What's the best Preamp??

Research is sometimes a bad thing. And so is choice.
Interested in thoughts on the following preamps
B&K Ref 30
Integra Research
Lexicon MC 1 (don't think I can afford the MC12)
Anthem Preamp recently reviewed in SGHT.

and the winner is.......
I never fail to look at posts that read "best preamp" and am hopeful that there is not a restriction attached. There have been a number of them in the last month.

I would love to be able to put in my .02 cents worth for what is the BEST preamp, but then again, I am always looking for absolutes.
Of the ones you've listed, I take the Anthem AVM-20. However, If you can find an Aragon Soundstage on closeout, it'll be better and less expensive. It list for $4K, I've seen them closing out as low as $1500. If you need 7.1, the Aragon is not for you. If 5.1 will do, you can't beat it for the prices they've been selling for. Sonically better than all 4 models you've mentioned.

My Wadia is direct to the FPB 300 after hearing no preamp I am convinced this is the best and simplest way. The money saved can go toward very good balanced connectors. and still have a bunch left over for music,after all isn't that what it is all about?
Jcbower, those who are familiar with the preamps you list could perhaps be more helpful if you would share a little about what is important to you in your listening priorities.

Albert, I just chuckled when I read your comment. I clicked on this thread with the same interest. Cheers!
Bryston's SP-1 is an excellent pre/pro, and this month Bryston is due to introduce the 7.1 channel version of this unit -- to be called the SP-1.7, I think. Given the other pre/pros on your list, you should take a look at the Bryston.
I listened to the MC12 with the latest Lexicon power amps in what was a very expensive and custom designed system by a local hi-end / HT shop. The speaker placement was SOOO poor that i instantly new that i had to disregard any opinions from that point on. Needless to say, i was not impressed. Not so much with the equipment, but with the installation and knowledge / skills of that shops "expert".

I would check into the AVM-20 and see what you think. A local shop here has gotten a few in and lent them out for in home demo's. Every customer that has used one has kept it. They are literally selling faster than they can get them in as those that have purchased them have shown their friends, etc... After all, hands on experience and word of mouth from the end user are more effective at moving products than any paid advertising. The salesman at the shop has told me that they themselves have never been able to even use one there, as they go out the door before they can get one set up !!!

You also might want to think about a used Theta. It appears to be phenomenally versatile in features ( but limited in inputs ) IF you can get through all of the programing and 3000 page manual : ) Sean
In response to the above threads--I plan to use the preamp in an 7.1 HT system with Vienna Speakers (probably Mahlers 0r maybe Strausses when they're released). I don't listen to alot of music these days; therefore, it will mostly be used for movie "magic" (hopefully!).
What amp will be used is another topic of debate--I smell another thread being written.....

Conrad Johnson Premier 3 hands down with good ol stock Telefunkens or Mullards.
I have heard the AVM20 and was very, very impressed. The Anthem product competes well with many, more expensive products. In an HT set-up, the AVM20 is nothing short of superb and does not give back much in two channel. Putting the value equation aside, I think it is an excellent choice. Factoring in the cost and functionality, I think it is without peer. In the interest of full disclosure, after demoing the AVM, I opted for the Krell HTS 2 because I thought the 2 channel was much better. Of course, the cost was much more also.
Integra Research RDC-7
Apogee Anti Jitter Clock
Colaboration among top Japanese engineers, Apogee of California and Balanced Audio Technologies
Reference Pre of 2 major Audio Publications
THX EX Pro Logic II
Top 24/192hz Dacs all channels.
Awsome Dolby digtal and DTS.
Two channel stereo that will blow your socks off.
Otherwise it just sucks. just kidding. Own it, love it.