Tweak1, the PS Audio gain cell stuff is going to be above the stated budget. All the ones Pmboyd lists can be had for $1k or less these days. However, the previous generation PS Audio PCA preamp can be had for around $800 and I'd seriously consider that one. The PCA has a lot of flexibilty and is a very good preamp for the price. PmBoyd, you can't expect a useful response to a question like "what's the best." It's "what's the best for me in the context of my system and preferences," and that's a hard question to answer with out more info than you give us. How well a given preamp works with the rest of your components, synergy, is what you seek. At used prices, Wright Sound, Eastern Electric, Usher, Aloia, Cary, Electrocompaniet, Music Reference, and many more make preamps competitive with or exceeding the quality of those you've listed.