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  1. #1

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    Aug 2013

    Default The contendors for Tube Pre Amps found..... and the competition starts

    I was on and off about adding tube pre amp to go along with my LSIM...

    But after reading through overwhelming reviews and after the recent recomendations/suggestions from the fellow polkies the fire which was ignited by Audio Guru Jesse is now turned in to a inferno.

    I only way to bring that inferno down is to acquire the damn tube as soon as possible.

    To start with and to make things easier these are the ones i would like to investigate and see which one of these is strong enough to bring that fire down like Looks...Specs....Customer support.....Realiable....long life.....

    Cary SLP-98 F1

    VTL 2.5 /5.5

    Joule LA-150 MkII

    Audio Research SP16 /LS26

    Conrad-Johnson CT-5

    I would like to know, if any of you have you owned one of these? and what is your take? Likes/dislikes etc..,

    Or do you have a worthy contender to be placed along with this list?

    As always your time and replies are highly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by Kenneth Swauger; 09-12-2013 at 07:42 AM.

  2. #2

    Member Sales Rating: (12)

    Join Date
    Nov 2008


    I have never heard a tiube pre. Does Emo make one?
    HT Setup... Pioneer Elite SC-37, Polk Audio SDA-SRS 1.2TL's , Oppo BDP 93
    Two Channel... Carver Statement 450~1 Vacuum Tube Monoblocks, Dodd Mid-line Tube Linestage with Psvane 12Ax7 tubes, Pioneer Pdd 9Mk II SACD Player, Yamaha PX-3 Turntable with Sumiko BPS EvoIII, Polk Audio SDA-SRS 1.2TLs.

    "The problems we face today exist because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living." Brad Shurett

  3. #3

    Member Sales Rating: (0)

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    North Texas


    Tubes will ruin you...
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Essence Audio HDACC, Douglas IC's, Douglas Alpha bi-wire SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

  4. #4

    Member Sales Rating: (0)

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    Aug 2013


    Quote Originally Posted by DSkip View Post
    Tubes will ruin you...
    in a good way or bad way?

  5. #5

    Member Sales Rating: (1)

    Join Date
    Jul 2001


    In a good way for a bad way for your wallet.

  6. #6

    Member Sales Rating: (26)

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    The tube lair in Charlotte, NC


    Very bad way. Each one comes with their own sound. This can be good or bad and that completely resides on what tubes lie within. You are on the right path though, if I do say so myself...

    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction.

  7. #7

    Member Sales Rating: (12)

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Plainfield, Illinois


    The VTL 2.5 is a good pre amp. My bud Norm had one so it made it over here to my place. Mullard CV4003 and Sylvania 6350's gave it a nice sound with a good bottom end.

    The Audio Research SP16 will be a bit more defined with better soundstage. Like Tom said they each have a signature sound so you need to experience one to know what you want more or less of.

    I have experience with a Conrad Johnson Premier ACT2, but not the CT-5.

    No experience with service on ones I mentioned.
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's
    Krell KSL Class A Pre w/ KSL Phono
    Krell Class A KSA-250
    Harmonic Technology Pro 9+
    Squeezebox Touch / Welborne Labs PS / I2S Out Mod
    Denon 3910 w/I2S/DSD Out
    Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC
    Sennheiser HD650
    Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive
    AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm
    AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R
    Shunyata Hydra (Original)
    NHT B-12d subs
    GIK Acoustic Treatments

    CP Showcase

  8. #8

    Member Sales Rating: (9)

    Join Date
    Jan 2003


    While I can't comment on any of the pres you have listed, considering the speaker set-up you are going to have, I would recommend a pre with the "Home Theater Bypass" function.
    SDA CRS+4.1TL's/Modded SDA 1C's/Modded SDA SRS 3.1 TL's/Modded SDA SRS 2.3TL

  9. #9

    Member Sales Rating: (6)

    Join Date
    Dec 2008


    I have a. Sp16. It replaced a ss McIntosh. I will say the McIntosh was warmer vs the ar sp16! The stock tubes are bass shy but fast jn the highs. I replaced them with some late 50 tungsol so it had more bass but kept the fast clean highs. I have also tried rca 3mica also but for my legacy speakers, I feel the tongsol was a better fit. No even though the McIntosh ss was warmer sounding the ar sp16 soundstage and speed of the highs sounded way better on my rig.

    What kind of sound are you looking for? As stated, each of the preamps you listed has a unique sound

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