Best preamp 2k or under, new or used

So, here's what I got...

Nht classic 4, McCormack dna1, McCormack rld1, jkdac32.

The speakers, amp, and dac, were items, that once placed in my system, I was 'done!'. I knew I found what I wanted out of each, and love all three.

Preamps, however, have been a problem. Here's what I've owned...

Parasound p3
Ps audio 7.0
Ps audio pca2
Rowland consonance
Wyred4sound stp-se
Classe cap151 (used a pre in the interim when preamps change)
McCormack rld1

The McCormack rld and classe 151 preamp sections come closest to the sound I want, which is less forceful, more effortless to my ears, fairly transparent, but both suffer from a slightly hard treble, and round under damped bass that has weight, but lacks extension. The wyred, parasound, and Pca2 sounded thin in my system. The Rowland I had high hopes for, and was probably the most disappointing, with a sound that sounded restricted on top and bottom. The ps audio 7.0, actually wasn't bad. Lacks transparency, but makes music. Problem is, with volume set to 2, it was too loud for late night listening.

So, here's the question. New or used, tube or solid state, does anyone know a good preamp in the 2k or under range that sounds open yet full, with smooth treble and good extended bass?

The only feature I want is remote control (I am not lazy, I just don't like to leave the spot I'm listening to music from).

Any suggestions supplied with some minimal input would be greatly appreciated.
Manley Jumbo Shrimp meets all parameters you've laid out including used price. Oh, and I run one now so I know. I'm running it with Manley Mahi Mahi monoblocks and Penaudio Cenya monitors.
Doge 8 Clarity with quality NOS tubes. My friend has one and it really sounds great. Has great phono section and remote too.
JRDG Capri
See if you can find an upgraded TLC-1, or buy one ($500+/-) and send it to Steve (SMc Audio) to do what he can for $1,500, and I suspect you will be happy. For tubes, Lamm LL2 Deluxe could be added to those mentioned above.
I have an almost brand-new CODA solid-state 05x preamplifier that would probably work for you. It has the full five year transferable warranty available. The unit features full function remote control capability. This solid-state preamp sounds exceptionally close to tubes. The technology gap between solid-state and tubes is rapidly closing. I can work with you on price if you think it might offer an effective solution for you. I bought it for my second system - my first system uses tubes. I'm currently consolidating equipment across platforms; the CODA needs a new home. Read the review from 6 Moons for more details. Write me if you're interested.
Sounds like the PS Audio would have worked except for the gain structure. Why not simply get some 10-15 db attenuators and have at it?

Modwright LS-100
Did not think of attenuators. Looked at the modwright. I'll check out the Manley this week, if a dealer has a used one or demo. Don't like using dealers to demo, only to go home and buy used elsewhere. But that Manley wasn't even on my radar. I'll do some homework on it. Thanks.

The Capri might work, but the cinsinance scared me off Rowland. I'll check with a local dealer on it.
Thatks wescoman. I'll do some homework, even if it means...gag...reading a 6 moon's review (not big on all their hyperbole). Sometimes, I miss writers like J. Gordon Holt.
EE Minimax pre with upgraded tubes does it for me with both tube and SS amps. I've owned a good number of tube and SS pre's, including Classe 50. I'm hooked on EE... for now (<;
Generally speaking, its a tough question you ask, but its good that you realize the problem is the preamp. Its probably the hardest component to get right. The only preamp I've owned that you have is the PCA-2. I wasn't impressed with it. It had a very polite sound but just didn't inspire in any way. I can't say for sure, but I'm pretty certain you would like a Conrad Johnson Premier 16 if you can find one. I had mine next to the PCA-2 and it just beat it in every aspect. Given your description, I think its exactly what you are looking for.

As far as tubes go, you need to be careful. You can easily get one that is not to your liking. The sound of tube preamps vary just like every other component. Again, given your description, I think you may like something from Sonic Frontiers or an entry level BAT (used).

One last option I would recommend you look at is a good passive line stage. How well a passive works can vary greatly so I think a demo would be mandatory.

If you don't have a way to demo anything, I would try to buy something used for a good price. If you end up not liking it, you should be able to sell it for close to what you paid. Its a good way to go if you don't have any other options.

There's a lot of great equipment out there other than what I list. I'm sure some of the other members will give you some solid recommendations, as well.
A good modded or clone PAS 3 sounds about as good as anything, I have two.
Seldom show up on here because guys keep them. LOTS of them around though.
When I owned a DNA-1, I first paired it with an Audible Illusions M3a and then a Manley Shrimp. Both sounded very good with the amp. If you need a phono stage, the AI has one while the Manley doesn't. However, Manley takes the prize when it comes to customer service and communication. The newer Jumbo Shrimp also comes with a remote control if that's important to you.
Unfortunately, as others have mentioned here, finding the right preamp is the hardest thing for most of us to do. That being said, a VAC Auricle preamp might be just what you are looking for, at way less then you'd expect to pay.
You know, CJ wasn't on my radar, either. Adding the CJ to my list of homework to do. Thanks for all the input guys!
Used TAD 150 signature or CJ priemier 14, both of which
I have and both are great
what about Pass Aleph P ? can it compare to the mentioned ones ?
Thor TA-1000 was the best money i have spent so far. May be worth a look.
I have an EE minimax too, it is good but my modded PAS 3 smokes it totally.
My preamp merry-go-round ended when I got the Musical Fidelity kW preamp. They show up here used for around $2k. Does all that you are looking for. Great bass, lovely treble. A hybrid design that lets tubes and transisters each do what they do best. Check out the Stereophile review for details and measurements.
Pass Labs X2.5
I will second the Manley Shrimp or Jumbo Shrimp. It's a great preamp, not the equal of my VAC but it has a few admirable virtues of its own.
Thanks for all the recommendations guys. Found a couple dealers that carry Manley and CJ, so I'm gonna start there.

I'll look into the EE minimax as well. Pass is trickier. Found a dealer, but no used, and I don't want to 'audition' their products, when I know I'd have to buy used here to afford it.
For Pass, check Reno Hi-Fi. They often have used or demo stock of much of the Pass line and their return policy is excellent. Mark at Reno is great to deal with.
Audio Research LS-10. Incredible black background. They are incredibly rare. Grab it if you ever see one. They normally go for around $2k used.
Prima Luna Dialogue 3 used
Look for a used BAT preamp....
"03-19-13: Aprica88
Look for a used BAT preamp...."

It would be hard to go wrong there; tube or solid state. Not only does BAT make some great sounding, the build quality is as good as anything out there.
I have a SimAudio Moon P-5 that I purchased for under $2,000 (a good deal!). It sounds great to me, but I haven't had a broad range of experience with pre-amps.

I'm curious what folks say about the Benchmark DAC-1 -- I know some people use it as a preamp. I'm considering whether it would be a good choice for a buddy of mine who doesn't have a lot of cash to sling around.

Is the DAC-1 authentically high-end? I've heard conflicting opinions.
The following preamp suggestions are all at used prices under $2,000:

CJ et-3

Manley Shrimp (as previously suggested)

Doge 8 (As previously suggested)

deHavilland Ultraverve

Audible Illusions Modulus 3

Mapletree - (both models)

Pass Aleph P

Good luck
OP- What did you end up with?
I would add a used Herron VTSP-1/166 which is about $1500. It changed my listening life.
Backgroundblur: Your JKDAC32 dac gives out 2.1v at less than 100ohms output impedance.
Your McCormack Power Drive DNA-1 power amplifier has 1.2v input sensitivity to make it give out it's full output of 150w into 8ohm, this combined with 100kohm it's input impedance makes it a really great match for a 10kohm passive preamp, which are 4 to 5 times cheaper than your budget and may even sound better.

Cheers George
Another vote for CJ.
Densen Audio B200+

Not only is it a good pre-amp that can be found for under 2k second hand ($2200 retail), but it looks like pure sex.
2nd the pass x2.5
Eastern Electric Avant. Under 1500.00. Sounds good stock but you can tube roll and get even better performance. It has full function remote and has balanced connections. Very nice sounding and one of the best values I have heard in audio.
I ended up with an eastern electric avant. REALLY digging the music coming out of this thing! I also bought an arcam a31 for nothing, and used it for a while. Both are really nice.
Backgroundblur, Yes, the Eastern Electric Avant is very good. I would encourage you to replace some tubes, you only have to do a few at first, maybe to a pair to match up with just input or better yet just one tube if you are using balanced inputs. EE should be able to help you with tube selection. Anyway, if you like the stock version of this preamp, tube rolling will improve it's performance even more.
OP -

if you want tubes - Conrad Johnson ET-3.

if you want solid state - McCormack.
There is one excellent Preamp that is constantly overlooked and that is the Onkyo P-3000R which lists for $1699.00. I recently had the pleasure to listen to this work of art with the M-5000R amp. Wow!!! The pristine crystal clarity is stunning. The echo/hall effect and 3-D imaging is first rate. Very smooth. Sounds like a tube Preamp. Comes with a built in DAC and phono stage and also a head phone jack. Under the hood you will find a toroidal and a block transformer. One is for power and the other for filtering. The Preamp has a very classy retro 80's look with a black satin front panel and knobs. The unit is heavy at just under 25 pounds. For its performance level and build quality, I doubt you will find any other Preamp on the market that will even come close at $2K or under. A steal...
Oops!..made a mistake. One transformer is for the analog stage and the other transformer is for the digital stage. The digital and analog signal travel completely separate paths from in to out..