I’m interested in testing out the “tube” sound in my current system but I don’t want to spend big bucks to try it. It seems like the consensus is that a tube preamp makes a bigger difference overall than a tube power amp. I have a NAD 326BEE, which offers a preamp out. I’m interested in trying tube-based amplification to see what (if any) differences there are compared to solid state. I have a limited budget so I don’t want to spend big bucks. I’m wondering what low-priced (under $1000) options exist for me to try a tube -based preamp to pair with the NAD. I know the Schiit Freya is an option but what else is out there that might be worth trying. I will be driving a pair of Tekton Enzo XL’s. My plan is that if I don’t like (or can’t hear) a difference I could sell the preamp on Audiogon/US Audio Mart and not be out a bunch of $$. I’m perfectly fine with buying used.
There are a variety of tube “flavours” so it will also depend on what you expect from your rig. SET vary within the breed and are different from the higher power types.
For your price expectation i like Almarro, which should come in that range used. There will be others, so scout publications you trust for suitabel reviews.