In my opinion the MFA Magus preamp, Audible Illusions early Modulus series, and Counterpoint SA-3000, would be your best bet for sonics in your price range. These may require replacing the capacitors for best performance, since they are all older models from the late 80's or early 90's. All of them are tube units, with no remote, but will provide excellent sound quality for that money. Replacing the capacitors is easy if you can solder, and there is alot of info on rolling the tubes with these preamps. I have a MFA Magus with the caps replaced with REL caps, and Wonder Caps, Cardas Jacks, Cardas wiring, and Amperex NOS tubes. It is a serious preamp. I gave $700 for it used, and freshly modded by the seller, who was a dealer, with a 1 year warranty. And he also gave me a guaranteed trade-in value of what I paid him for it towards anything higher in his line. Bob Bergner at RB Audio was the dealer.
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