Tube preamp with Adcom amp

I have been wanting to use a tube preamp in my system but never had the chance to try one. I recently purchase an Adcom GFA-5500 with a Rotel RC-995 and to be honest, is sound good but I want to try something different. I am using the Vandersteen 2ci as my speakers. Due to my style of music, I have always been a SS guy. What would recommend for a tube preamp that will work with the 5500?

Ag insider logo xs@2xhighend64

Early Audio Research (SP6 series, SP8) are famous for their classic sound and their superb phono sections.  Conrad Johnsons from this same period were more "tubey" sounding which comes through well on the solid state amps.  But plan to buy in-line gain-reducers for these preamps, as they pretty much all had high output voltages compared to more recent transistor gear.  Thus you may overload the amp, or at the very least will have the volume control turned down so low that it is barely usuable.


I recommend an EAR 912 (or lesser versions 868 with or without phono pre-amp). If you play LPs, the 912 is great!  It has dual LP inputs, mono switch, muting, 4 impedance and 3 gain settings,  Change the fuse to an Acme treated for $22, a pair of NOS Amperex and Mullards for the line stage and away you go to great sound.  It is paired with SS amps all the time.