Pre amps cost vs. value ... what I discovered last month.

Greetings all.

I’m a mastering engineer. . We use Acoustic Zen balanced cabling, highly modified Cary 211 FE tube amps, Bricasti M1 SE DAs and Joachim Gerhard’s Allegra speakers. TORUS balanced power comes 220 from the street. The room is excellent, and you would love to hear it.

For 15 years the pre amp/router was a Crane Song Avocet. I paid around $1800 for it.

Recently decided to try a couple of audiophile products in the pre amp stage and was shocked and saddened how bad they were. Yes, the studio designed Avocet has a relay click for each 1db step, and yes it has a rack mounted 2U body with a corded remote, but it’s clear folks are really getting taken to the cleaners on pre amps. The older and highly regarded Boulder 1010 (used price $5500), was just terrible, truly terrible. The new and fully broken in BAT vk-43SE (demo price $7500) was much better, but still had a cloudy tone as compared to the class A Avocet. Not sure if that’s the cap or the transformer, but it made everything less clear and more generic, more distant from the music.

That’s all. Happy listening.
Oh, but would I be able to swap the avocet (or its current incarnation) with my current pre? Or is a studio component only? The IIe version on Sweetwater looked hella advanced. 
Up to you @simao  ... It's all balanced, and I have not used the new one.   It has a nice DA as well, he keeps upgrading the DA as one would expect.

I looked inside this Avocet on the net, and it’s full of opamps, and if 15 years old they’d mainly be TLO5*'s ands NE553*'s which are very ordinary to say the least.

Cheers George
Sometimes’s the circuit not the components.

cheers mate
+1 for Brian,your comments have that ring of truth to them.I agree,there is a multitude of ridiculously over priced pre amps that simply do not make it happen.