Tube Pre-Amp Upgrade Advice for Young Audiophile

Take a look at my system...under 'my system'. My modded AE-3 is AWESOME ...I love it! But I have the upgrade itch and at this point I feel is the weakest link in my system. What I am looking for is a little more transparency amoung other things. I DO NOT want to spend and arm and a leg on a new pre. Maybe $800 used. Due to my budget ..i have to buy used and prob cannot audition... hence I am VERY concerned with component synergy with My Super Amp DJH.

Many people reccomend older Audio Research Models but I have no Idea which ones are good. I am also seriously considering the Rogue Magnum 66...also Blue Circle (but i think the BC is out of my budget.
Over all I want to make sure I am actually making an
upgrade over my AE3! All of you advice in the past has been A1!! So HELLLPP! :)
Ag insider logo xs@2xsquiddy
Squiddy, so far as ARC goes, look for an SP-6 or an SP-8 600-900 used. For a bit more, which may be out of your budget but you can still find older ones at 1100-1200 used, don't rule out the CAT. Any of their models are great full function pre-amps. CJ are ok but the cheaper models are too rolled off at the frequency extremes and a bit darker and bloomier that the above mentioned. Then again you may prefer this initially but long term you'll probably want more.
My first TUbe PRe was a CJ PV-10AL.
SInce you said you are looking for something that is more transparent, I would have to suggest that you NOT buy a CJ-PV10 model. They sound ravishing, but transparent is not a word I would use to describe them.

Maybe a PV-11/12/14, but still, the CJ house sound is still a tad on the warm side.

What about a Passive Pre/assuming your source can push?

Also, consider the Adcom unit (yeah, I know, Audiophile bias) that is/was a recommended component in S'phile. I've actually heard it, and it is clean and clear, and is switchable between active and passive.

True, the Audible Illusions PRe is probably EXACTLY the sound that you'd like, but see threads re: dealing with repairs/parts etc. SLOOOOOOW.

I use Rogue. I like Rogue, but I think the 99 is a big step up from the 66, and the 99 is out of your range.

MY suggestion is to consider further UPGRADES TO YOUR CARY PIECE.


IT sounds to me (I've been there more times than I'll admit) like you're absolutely jonzeing for an upgrade.

THis shit is addictive, no doubt about it.
But you could probably keep what you've got, change some tubes or power cords or cables, OR MAYBE JUST CLEAN THE CONNECTIONS REALLY WELL, and get a HUGE reward.

But then again, it sure does feel good dropping some $$$ on a new toy.

Good luck!!!

I auditioned the DJH Super Amp about 1 1/2 years ago. Found it to be as close to SET as one can get w/o actual SET. It was emminently musical and glued me to my listening sofa night after night. (Hated that overly bright blue on/off light, though.) Found it to have properly entended highs and lows and just the right balance of color and clarity. It made music for me. However, the upgrade bug kept gnawing away and I ended up with the three times as expensive Air Tight 300B. However, the Super Amp is a real keeper. I used a Creek OBH12 passive pre with remote control (a must in any pre-amp I will own) and it worked just fine. Plenty of dynamics, etc. If not this, suggest you go with as neutral a pre (tube, of course!) as possible so as not to lose any of the wonderful Super Amp tone and color.

By the way, you may want to, some day, check out ProAc and Vienna Acoustic speakers. However, you have put together a great system with music first, obviously. A music lover, no doubt.