Blue Circle Audio BC109Price: $4275

Website: www.bluecircle.com

Michael said: Its construction is attractive and solid, and it performed flawlessly during the time it was in my system. It worked well with tubed and solid-state amplifiers, and was not cable dependent. Likewise, the BC109 performed consistently well with all recordings. Compared to other preamps in its price range, the BC109 is a solid performer.

Read the Ultra Audio review.

The gist: More madness from the mind of Gilbert Yeung.

SMc Audio VRE-1CPrice: $16,950

Website: www.smcaudio.com

Ryan said: Anyone considering spending $16,950 on a line stage can be certain that the SMc Audio VRE-1C Reference is among the quietest, most resolving preamplifiers on the market, able to achieve those qualities without committing sins in tonality. The VRE-1C never failed to provide me with an enjoyable listening session.

Read the Ultra Audio review.

The gist: Ultra-expensive magnum opus from Steve McCormack.

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