Help me buy a magical pre-amp that doesn't exist

I'm looking for a pre-amp, to go along with my new Behringer A500, with quite specific requirements. So far, it seems that this magical pre-amp does not exist, mostly due to the first requirement

-Costs in line with the Behringer. I will be selling a Rotel RA-02 Integrated amp so I'll have a budget of about $300-500, give or take as I'm willing to throw in some other money too if needed, to work with.

-Good sound, obviously. Neutral, no hiss.

-Solid state. I tend to leave my amps on 24/7 so tubes are frowned upon for this reason.

-Remote control. My laziness demands it.

-Balanced outputs/(at least one) input. I would prefer to run completely balanced, since I'm going into a pro crossover to separate my speakers and bass bins, then to the A500.

-Reasonable cosmetics. I hate the 80ies look. This puts Linn gear I've seen in a bad light that fits pretty much every other requirement.

-MC phono stage! Ooh, I bet you guys all hate me now. There go 99% of the candidates.

-A 12v trigger would be nice too, but it's not a make-or-break feature.

So far, through research and recommendations I've come up with the following, in order of price:

Classe Thirty
Linn LK-1
NAD 116
Classe Five

Anybody know of others? Any thoughts between these four?

The NAD fits every requirement but might not sound as nice as the others. It's also a lot harder to find! Some suggestions or comments would be so greatly appreciated!

I have a friend back home who has a Classe preamplifier running a Golden Tube SE40. Very nice sound! However, for your price range - please visit and look at the Grounded Grid preamplifier! Lots of great press! In fact, if you type in "Transcendent Sound Grounded Grid Preamplifier" into Google - it will bring up those reviews and comments!

Hope this helps

Studio 1
I'd get a tube preamp if I were you.
Turn the preamp off when not listening,and back on 1/2-1 hour before you listen.

The Dared SL-2000a 2005 or 2006 models are in your price range used.
If you want new you'll have to get a 2007 model which is no different from the 2006 model.They all come with a volume remote.
The 2006 + 2007 with a nice wood remote,the 2005 is plastic.
My 2005 model (with good tubes) beat out my old $1500 retail,sterophile class B preamp and my buds $3500 retail class B preamp.
I think you need to lower your expectations or raise your budget, for the record I have a tube pre and it is on 24/7 with over a year on it with no tube changes. Like I assume you know the MC is probably the deal breaker, most in that budget will be MM only....and probably not very good.
Go with the Classe five I am using the Classe DR-5 no remote and I am very pleased with its built,performance,and most of all how reliable it is.
I see a lot of tube gear and nothing remotely answering my question, though I appreciate the responses.

I realize it's a tall order, but I even listed four pre-amps myself that are close to the mark, so it's not a dream. Does anybody have any comments on the preamps I listed? Any other suggestions besides tube gear?

You've probably reaqlised fm other comments that none of the active pre's at the price range will do much to improve the system (the opposite).

I suggest you consider a stand-alone phono with motorised volume control and some switching option. Some people offer kits -- and assembled kits (as usual Hagerman comes to mind). You may be able to hit the $ mark with that. The phono will be better and the rest... just play passive.
rowland consonance with mc/mm phono (very good sounding/very quiet even with my vpi aries/benz M-0.9)- $900-$1500 used, depending on condition, etc. silver or black.
no balanced inputs, but has balanced out's. superb sound,
superb remote, built like a tank. i like the way it looks.
the button labels are a little mysterious without a manual.
this once was rated class-A in stereophile. for $300 you can get...?
You got it doesn't exist if you can deal with this concept maybr A Grahm Slee Phono stage stand alone are said to terrific bargains - they are called Grahm Slee Engineering if you have trouble finding them. I am thinking I will get one. Look them up I rarely see used ones but they are very reasonable if you can keep youself under control. The next issue is simply using a switching box see Eva Manley's site and the volume attenuators the best are now back in production, or you could buy my pre An ARC SP6B legendary phono stage modded and not used by previous owner dfgrom 1985 No it doesnt look 80s at all until 2003 but tubes it uses 12AX7s the ese tubes are now muchg better in modern production the 9TH and only the (9th edition of the Sino o Shuguang are the same tube can be bought for$3 . shoot me an email.
Please stop pushing your own products that in no way fit what I asked for help finding, nor recommending pre-amps not even remotely in my price range!

I'm using a mid-fi integrated amp as a pre-amp, so it won't take much to see an improvement.

For $300-500, I've listed four amps I've had recommended to me on other sites that fit most, if not all, of the requirements; So again this is not a unreasonable question. Just one with uncommon answers.

I would appreciate anything I could add to the list, or opinions on the preamps listed. Thanks!
I guess the title of your thread is your answer.
What you want doesnt exist.
People are trying to help you,maybe you should chill.
You might consider the B&K PT5. It covers all your requirements except the MC input. It's available used for $300-$400.
Nayr2 you are new here so maybe you dont understand how ideas and opinions work but you come off as hostile. If you dont like the help people are trying to give then dont come back. If you are tired of getting ideas that cost more maybe you are asking for more then chicken scratch can buy you.
I don't mean to be hostile, and apologies for the impression. Internet. There is some frustration however, as I said, with people ignoring the question to sell their own products, or telling me it's impossible even though I mentioned 4 suggestions I received from other forums.

The B&K looks pretty good, if I can find one at that price. Combine with a MC phono stage and I've got what, thanks for the suggestion!

I'm getting more and more tempted by a Classe 30 for sale locally. Any comments on it?
Who is selling his/er own product???

All that people here are (politely IMO) indicating is, the products you mention respectable tough they may be, will make yr sound worse.

So, some people racked their brains to suggest other, less detrimental product, that you may find slightly over budget -- or used within budget.

For that matter, and given yr budget, why are you so intent on purchasing an active pre-amplification stage??

All you need (by your own description) is a phono equaliser, a motorised volume pot & some switching capability -- and xlr connections. Really. Cheers
+++ Please stop pushing your own products that in no way fit what I asked for help finding +++

LOL, it is amazing everybody thinks the stuff they own is the best. Their stuff is most certainly not the best as the stuff I have happens to be the best! ;-)

I had a Classe 5 pre with phono stage some time ago and it wasn’t very quiet. It seemed to favor amps with high input sensitivity. No experience with the Linn or Nad.

BTW, I leave my tube phono on 24x7. So what the tubes wear – spend $30-$40 bucks every two years or so. No biggie.

"Please stop pushing your own products"

I wonder how much useful advice you think you are going to get unless folks actually own or have extensive experience in what they suggest?
It would appear only one person has experience with just one of the preamps on your list.

You might expand your inquiry to or

Or, you might consider some of the alternatives mentioned.

Good luck!
Please provide your mailing address. I will send the required magic beans, via magic carpet, for such a purchase.
The "pushing your own products" comment was mostly due to the half dozen dealer emails I have received privately.

Thanks to everybody that provided an on-topic answer! It honestly is very appreciated! I ended up finding a pre-amp that suited every requirement I asked for, for about $350.

The magic beans were in my shorts, glad I found them. You can come rub them for luck, next time you're looking to buy something.
I am not rubbibg anything in your shorts :)
Thanks, but I've got my own. Congratulations on your find! Perhaps you can share with us what you've decided on?

I'm getting a Classe 30 locally; Gonna go pick it up in a day or two. Has balanced ins and outs, MC phono stage, a remote, and it looks pretty classy. Pun intended. I'm even assured it has a 12v trigger, though I can't find confirmation on this anywhere else.

The NAD 116 I was recommended also fits every request, but seems impossible to find!
Good find, good value. Getting it locally, even better. I hope you get much enjoyment from it.