preamp choice: pass labs, PCA-2, or??

I have a PS Audio HCA-2 powering some Martin Logan Aeons, now i'm looking for a new preamp, budget around $2000-2500. I'm considering the PS Audio PCA-2 (I figure it'll be a nice no-brainer synergistic pair) or used Pass Labs x2.5. I'm thinking SS, not ready to jump into tubes yet. (though i've looked into the eeaudio minimax, manley shrimp, and supratek stuff.) and I'm pretty sure I need a remote for volume. I need about 4-5+ inputs. thoughts, other suggestions?

I have a Pass Labs X2.5. Excellent sonic performance via the XLR connections. I've not tried the single-ended. Though, I think the user interface is pretty crude.

Hi Quesuerte,

I have the exact combination (Pass Labs X2.5 and PS Audio HCA-2)you have been questioning about, which is now powering a pair of ML Aerius i's. For about $2,500 you can get a used X2.5 which will reap better sonic improvements over the PCA-2. The difference is not night and day but the X2.5 has a lower noise floor, quieter background, and so you simply hear more of the music. I agree with Stehno, the X2.5 is truly mercurial with XLR connections. You have to take advantage of the fully balanced design (both X2.5 and HCA-2 fall into this category). The PCA-2 is no slouch and is fantastic value with a performance that is actually very close to the X2.5. The synergy between the HCA-2 and the PCA-2 is very very good. I have heard this combination and really liked it. At that point though, I already have the X2.5 and did do some A/B comparisons. Either pre-amp will go very well with the HCA-2, especially via Martin Logans.

Happy Listening,

Jason Liu