Price: $58,000 as configured ($30,000 base price).
Jeff said: It can work wonders, and it won’t be outclassed by any other single component in the equation. The Behold APU768 is the most advanced piece of high-end electronics I’ve ever used.
The gist: The future of ultra-high-end preamps?
Vade said: The Belles VT-01 sounds spectacular, looks gorgeous, is easy to operate, and, considering its performance, is reasonably priced.
The gist: Dave Belles hitting his stride.
He said: Perhaps the highest compliment I can pay the Lamm LL2.1 Deluxe is to say that, after I came to know it, I didn’t want to review it -- I just wanted to hear music through it. By the end of my listening sessions, the audiophile words tended to fall away.
The gist: Vladimir Lamm improves on a classic.
Price: $19,950 with internal phono stage, $16,950 for line stage only
Marc said: Given its many and varied strengths, the CAT SL1 Legend is the finest preamp I’ve had in my system. If it takes years of tinkering to produce a preamp like this one, so be it. Greatness, as they say, can’t be rushed.
The gist: The CAT’s out of the bag: this could be the best.
Roger said: The SEs cost significantly more than the earlier Trends products I’ve heard and admired, and with higher cost come higher expectations of sound quality -- in that regard, these models delivered.
The gist: Tubes on the cheap.