New to Preamp - Preamp suggestion around 10k

Hello all! I am new to this site, and preamp. Thiss might be niche, but I am using a Stax headphone with its amp, which has a bypass function for external preamp. I am trying to add a slight bit of warmth, plus better dynamics and imaging.


Currently I have found some good ones (and available), from what I've seen on this site, as follows:

Rogue Audio RP-9

Cary SLP-05 (around 11k with the "ultimate upgrade")


I've also seen ARC Ref 6 suggested, but there seems to be a lack of sellers in my place. As for SLP-05, the distributor at my place said there was no demo, even for the standard version......which left me with RP-9 for audition. Would much appreciate your opinions on them, and any alternatives!


Thank you in advance!


If you do not want warmth and want a perfectly silent background, then check out the Holo Serene and Benchmark LA4. I used the HPA4 (same as LA4) with a warm Meze headphones and it was very good. I have not heard the Serene yet but the LA4 is my fav with 2-channel systems, since you do not hear it.

++ Aesthetix and Backert. Currently own the Calypso and have heard the Rhumba Extreme. Outstanding linestages.

I would recommend a used Audio Research Ref 5SE or REF 6. The current model is Ref 6SE which is nearly $20K… very worth the money. I have owned many. It REF 6SE is the center of my system. But from your description this is likely best fit. Or Conrad Johnson or VAC… these are the top tier and well worth it. Used is fine they are built to last decades.