I would look for a used Aesthetix Calypso, which usually goes for a little over $2K. I have enjoyed mine immensely...it has a big, addictive, enveloping sound associated with tubes but also has great frequency extension. Very reliable and quiet to boot. When they are listed on Audiogon, they sell fast, which says a lot about the preamp. I wouldn't buy a Prima Luna or Mystere new, as you are likely to take a hit on resale once the upgrade bug strikes, especially since neither has a reputation as a giant killer. Another choice would be Manley, which also makes very reliable and quiet gear, although I prefer the Calypso to the Manley Shrimp (a preamp that also would be in your price range new.). Manley throws a wider soundstage than the Aesthetix, but the Aesthetix is better in all other respects in my experience.