The only preamp I'd go to after the MF is the Ref 10 - which costs $30k. I've considered asking Jonathan to put silver trannies in my MF, but he's pretty against making them that way anymore. Bespoke will do so, but costs $$$$ and I find the rest of package more audio jewelry than sonics.
But hey, drive down to Hastings and check out MF for yourself
That's a bit of a loaded statement, Keith. No problem supporting British, my tt, arm, analog psu.s, cables, balanced transformer, spkrs isolation footers, and supertweeters, are all British. And at the rate the £ is veering against the $ and €, soon British is all I'll be able to afford.
I've heard Music First as well as Townshend Allegri passives, and found them wanting dynamically.
And when Emia TOTL is way less expensive than MF TOTL, and Emia comes highly rated, I don't need to justify considering them, esp w my poor MF experience.
What is gain of the NAT Utopia? The gain matters just as much as number of steps in an attenuator. Also how many Volts are required for full output power on the amps. An active with less gain (you might even just go for an active buffer with gain of 1) will lower noise and allow you to use the full range of your volume control.