Balanced/Differential tube preamplifier recommendation?

First post here. Hello


I have a Wyred4Sound ST-500mkII class D power amplifier. I would like a balanced/differential tube preamplifier to go with it. Ideally I would spend less than $2000 on this preamp. A remote for power and volume control is a must for me. 

I would like something that is true balanced, as my source is also true balanced

I have seen a few options, but most seem to be out of my price range, and to be an uneven match for a fairly affordable power amp like I have. Any suggestions? Thank you 🙂


Have you considered a used BAT preamp.  I've been very happy with my VK-3IX, so much so I'm looking to move up the line.  And yes, it does have remote capability.  I bought mine used without a remote but found a Logitech Harmony works just fine.

You might find an Allnic L3000 in that price range. Allnic is holographic transformer balanced and has a remote

Everyone promotes what they have and each piece that's been spoken about in this thread is a good option albeit some won't come in under $2K. Stretch a bit and go for a used (if u can find one) Aesthetix Calypso. I use a Calypso Sig & it's truly a spectacular piece. Just my opinion 

I have had a few preamps that are within your price range (new or used):

  • Topping pre90 (a PIA to use and does not work well GAIN wise with a lot of amps)
  • Benchmark LA4 (no euphoric sound with this one)
  • Holo Serene (like the LA4 but a touch warmer)
  • Schitt Freya+ (tubes, low, cost. but not as clean sounding as I like)
  • BAT VK-42SE
  • Bryston BP-20
  • CODA 07x (tubey sound and a lower model CODA pre maybe something to consider)

The LA4 and Serene are what I chose over all of the above. If you want a tubey sound the CODA 07x can be found for $4k and the model lower in the range around $2k.

I would recommend the Holo Serene to you, especially for someone who has owned the Topping pre90. Read the review that compares it to the LA4. There is a used one on USAM for $2.5K.

The BAT is also pretty good for something with a warm sound. I preferred it over the Freya+.