You may have gathered from reading, that we're just as likely to recommend someone do without a pre amp as to cling onto one. Extra stages of amplification are doors between my ears and the music. Unless of course, they're meticulously designed and executed...if they give the additional gain needed to create ease of presentation, a larger stage, and perhaps some natural tone...then they are in fact a rarified beast.
Damon Coffman makes rarified beasts. He also makes a headphone amplifier that must be heard. I met Damon at the Newport Audio Show. I had the chance to listen to his headphone amp and his preamp. What resulted was a continuity in both sound and execution, that was voiced by someone who understands the sound of music. So, welcome to our first active preamp and one sweetie of a headphone amp. Boy are they beautiful. Here's Damon on Coffman Labs.