Patience will definitely pay off. When I was searching for my endgame preamp,it seemed the $2500-$3500 price point was loaded with great gear.
I have a passive pre that I pop in occasionally. It’s an older Promtheus Audio TVC. I’ve used it with a few different amps,and I never felt the sound to be thin. Before I made that purchase,I bought a Schiit audio SYS. Within a very short period,I knew this would work for me,and began my search for the Promitheus. I’m currently running tube preamps in my systems. I really enjoy the tube flavor. However, I can’t see myself letting the passive go. Sometimes,I just like different.