Tube Preamps.....

I am running 2 GFA 565 Musical Comcepts modded Amps with Vandersteen 2ce v2. I am looking for a good quality tube preamp. With or without a built in dac. Should I stick with shopping for a used Mac? Or should I look at others also. Suggestions? Like to keep it under $3000. Could stretch to 3500. Thanks for your input. 

Another +vote for a Conrad Johnson classic  2SE or ET-3/3SE.

Happy Listening!

shrapnel: the CJ ET3 and Classic 2 preamps are completely different designs, with no relation other than they were both designed and produced by CJ.  The ET3 is based on technology used for the GAT preamp while the Classic 2 is essentially an update of the PV-10BL preamp.  Both are great amps but were designed for different user expectations and different price points.

patores: personally, I would take the advise of the others who have advised you to skip the preamp/DAC combination.  To paraphrase Peter, Paul and Mary "Preamps live  forever but no so little DACs..."

Hi, reading the string with interest. I had a CJ 12AL (12au7 tubes) pre for several years which was a warm/lush preamp for sure. A beautiful sounding piece. I replaced it with a Odyssey Candela preamp to mate with my Odyssey Stratos. It leans to warm aide of neutral and responds greatly to nos tuberolling. I default back to bugle boys. I assume it falls well within your $3K limit but a call to Klaus could answer any questions that you may have.
Take care.

+1 LTA MZ2.  I have one in my 3rd system.  I've had it in systems #1 and #2, and it's incredible for the money.  It's just barely beaten by an $8K integrated and an $18K pre-amp, and it easily beat an $8K pre-amp I demo'd (and didn't buy because of the MZ2).