Which SS preamps will compete w/ tubes?

I have been looking for a preamp in the $2500.00 and under range. After about two weeks of looking I am more confused than before I started!!! I have a Sim titan amp and now am considering a sim P-5 preamp for music. What other preamps out there would be a good musical choice? I initially wanted tube but I am starting to get dizzy from all of the options. I do not want to be searching for a long time experimenting with tubes and dealing with replacing them. Is it worth the time and effort????
Yes!! A tube preamp is a must with a SS amp if you want texture and musicality. For $2500 and under you have a wide array of choices, c-j Premiere 14 can be found for around 2K used, and BAT pre's seem to be popular as well and offer a lot of flexibility. And don't let tube rolling scare you, a well designed tube pre will sound great with it's stock tubes, and you have the option of rolling later if you want to experiment and have some fun, and isn't that what this hobby is all about? Happy listening!
I sold a Cary tube pre in favor of a Pass Aleph P & haven't looked back. Lower noise floor, better imaging & most importantly, more musical. No "tube like" sounds for me, just "musical" sounds.

I was sold on the idea of running a tube pre w/SS amp & had that configuration for almost 15 years. Now I have all SS.

This is what I prefer & like so if there are any diehard tube fans that wish to comment on my post please begin with Happy Fathers Day. Thank you & Happy Fathers Day!
I carry some wonderful solid state lines but I have to tell you that regardless of price I have yet to find a solid state preamp that is as good as a tube preamp with solid state amps.
Needless to say this is a very subjective opinion but a tube preamp is just more 3 dimensional sounding.
There are many really good tube preamps. If you can find a First Sound used, an Aronov, a Rogue, A Joule Electra, Bat and the lists goes on and on.
Good luck!
Well put Jond, I agree completely, it seems confusing now but it will be great sound when its in your home. I was skeptical about tubes at first and now I won't ever go back, I have never really experimented with tubes, just when they need replacement(you will know, trust me) search for a half an hour and order a matched set of something better then you had before and when you install them you'll wonder why you didn't do it a long time ago. Enjoy ~Tim
I was very apprehensive when I decided to get a tube preamp. The thought of having to open up the box, buying and experimenting with different tubes almost prevented me from taking the plunge.

Well, that was seven months ago, and I'm glad I made the jump. I bought the Blue Circle BC21 tube preamp along with the companion BC22 solid state amp and since then have been enjoying the smoothness and layered soundstaging of tubes, plus the authority and control of solid state.

For three months tube rolling was all I was doing to my system. The BC21 only takes two 6SN7 tubes so I bought various brands and vintages of NOS tubes to see what I liked best. My Kora Hermes DAC also uses two tubes, and in tandem with the Blue Circle, I've been able to tune the sound to suit my tastes.

Tennispro, I was sitting exactly where you are not too long ago, and now I can't imagine myself without a tube preamp. The musical experience is way beyond what I was able to achieve with solid state only. Conrad Johnson, BAT, Blue Circle, Rogue all make great tube pres that will match well with solid state amps. If you can audition one with your Titan, I think you'll see what we mean. Good luck.
i like the Audible Illusions Modulus 3A vey much. it is well- built , transparent but warm at the same time. tube pre-amps do not have the maintenance requirements as their power amps. the other option is to go for hybrid amps like Pathos twin towers( but i'm not sure if it will have enough juice to drive your speakers ).

good luck.
I was at one time convinced that SS amp and tubed pre-amp was the only way to go. After a few years of frustration in dealing with my counterpoint SA 5.1 I went to SS pre-amp too. I have avoided the interminable break-in period and the ultimate break-down period of tubes. How long do they really sound "Great?" To me this hobby is about listening to music not playing with tubes. I am on my second Krell pre-amp having recently upgraded to a newer model. I love the sound. All this writing is really meaningless though, you have to find the pre-amp you'll love to live with and whose shortcomings are the most tolerable.
This hobby is worth the frustration when you get to the point when you stop listening to the system and start listening to the music!!! Buy a Krell, buy a Counterpoint, or buy a Sim P-5, but get the one that makes/lets you listen to the music.
I agree with the others about tube preamp and amp. I have owned a tube preamp (CJ Premier 17 LS), tube amp (McIntosh MC2102 which use KT88s output) and SS Sim Audio W5. I spend average 1-2 hours to listen between tube and SS amp. The tube amp after 30 min it sounds much much better than SS amp if you listen 2 or more hours long it sounds almost the same. SS amp does not sound excited after hours long. Tube amp sounds not only incredible but also absolutely musical and transparent. What can you say more about tube amp?
Tubes are the way for me. they simply sound more musical! I love my CJ Premier 14 ! BTW Tubes in most preamps can last 5 years or more, depending on the design. Did you know that Many Marantz 10b Tuners still have original tubes that are almost 40 years old! There are lots of great SS preamps too. It's up to you enjoy!
I agree with Driver about the Pass Aleph P. I used to be a die hard tube fanatic. Why? Because they sounded so much smoother and were more revealing with my ribbon speakers than with any solid state component I had heard. Then a friend, who builds amps commercially, twisted my arm very hard, trying to get me to audition the solid state Pass X amp and a Pass pre amp. I tried his suggestion halfway. Following the common wisdom found in the posts above I chose to use a tube pre with the Pass X amp. It was pretty darn good, but not as transparent as I knew ribbons speakers can be. Swallowing hard, I bought a Pass Aleph P and completed the set like my friend had wanted. Now I can only describe my system as "reference," meaning the whole system gets out of the way of the music. I still think that the best cd player is a tubed cd player; Pass doesn't make a cd player.
Tennis pro. All good things take a little time. What if someone put two weeks into tennis and walked away because it was to complicated or difficult?

My God! Backhand, forehand, dropshots, volleys...haven't got it in two weeks...I quit! It is par for the course that you would be confused about tubes after two weeks. I've been at it for a few years and I'm still confused.

Actually, one of nice things about tubes is the variety. And for $2500 you can get a wonderful tube pre. Some foks choose not to go tubes and that is certainly valid too.

I remain,
What speakers are you using??? Some speakers are born for tubes , some for SS, some sound fine with either.
At $2,500 you will not find SS that will compete with tubes....
What crump? My Aleph P cost $1600. There has never been a better pre amp in my system, tube or otherwise.

Any relation to the cartoonist, H R Crump?
I have McIntosh Mx 132 for preamp. It is very liquid, and gives a tube sound. Amp is Bryston. Ah Tjoeb CD (with Siemens Gold pins),and M/L Aeris I speakers.

Sounds like being there. I drive that system Hard.

I've listened to lots of other systems. Mine sounds great to me. I might try full Tube Amp some day.