I choose, at last!
A new passive line-preamp entered my system, folks...
Luxman AT-3000 took the place of Thomas Mayer's 801A Line Stage, lately "only" used as a buffer to Mayer's Passive crossover... shame to me!
Due to the below-par use, I someway felt slightly unconfortable with using built-in Slagle's AVC full open, resulting in some (light) random microphony during warm-up and some (light) noise on one channel... but, hey... I was badly or so using it: who... WHO uses a preamp with volume at VERY maximum?
This way - I told myself - I freed Thomas' Line Stage for more proper use/gain settings.
Back to the AT-3000... it's a truly awesome piece of gear: deadly silent with a smoothness, resolution and overall beauty and rightness which I only experienced at Serge Schmidlin's studio.
Dynamics is impressive, perfectly balanced, correct... ambience retrieval is among the VERY best I ever tasted, going much further vs. my previous layout.
Everyone has his opinion about passive preamps... my own - very limited experience - was... aehm:-)... limited to a quite boring and unsatisfying exposure to a Shindo Arome, years ago.
Sure a transformers-based preamp is a completely different, far superior beast... and this very preamp TRULY is among the VERY best ever.
Was considering... when NOT using phono with WE 437A, my system is currently NOT based on tubes, at all... many irons, silver wire, but no tubes, anymore... at least if not using the above mentioned LCR phono-stage:-)
Who cares! Music first...
Enjoyed the adding immensely: The Grateful Dead's "Nobody's Fault but Mine" from Dick's Picks Vol. 1 NEVER played this good.. I mean it's not a signorina kind-of-sound, but natural, very beefy and full, yet sublimely detailed!
As a plus, the classy "Direct" input option, by-passing the Input selector, straight to irons, helps.
Welcome to Luxman AT-3000 Ultimate!
... and many thanks to Paolo.