Best Options For A Tubed Preamp - $2500 Or Less, Preferably Used To Maximize Value

As the title says, I'm interested in your thoughts on what are the ebst options for a tube based preamp, $2500 or under. I generally buy used to maximize what I can get. Definitely prefer a warmer sound signature, but not to the degree where details and impact are lost. 

What are the best values out there, in this price range, in your opinion? Any expertise, perspectives and experience greatly appreciated. Thanks. 


I would recommend the Schiit Freya + with some top notch tubes.  The tubes make this into a whole other preamp than stock.  I really love that you get the passive mode as well which can be nice for some music and for a different flavor at times.  Tube mode I like the best but nice to have the option.  I have recently owned the ARC Ref 6 and the Cary SLP 05 which I bought hoping to upgrade from the Freya +.  I think these both sounded marginally better but not what you would think for 10X the cost I spend a lot of time going back and forth with all these preamps and also the Benchmark LA4.  In the end I sold the big huge hot and heavy tube preamps as they just weren't enough better to justify the hassle of having to turn them on and off every time I want to play music.  The LA4 preamp is also very good and I think better than the Freya + when you compare in passive mode.  The Freya + lacks a balance control and a record output otherwise it's just about perfect and really gives the big dogs a run for their money.  Schiit stuff in general is great bang for the buck.  I also use the Tyr monos and I have sold most of my other amps as I just enjoy these a little more and easy to live with.  The Tyr and Freya + is an amazing combo when you consider amp and preamp at 4K retail. Amazing. 

+1 to Schitt Freya+


You can taylor the sound through tube rolling of 6sn7 or variants.


Also it has three modes.


Passive mode is transparent but with weaker dynamics and less full.


Balanced SS  mode is pretty good.


Tube mode can give you fun!