McCormack Line stage amp , perfect
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I will chime in with an Audible Illusions L-1 or M3a. I used this very combination some years ago. A tube pre gives a little warmth to the presentation and takes a little of the high end edge off the McCormack. The McCormack pre's are also a good choice. I used a TLC for a while but the AI won out overall(as well it should being a more expensive product.)
I have experienced outstanding results when driving the McCormack DNA1 Dlx. with a Golden Tube SEP-2. It even comes with a remote, but is no longer manufactured although tech support for GTA products is still fairly readily available. Beautiful deep & wide stage with sparkling highs; even with economical cabling & a stock AC cord I was amazed. This is the only tube pre I've tried that isn't microphonic and doesn't exhibit that annoying tube-rush; I use horn speakers which reveal *everything* they're SO very sensitive. I've had my SEP-2 in storage for awhile, but sorry it's unavailable. I intend to reinstall that system & experiment with deluxe-level cabling (now that I have some) and try out some NOS tube rolling. The SEP-2 can be hard to find, but is well worth looking for & is even below your pricerange; I've seen them here for ~$650 without the phono board (if you don't play vinyl then you may not even want the phono option, which is somewhat harder to find).
I also run the McCormack TLC-1 Deluxe with my DNA-1 Deluxe; the SEP-2 was far preferrable with a much warmer full-bodied signature although I must say the TLC was indeed highly transparent, if a bit thin.
I run 2ce's (non-sig) w/ a dna .5 dlx. I've tried two pre's in my system--a conrad johnson pv10al and an audible illusions 2d--both can be had for under 500. The cj was lusher and more romantic, the ai is more dynamic and seems to have a greater frequency range. The ai also has a very nice phono stage (though you can find this feature on some pv10's as well). I stuck with the ai. In your price range, you could move up the line to a ai m3 or cj pv11 or pv12. Both companies' products hold their value very well (I used my pv10 for two years and sold it for exactly what I paid for it).
I have the 2Ce and ran them with a BAT VK-200 amplifier, an Aleph 3, a counterpoint SA-100 and an old Adcom. Preamp is a sonic frontiers line 2 (tube). Best results were using the Line 2 with the BAT VK-200, which seems similar to your situation. You can get a used line 1 for less than $1000, which still has many of the virtues of the Line 2. I'd recommend it based on my experience with the Line 2.