Help recommend a good tube preamp

I am looking for recommendations for a good, fully balanced tube preamp (< $4k - $12k) for my system:

DAC: Holo May

Power amp: Hegel H30 (input impedance (balanced / XLR) = 25k ohms)

Speakers: Focal Maestro Utopia III

Room: 20ft X 21ft

Music: mostly jazz / classical. Some classic rock.

Preamps tried before: McIntosh C2600, Hegel P30, Holo Serene, Rogue RP5

Constraints: output impedance should not be high (as my amplifier’s input impedance is quite low)

I tried C2600 (but with different amp / speakers).

Recently, I tried Rogue RP5 - sounded great but it does not have XLR out (H30’s unbalanced input impedance is a measly 9.6 kilo ohms). So, a natural recommendation would be the Rogue Audio RP7 - except that in the Stereophile review’s measurements section, John Atkinson recommends not using the pre with amps with less than 30k input impedance (affects low frequency response).



Ag insider logo xs@2xreg19

VAC’s customer service is renown for being awful — unforgivable at their price points IMHO and I’d never give them my business when there are so many other excellent brands out there that actually support their customers— VAC, ARC, Atmasphere, CJ, etc.

@soix Interesting you decry VAC customer service and then recommend them.  I have owned 5 different VAC instruments over many years and always received excellent customer service even though they were not purchased new.  I’m not sure about your personal experience or if you are just quoted something your read, but I find it completely foreign to my many years of experience with the brand.

@drrsutliff Ugh.  You’re correct.  My total bad.  I meant VTL, not VAC.  I’m a douche. 

@reg19  I want to point out one more thing about the Backert: the name Rhythm is not arbitrary. It is indeed descriptive.

Concert fidelity is the best pre amp ever my second is audible illusions which is a American brand

This pre amp shines in my system . . . very different approach. Hashimoto MC-10

The HM-3 is a simply amazing step-up transformer for MC cartridges.  We are not quite sure if it's appropriate to mention the HM-3 on this Web site because this step-up transformer can be a treasure not only for tube amps, but also for any audio systems that equips with a MM phono stage.  The basic idea of the MC transformers is to amplify the MC cartridge output signal to the acceptable voltage level for MM phono equalizers through a transformer - without an active amplifier.  With the HM-3, the sound image becomes very wide and deep with three dimensional representation.  The low sound is very tight and the high frequency is crisp clear.  In essence, the vinyl sound through the HM-3 is the closest to the real live music.