I know that everyone on this site writes about how the thing that they are selling is the absolute best thing on the planet and if it weren't for reason "XYZ" they would keep it forever. I guess you can now count me among that throng.
I am the second owner of this preamp. I bought it about 8 years ago and it has never once had a single issue (although I don't listen to much music - maybe only about 20 hours a month). I retubed the unit about two years ago. It had been on its original tubes until then so I'm presuming the previous guy didn't listen to it all that much either.
Honestly, I don't have much more to say other than it's, quite simply, a really good and reliable preamplifier. I'm not going to say it's the very best one in the universe and people would be foolish to pass it up. A few years back I had a chance to buy an ARC Reference 1 for a screaming deal and while I definitely appreciated the convenience of both the balanced and single ended inputs, I actually preferred the sound of mine (run in full balanced of course) which is weird because I was told that the Reference 1 is actually the identical preamp just with the added flexibility. A buddy of mine bought an LS5 Mk. III around the same time as I bought mine so I've had extensive comparisons over the years. Both are good. His has slightly better bass - mine is a touch warmer.
This unit is in great condition. I myself couldn't find a single scratch on it but I like to be conservative on the off chance that there are folks out there with better and more scrutinizing eyes than mine.
So there you have it. A great (dare I say classic??) preamp with a relatively new set of tubes (certainly less than 250 hours). Were it not for the fact that I now need a preamp with some single ended inputs, I'd certainly be keeping it. It's been one of those units where, for the most part, I turned off the upgrade bug and just listened to music. That could be the best compliment that I could bestow.