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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have auditioned my first tubed pre-amp and it was the Audio Research LS16. I was very happy with the audition and want to know what experiences other forum participants have had with his unit and if you feel there are other units I definetively must audition before making my decision.


Thank's for your input and help!


Peter
 

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Hello Peter.


Welcome to the world of tube preamps!! Audio Research makes very nice gear - I'm sure you would be happy for years if you bought the LS16. Audio Research, along with Conrad-Johnson, are the "old lions" of this genre. Certainly, however, they have competitors.


Tube preamps (in your price range) that I have personally auditioned and can recommend are made by: Atmasphere, Audio Research, BAT, Conrad-Johnson, KORA, and VTL. Note, of these, I bought the KORA Eclipse ($3,750), while the BAT VK-31 ($4,000 w/ phono & remote) was runnerup.


Other tube amp manufacturers that make great preamps in your price range are: Air Tight, Art Audio, Audio Note, Granite Audio, Joule Electra, and LAMM. These are off the top of my head - I'm sure I've forgotten a dozen other worthy manufacturers. Note I have never auditioned tube pre amps from any of these.


I would question anyone who makes a judgement on any of these as "this one is definitely better than that one". They are all wonderful (with their pros/cons).

At this level of performance, I believe it will likely come down to "system synergy". Possibly amp A will sound better in my system than amp B. But the opposite may be true for your system.


Secondly, features (or lack thereof) will also help you to sort them out somewhat. For me, having a MC phono stage was important, as was having a full-function remote. Of lesser importance (but still considered) was the KORA having a separate power supply, and having XLR connectors to my monoblocks.

But, maybe you want "HT bypass". Maybe you want a "Phase inverter switch". Maybe your system demands 5 inputs. What's important to one customer may not be to the next.


Either way, have fun in your search, and keep us up to date on your progress and opinions. It may very well be of benefit to the next guy (or gal) heading down that path.


Good luck,

Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Kevin,

Thank's a lot!:D CJ, VTL, BAT, EAR and Lamm are manufacturers I have heard good things about as well. The other ones are new to me. Will have to look into that...;)


What you say about system synergy is very true. I agree completely and therefore auditioning at home is really a pre-requisite.


Thank's again for your input!


Peter
 
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