Think KERRY! I meant Cary.
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i would suggest the audible illusion L1 (IIIa if you need phono). awesome pre's that are very well balanced and musical.
also the arc ls-2bmkII is a good one. a little more dynamic and revealing and requires only 1 tube !!!! spend more an pu a arc ls-16mkiii ( requires 2 supertubes, hence easy to retube, but the unit cost more)
the bat3 or 5 vki is a great sounding unit but very $$$$$ to retube properly (requires 6- 6922/7308's).i would avoid this unit for this reason.
pse hl-1 ( my favorite and current piece). very rare / hard to come by hybrid unit. very well rounded, transparent, musical, and dynamic. often comperared to units 3x to 4x the price. requires only 2 6922/7308's and has balanced, remote, and ht bypass.
Is the audible illusions really a step-up, or just sonically different? I'm thinking the latter. Same thing possibly with Eldragon's Cary suggestion. He might also consider the MFA Magnus if he wants something different sounding. I don't know if any of these would be a step up. Some of the older tubed ARCs might be a step up, though. I see quicksilver linestage owners switching to ARCs most often. I don't know if that tells us anything or not? YMMV.
I might look for some folks using your amp to answer that question as I've found matching the pre to the amp is a very important, make or break kind of synergy. A poor match can make a system you want to walk away from rather than listen to. That said I do love my Cary SLP50a which is a stone simple line stage. I also have had wonderful results with George Wright's pre amp of recent. If you are not into the image/cosmetics-thing, his stuff offers tremendous bang-for-buck. Like Quicksilver/Mike Sanders he is one of the best kept secrets in the high end. If you just need a line stage I'd consider his WLA12. I've had an ARC LS2B which was modified by GNS which I also liked very much. It was a more analytical kind of sound, but I thought it a great pre with push/pull amps. I have no recent experience with SS to speak of, and none with the Parasound. You may consider purchasing on the used market and a fair price and reselling if synergy is not good. This way you can try out many posibillities.
the audible illusions is a step up. imo, quicksilver makes great amps, their pre amps are just okay. the same can be said of audible, great pre's but okay amps.
there are very, very few manufactures that produce great sounding amps / pre-amps and visa versa. most produce one or the other ( this is a General rule of thumb).
imo, most great sounding preamps start at $2500 minimum ( new retail)and go up. hence the used market is the way to go for a great sounding unit for a reasonable price.
Don't listen to Mike, you really need to only consider preamps that start at $5 grand and require you sign over your first-born and commit to a ritual sacrafice to the Tube Gods every first Sunday in April. Unless you can afford the price of admission don't even bother thinking about upgrading cause you'd just be wasting your hard-earned scratch. And remember, those live goats can get kind of pricey, and that comes right around tax time. Make sure you factor that into the equation before taking the plunge!