Well, I paid like a $100 for it - in mint condition. Stock, it sounds fantastic. Transparent to a fault - which is what I like. But I'm advised that it can even be improved upon. And given how it was designed, I tend to believe that. So the modification is not major, but upon considering it, it caused me to raise the question that I posted. Hey, if I got a preamp that readily competes with units in the $2K range, I'm pretty happy. And if I can modify it to make it even better, all the better. But my question still remain. Why not just do pigtails?