Who makes great active preamps ? Tube or solid state or hybrid.


It appears, it is not Pass, Rowland, even Lamm etc. Who then ? 
I heard about Ypsilon, though some say it is a little bright and forward sounding.
inna
Shindo, Luxman, Nagra, Leben all make great preamps
Balanced Audio Technology (sound great and have a very useful user-interface), Prima Luna, Audio Research, Convergent Audio Technology, VAC, etc. BTW, Pass has gotten great reviews for their statement preamps.
ARC and Linear Tube Audio are both excellent also.
Aesthetix makes amazing preamps at different different price levels starting around $5500. The new Métis is outstanding: 

http://www.aesthetix.net/metis.php
My faves for ENTIRELY different reasons:
Conrad JohnsonAyreCAT
Add Backert to the list.
In a lower price category, I have enjoyed my Vincent pre. I have not owned a hybrid before, and am satisfied with the results. 
There are still many great preamps made, what is your budget?
Well, I'd add Jadis and second the Shindo and VAC recommendations.  But I must have missed something, maybe in another thread--who is claiming that Lamm, Rowland and Pass don't make great active preamps?  My experience with Lamm alone would dispute that claim.
Well, first I meant great not just excellent, and second I meant compared to their power amps. Sure, Lamm are excellent.
Inna - What makes a "great" preamp to you ? Hard to make suggestions . Only you can decide that 
Shindo, Luxman, Nagra all make excellent preamps.

CAT also makes an excellent preamp.

I have heard all in a system I am intimately familiar with or my home system.

What is your listening experience with Pass, Rowland and Lamm?
@twoleftears 
+1.

Backert Labs changed my perception of "active" preamp. Hard to believe that an active can be so transparent and dynamic at the same time.
I've been using the Veloce Lithio 2.0 for some time. Although no longer marketed, Vytas still supports it. He did an upgrade for me shortly after I got to Texas a couple years ago, different batteries, some other changes. I never tried it with a standard 6H30, have been using NOS DR Reflecktors- it is pretty stunning. I feel no need to change. It has the midrange magic of the Lamm L2 Reference but more information at the frequency extremes. 
I think there are lots of good preamps and line stages out there. 
Audio Note. Or a custom designed  preamp by Aldo at Deja Vu Audio.
The new dual chassis VTL is superb
+++ for Jim White at Aesthetix
ARC always in the hunt, love my ref5se
the Backert is also hyper affordable

sleeper in the USA but Brinkmann doing some great things....

in a fire and forget SS the Ayre KX-R is pretty amazing


Audio Research, Allnic, Moon, BAT, VTL
I'll second the very quiet noise floor of the Veloce Lithio series II, battery powered....loved it.  Liked it better than my VAC that preceded it.Now using VTL 6.5, v2 and loving it.
Are you using mostly single ended, or balanced? Need HT bypass, or to switch sources? Volume control? Tubed or SS amp, need to match impedance...lots of variable, but all above are great preamps, with good recommendations....must be hard to find local auditions. Good luck
That's good, many choices. You calmed me down. What about tube Japanese preamps ?
And if having to choose one company that  makes both great preamps and power amps, besides I am sure some European solid state, what would your choice be ? VAC and CAT ?
I’ve been very happy with Simaudio.  Had a 350 P which I really liked and I am now just selling because I upgraded to the P5 Limited addition
What about McIntosh?...no Mac fans out there?
Depends on the sound you are looking for.  Many mentioned above are very good preamps.  I prefer point-to-point wiring and custom parts that most of the above do not offer.  Then there is tube types such as 12AX7, 6DJ8, 6SN7 and direct heated triode designs.  Each do something completely different.  What price range are you thinking about?

Happy Listening. 
Below $1500 you can't do better than a tube pre-amp from Frank Van Alstine.   Still designing and building great stuff in Minnesota USA.
Audio Note and Radu Tarta!
I’m very happy with my McIntosh C2600 tube preamp.  It offers that well-known McIntosh warmth, built-in DAC and those alluring blue meters.  Also, it should maintain it’s value as good if not better than any other brand.
Parasound JC2 is a great value.
Since you mentioned Japan Kondo and Robert Koda.
I hate my Jeff Rowland preamp everyday. Sometimes I hate it for up to 8 hours in one listening session.  
ModWright. Maybe not expensive as others noted but for the money they’ll keep up just fine and embarrass many. Beautiful build and great company to deal with.
@boxer12.....wayy 2 much hate in your life, you need more music, try 12 hours!!!!


Anyone familiar with Wavac or Komuro or Audio Tekne ?
I really like my McIntosh c2300 tube preamp...just put in some Mullard vintage tubes...what a huge upgrade
I really like my McIntosh c2300 tube preamp...just put in some Mullard vintage tubes...what a huge upgrade
Peachtree Nova 300 has a great front end, every imaginable type of input and a stellar onboard DAC. All for $2300
Check out the stats and reviews 💘
Ear 868, Ear 912, Audio Note !!!  (Have the M5, on GamuT D200) ,Shindo, VAC
VAC preamp + amp appear to win by the vote majority so far. I remember a thread I started years ago regarding VAC and Lamm power amps. Again, VAC won but not by much.
What do you think of Allnic ? It is quite popular.

It appears he's asking about "big money" preamps so VAC Master for a start on tube side and Luxman 900 on the SS side.
Big performance. Big money usually follows.
Not always unless your conditioned to follow the Jonathan Valin train of thought where more money always equals better sound at least in his mind. 
No, not always, but it will cost in any case.
Naim and Mark Levinson usually gets Good reviews. I heard a Constellation amp that sounded fantastic. 
Relatively cheap compared to most mentioned CROFT 25R .... Valve input MOSFET out
Jond mentioned the Aldo preamp from Deja Vu Audio (in Tyson's Corner Virginia).  These are custom built to fit whatever particular need you have.  Mine is built with remotely controlled volume and two Daven pots for balance control.  It also is fully transformer coupled (has output transformers) so it can only be used with suitable amplifiers (I use an Aldo-built amp with compatible input transformers, it will also work with my Audio Note Kageki amplifiers).  This is quite a good sounding preamp.  I own two other linestage/preamps--an Emotive Audio Epifania tube linestage and a solid state Levinson No. 32 preamp.

I have heard, and also like, Audio Note preamps, but, the lack of remote control for volume is a deal killer for me.  The same goes with the terrific sounding Kondo linestages. 

Although I have less experience with other linestages and preamps than those mentioned above, I have heard decent systems that included the Veloce battery-powered tube linestage, and Atmasphere linestages.  

In the solid state realm, the only linestage that sounded truly great to me was the Lyra Connoisseur (I heard the linestage and phono preamp together).  
Having recently experienced what a major IC upgrade can mean, I wonder what ICs the negative commenters were using

Anyway of you are on a sub $1500 budget, you might get lucky and find a used Audio Alchemy DDP-1 + PS 5. It is a balanced design (also has rca outs) with built in dac; MSRP ~ $2600

For amps and preamps, I still go with VAC, Shindo, Jadis and Lamm.  I think Lamm's LL1.1 qualifies as a great preamp, and while I love my VAC amp, my Lamm monos might have been just a little more refined in some respects (not that the VAC isn't).
Do not forget the 10Y of Thomas Mayer to match the best as Shindo, Kondo, Audio Note
I concur with markus1299.

Atma-Sphere MP-1 or MP-3
Excellent list, @lukaske.