By Tim Dolbear c2012
I have more channels of Pre-amps they I can use, but having 1 great Tube pre-amp (Manley) and 1 great Solid-state Pre (1979era Altec) has served me well. Really great Solid-state preamps sound as good but different as high end tube. I never knew solid-state could sound equally as good til I got the Altec, I guess I bought in to the hype around 'tube'. But for 10+ years these 2 have been my goto pres.
Try this if you are new to audio production: place a mic on a good sound source, then move it between all your preamps, try everything, cheap, expensive tube, solid-state, every combo, you will notice that the same mic will sound and react completely different thru a different pre-amp.