yet another tube preamp recommendation thread

hello, currently looking for tube preamp linestage upgrade recommentations.
recently tried an older cary audio slp98p f1 edition with new tubes. i do not need phono capability.
the cary had a lot going for it, an incredible midrange, very good bass and transparency, it just sounded unrefined and ragged in the treble on occasion, possibly due to the new tubes.
a new Slp 98 l with upgrades is a considetation.
also considering primaluna evo 300 or 400
and rogue audio rp7.
i value transparency, refinement and dynamics the most.
Hey avanti 1960,

I’m just about ready to start my review on the AricAudio Mother Lode II for the Stereo Times website. I have had it in-house for the last two months and have tried it with many different front ends, along with both tube based and solid state amplifiers. This two chassis 6SN7 based linestage is a superlative world class reference piece. If it’s in your budget, $4,700, you owe it to your self to possibly demo it and hear it with your own ears. If you go to Aric Audio’s website you can see what it looks like, beautiful build quality and looks, and more details about its internal parts and topography. It’s a killer preamplifier, indeed.
Considering your question, but first: what was missing in the other threads covering this topic that didn't help address your issue? There's a lot of good discussion to look over on this site.

Very nice room and audio system. If you want end game tube preamp and your budget allows, look for Shindo Labs Aurieges or Monbrison. Once you hear these preamps, only then you will realize what you have been missing in the competition. 
you should look seriously at the KR P-135.  It is a 45 based preamp and throws out a huge sound-stage with tons of dynamics.  This is the review from Positive Feedback.

Full disclosure, I am a KR dealer but this is a pretty special preamp.  I would also suggest you look at the Art Audio Conductor but that is a bit above the price range you have listed.  It is highly customizable with switchable gain and it has an amazing headphone amp. 
I second Aric Audio! I have the original Motherlode with a Coda Model 16, and I have put the brakes on the the constant hunt for sonic bliss!
Avanti, if you want bullet proof reliability and service find a used ARC preamp. I know of units that are 50 years old and operating perfectly not to mention they sound wonderful. 
What sort of amplifier is being used- tube or solid state, single-ended input or balanced?
thanks to all so far. i am asking for preamps in the range of the cary slp98 up to the primaluna evo 4000/ rogue audio rp-7 or so, this is a rather specific price range.
i have heard of these preamps before but never had a chance to listen to the specialty and direct brands.
is the economy of scale such that they really sound better than the well established mainstream audiophile brands?
feeding a new parasound a21+ who's sound i really love. will have either of those two aforementioned pieces up for sale in no time. Look at how many PL owners who put their gear up for sale mention that they are not the original owner. 
If you don't need balanced, this PL is a good value. I would ignore the perception that units listed with second owners are any different than other brands. Their just isn't one brand for everyone, as some may think.

For $2800, you're getting performance/features of pricier units. Reports of a cap upgrade supposedly improves upon already good. I'd offer $2500.

the cary slp98 should not sound harsh in the treble - it is either the tubes themselves or the isolation of the unit... the slp98 is suuuuuper smooooooth

make sure you have tube dampers and the unit well isolated

maybe you want to try a new preamp/linestage but i don't think you have gotten the slp working at its best yet... my 2 cents (i used to have one ran it for 2 years very happily)
Last call for those tube linestage gems ! ~ 4.5 K or so- 
Transparency,  timbre and holographic soundstage 

Last call for those tube linestage gems ! ~ 4.5 K or so-
Transparency, timbre and holographic soundstage
If you can find one of our MP-3 line stage preamps used you should be able to pick it up in that price range or less. They have direct coupled balanced outputs and no worries driving the input impedance of your amp. The direct-coupled output helps a lot with transparency...
avanti, you have a Rogue Stereo 100 as your amp, correct?  It's hard to argue with the RP7+ST100 combo.  That's what I have and the match is fantastic, especially when you roll tubes to your liking.  Dynamics, punch, silky treble, "3D" soundstage are all there.  I am not changing this setup for a long time, as I am quite happy!
I had an SLP98 years ago after they first came out. Maybe they have gotten better over time with upgrades, but to my ears that was a very colored preamp with not much transparency. I sold it to a friend of mine and purchased another Modulus 3a.

You should also consider the Don Sachs Model 2 preamp. Plenty of tube goodness and very transparent too.


i love my cj et5... it is tremendously good sounding (full disclosure i have been a cj lover for decades, still also have a prem 16ls2 i swap in every now and then) - for me a perfect straddle of clarity and tube goodness

modwright tube linestages are also excellent, as are herrons (though i have never had one myself)

i agree w you, the slp98 is not a model of transparency compared to current top line tube pre’s, quite euphonic

i picked up a don sachs unit used but i have been having problems with it... popping noise when changing volume, very sensitive to placement/quite a bit of microphony... i can tell it sounds very very nice but mine has been rather problematic... bought it used to try, my bad... :(
Don Sachs here.  To be fair, I have sent the person above a whole new power supply board for the Khozmo attenuator.  If that doesn't solve the popping we will source a new khozmo board because there may be a bad relay.  I have probably 100 khozmo attenuators in the world and only have seen one or two with popping issues.   I am taking care of him even though it is a used preamp.  As for placement, the preamp couldn't care less.  It is probably microphonic tubes.  The preamp is not microphonic.   
If the Sudebaker comment was directed at a preamp, it was made with NO knowledge of the situation.  Guy contacts me that he has bought a used preamp of mine and it is clicking on some volume settings.  He is third owner.  People flip gear, it happens.   Shows me photo of inside and someone has soldered things in there, changing caps, etc..  So I am helping guy out for cost of postage for a part I have on hand.  If it doesn't solve it, I will help him further at little cost to him even though I never even made the sale.  I would say that is not a Studebaker.  I am here, helping a guy who bought a used preamp that was hacked up by someone else.   He is not orphaned.
let me chime in here on the don sachs unit i spoke of below... my comment was not meant to diminish don or his piece... it was just reporting my one data point, which is in the process of being worked through to what i foresee as a good outcome

don is correct on all counts in his posts, he has been a prince, responsive, and helpful to me - the unit had been messed with (not disclosed by the bad seller ’divertiti’ who is also here on a-gon, he represented the unit as stock and mint) and it wasn’t working right when i got it - like i said, i bought it used, once in a long while, you get burned by a sleaze-bag seller.... my bad in this case ...

i picked up this unit largely based on the love that owners of don’s units show in this forum and others, commenting on the quality and sound

don and I have exchanged messages, pictures and phone calls, he has indeed sent me the new PS board for the volume control, should be here soon, look forward to getting it up and running as it should be.

as for the 'studebaker' comment, i would say that is ignorant and demeaning for no good reason... great hifi electronics often sound good because of their simplicity, build quality of materials and workmanship... is don’s piece over-engineered and fort knoxed like an Audio Research or Luxman? of course not... his efforts are to extract the best sound from a proven circuit and design, focusing money and effort where they serve music first and foremost - a lot of respect for don’s approach
as for the 'studebaker' comment, i would say that is ignorant and demeaning for no good reason

Sometimes when I see a comment like that, I go look at other comments to see if there's a pattern. Can be quite revealing.
@donsachs - I must say I applaud your efforts here and what you're doing for this client who's received a 3rd party piece. I have often extended that same courtesy, simply for the cost of parts. I love hearing about excellent service! Best regards, Aric
I did not realize my Studebaker comment would ruffle such feathers. Studebaker was an automobile company which offered a model named Avanti. After looking it up just now, the model was marketed by them 1962 - 1963. (a Canadian co. took over that model for a couple more years) I was off by two years. I only intended an inside acknowledgment to the OP. My Dad had a 1956 Commander, which he taught me to drive in 1965 at the age of seven. (3 on the tree) just a little nostalgia, guys. Sheeze...
Studebaker made some excellent cars which are real eye candy, and they have quite a following in the vintage car world. The Avanti is superlative and the Hawk are some pretty classy rides- I'd love to get my hands on one of either!!  The Avanti was the fastest production car made in its day.

Its impossible for me to see how that one word comment could be construed as some sort of insult.
if no slight was meant... then all’s good

clarity in what is posted benefits all
Disclaimer: I am a Sachs preamp owner.

Don was great during the whole process, from building the preamp to delivering the preamp. He always answers emails promptly and offers advice. I happen to love the sound of the Model 2, but I understand it may not please everyone. But I can't imagine Don ever being anything other than helpful to any owner of his equipment.

jjss, yes, posting or texting is not the best for conveying correctly meant thoughts. Tho all is very good here, AND I do have some great laughs as well.