What is the best tube preamp currently available?

Folks - It seems my Golden Tube Audio SEP-3 is finally dead and no support or schematics is available in the entire industry. I am forced to consider a new preamp. I am spoiled with its wonderful tube quality and thought you folks would be the perfect forum to start this research for the perfect replacement. I am primarily stereo based, but would consider an A/V tube preamp, if within my budget. I look forward to your recommendations.
Thanks in advance! - Bill
What's your budget. Some cost $30,000 but...if you want the best....you have to pay to play. Actually, there is no such thing as a "best preamp".

Check out -

Audible Illusions
Audio Research

and many others. Good luck in your search.
Without knowing what components you have in your system or what your preferences are, a friend of mine owns the top of the line Conrad Johnson and considers it one of the finest. But that is in his system and I'm not sure if it would be in yours. Just something to look at.
Price range?Thanks,Bob
I am going to try a shootout between the Wavac, the VTL 7.5 Mk2 and the Atma-Sphere MP-1 Mk. III. I've heard CAT, AR, CJ and Aesthetix. Until now the Wavac is king of the hill but alas also the most expensive. I drive Sound-Labs with Atma-Sphere OTL amps.
Good luck in making the right choice.
A golden tube audio is at the low end of hifi, a good entry piece (like a Conrad Johnson PV10) but not an expensive one. He's probably in the $1k-3K range, which for me ended up being the Aesthetix Calypso. A good choice if you want to integrated home theater, and about $3k used. Other cheaper used choices might be Juicy, VTL, and BAT.
Audio Research Reference 3
There is "no best".
System synergy. Personal preferences/taste. Features/cosmetics/reliability/costumer support.
It all matters.
I could have told you what I think is the "best preamp" in my opinion but it doesn't mean "Jack"...now does it ????
Check out the Audible Illusions Modulus 3A. The Modulus 3 has been the cornerstone of my system for the past 15 years. I have NEVER felt the need to upgrade. It has an extremely quiet phono preamp and uses only 4 6922 tubers or varient.

The preamp has 5 line level inputs, a tape loop, phono input and 2 sets of outputs for biamping. With the outboard power supply, it's a steal. You can find a used one on this site for as little as 1100.00 In all my years of ownership, it has been very reliable.

Berning TF12. Includes phono stage and remote. Good luck finding one though.
If I'm not being too rude in creating a parallel thread, what do you think would be the best tube-based line stage at about $1500 or less.

What are the opinions around here about Shanling? I'm wondering if their 2-in/1-out HP300 headphone preamp at $399 would make for a good minimalist line stage like the Melos SHA-1 of 12 years ago. Downside: no remote. Upside: 2 headphone jacks.
Sorry, I can't accept that your P/A can't be repaired. On this what have you to loose. My recommendation is to contact Eric Falkenhan (410) 467-3620 , one of the finest persons I know in audio restoration services. If Eric can't fix it nobody on the planet can. Give him a call & tell him Charlie Rehm referred you. All the best.
VAS 1, especially if you are into vinyl.
You can always contact Bob Backert from RHB Sound Dezign for repairs or mods. Awesome results........pricey though.

Good luck
Look at the McIntosh c2300. i love mine...
To repair your Golden Tube Audio preamp you may want to try contacting Loc Vu-Quoc. He is apparently a specialist with those components and does modifications as well. I don't have contact information, but you might contact the person running this current Audiogon ad to find out how to get in touch with him.

As far as your question, I'd completely agree with Mrjstark: That call has entirely to do with a combination of personal preferences and system synergy. There is no such thing as a universal "best" tube preamp. There are many good ones out there. I can't tell you what would work for you, but I'd check out getting your current one repaired if you like it.
Billfields: You have received several recommendations on established audio repair services. The ball is in your court.

As for what is best... It doesn't exist only that equipment that works best with the equipment you own. It is a misnomer to believe replacment of one component vs another ,blindly, will benefit you in a positive direction. Perhaps a discussion of what you already own is as good a starting place as any. All the best.
TRON Syren with all the bells and whistles.



The TRON amps are made by Graham Tricker, who is one of the world's best tube designers. He runs a boutique business in the UK and distributes in the US through Highwater Sound in NYC. They sound great and are all built by Graham himself to order. They can be customised to suit individual cartridges etc and you can request optional upgrades eg all silver wiring etc.

I've got a TRON Meteor (predecessor of the Syren - mine has Syren boards in it) and I won't be upgrading from this.

I think the Golden Tube is far more than entry level gear. It is an older technology, yet so is a Marantz model 7. What I like about the preamplifier is the warm musical sound. I would not say it is equal to my ARC, there are some who think Conrad Johnson is better; it is a matter of opinion, not price. I never liked the SF 2. MK II, or 3, although good quality, as they sound dry to me, yet the Anthem P2 is a nice amplifier. For me, the Golden Tube has a nice easy sound and works well with my low powered AMC tube amp. Not much power, but in my bedroom, the sound is wonderful with romantic music. I do think it can be repaired and you have some good choices, if you go for another, and to like the Golden Tube, try the CJ out for sound. I also do not think the ARC VT 100 models are a good match, yet if you liked it, then you might consider picking up an LS15, they are very good and serviceable.
This is an old thread. Since it was refreshed... my vote goes to the Doshi Alaap. I notice that Nick (Doshi) will be at RMAF. Sadly, I can not attend to meet him and thank him for my/his excellent Preamp.
The best pre-amp under $2,000 is the Doge 8 and the Doge 8 Clarity available from Pacific Valve. They even have a very good phono stage.

The Coincident Technology Line Stage at $5,000 is outstanding. The only shortfall is that it only has 2 inputs, causing one to re-think their front end, or switch cables. But if you buy it with their outstanding phono stage at $5,500, it also has an extra input.

Possibly the best is the Audion Quattro at $15,000 and it comes with an excellent phono stage.

The Einstein The Tube Mark II at around $18,000 is also an outstanding piece.

Audio Research Reference Anniversary preamp is the one I liked . " Is it the best ? " is there someone thats heard them all that can say .