Advice? Less than $4k, solid state preamp, neutral to gentle

There are many many posts about recommendations for preamps, so many to sift through that I thought getting a couple answers off the top of your heads might be ok to ask for.

Here's my situation: I am looking for a backup, solid state preamp to work with (a) Quicksilver mono block amps and (b) a Pass XA 25. I have (c) two DACs that I like, a Schiit Bifrost 2/64 and a modded-out MHDT Orchid. My speakers (d) are Ascend Acoustics Sierra Towers w/RAAL tweeters, and I have three subs.

My current preamps are both tube -- one is a 6SN7 preamp similar to an Ultraverve 3 and the other is a Quicksilver Line Stage.

I like having solid state alternatives to tube gear both to hear different sonic presentations and also in case I want to give tubes a break or if a tube goes bad.

I have tried autoformer preamps (more or less a straight wire with gain) such as the Bent Tapx and I don't like it on my system. I need a bit more.

If money was no object, I'd probably go drop $5k on an Ayre KX-5. That is a bit steep for me at the moment.

So, the question is: What solid state preamp, less than $4k, used or new, would you recommend to give a fairly neutral to warm/gentle presentation? Or that you simply like for reliability, interface, etc.?



- Benchmark LA4 ($2500)

- Holo Serene

- SPL Elector ($3K)

- CODA 07x ($7.2K)

- Schitt Freya+ (I liked it with Benchmark AHB2 amps)

Prices are for new units, and I listed them in order of what I think will be neutral to warm.

I have not heard the Serene or SPL but going on what other A’gon members told me how they compare to the LA4.

I am likely going to end up with 2 LA4 preamps.


Personally, we would have the Parasound p5. 
AVA makes a no thrills pre. 
if  want to have a preamp rehabbed, caps, full cleaning, etc

look for a great cond Onkyo p-308

warm sound, smooth controls, great pre!

had t remove my B and K pro10-mc. Needs to be recapped and a new volume pot 

one of these days, will make the half day trip to sounds classic in Rockford, ILL. 

GREAT shop, great work. 

Parasound p3 or P5;are both great units. 

look for a McCormack used . Good preamps as well

why buy new? Save some money for single malt, krakus ham, pedersens bologna, and a bunch of new records or CDs. 

Hattor Big dual mono, AMRG trans + active stage NewClassD

my preamp forever

2400 USD


My kids had to pay for college on their own. We figured it would give them a better work ethic. Bought them their first car though. Used 

Good luck on the pre search ! 

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