Many higher end preamps are dated and ugly, why is this?

Conrad Johnson, BAT, VTL are all very good preamplifiers, they are dated and just ugly.  Audio research is a prettier amplifier but it's not very well regarded due to it sounding more like a solid state, ie. Not really a tube preamp despite all those internal lightbulbs.

Cheaper preamps can be more pretty. Schitt makes a pretty preamp for about $1000. People like pretty.

D'Agostino by many is viewed as very attractive but kind of weird. 


I think it is really a matter of personal taste. I don’t think the Schiit looks all that great.

I do like the look of my Luxman CL-35 III and Luxman CL-38uC preamps, as an added bonus they also have great sound

Preamp aesthetics may or may not have any bearing on it's sound quality. 

I've stated this before and will repeat it here again.."good preamplifiers are few & far between".

Many are flawed in different areas and it is difficult to execute everything to make a great sounding preamp.

@reubent “Many Audiophiles are dated and ugly. Why is this?”

Good observation.

That is because the sound of equipment gets better with cost and the only ones that can afford really good stuff are old farts. So over time you collect old guys.


"good preamplifiers are few & far between"

I agree.  I went through about 20 before finding one I could live with long term.