flip it. I am using a Cary SLI-80F1 integrated and love it but cj is great as well. Based on your comment about ARC it sounds like you like cj and would probably also like Cary.

John agree and I was only generalizing which can be dangerous and probably shouldn't do it. I have heard ARC on several ocasions and like their equipment. BAT I have heard only a couple of times and for short periods but liked it also. Also agree system synergy is everything my Cary mates very well with my Focal Be's.
Focal Be's, that's my point Chuck. I have two friends with JM Labs speakers, and they tend to use warmer sounding cartridges, cables and equipment than I do. My Verity Audio Parsifal Encore's are not nearly as aggressive as JM Labs speakers, in fact some find the Parsifal's too polite. So I tend to find cables, cartridges and electronics that offer more speed and resolution. In fact, for the first time I've found silver cabling doesn't sound harsh.

I think many of us arrive at the same destination while following different paths to get there.

Kennesawjet, what is VAC? Welcome to high end audio.
I use all silver cabling (HGA) as well and find it to be very transparent and organic sounding; not harsh in any way. I also use NOS tubes in the Cary and the sound is very open and detailed and smooth.