Still searching for balanced pre to m60's

First off should express gratitude to our community for offering so much invaluable information.
I started to search for more options for my m60's. I came across arc, cary and aesthetix.
Would appreciate some advice here.
I have read from some goners here that the calypso's are amazing. Then I read the same about arc ls17 and ls26's. Then I came across cary's slp 05 and slp 03.
I still would like to get atma sphere's preamp but the lack of remote is influencing my decision. The remote isn't nearly the key point as much as is the sound. I am most after the sound! That said, since I am on a budget(who isn't) which pre should be first on my short list.
Just to fill in the requirements list, I would like to add that the discription of the mbl 101 extremes in absolute sounds best pick pages is what I am looking for. They said to the effect: instruments or vocals are suspended in midair, sounding very life-like.
I am getting some of that with what I own already, just need to bring things up a notch probably.
If money was no object I would get the mp1, but it is out of range and will be willing to part with $3k.
The options are the atma sphere mp3, aesthetix calypso, arc ls17, cary slp 03. Any others I should look at?
Let's say: putting remote control and tube rolling aside(meaning I will put up with both the possibility of tube rolling or no tube rolling to get the most out of the preamp), what would be the best sounding pre within $3k? With the possibility of future upgrades to take it over the top with caps and tubes.
The Calypso with the right tube complement is a fine piece,more competent than the LS 17 which it replaced.I am now running an Audio Horizons which bested the Calypso in my system.And hey it has a remote.Check out the stereomojo web site for an in depth review.
I have asked this question a number of times, out of frustration of not making any purchase for financial reasons, I am hoping to learn of other options that I can afford.
Initially I decided on the atma-sphere mp1-III with a remote, but that piece is out of reach. Therefore I was hoping I can get some suggestions that I will keep for a long time.
I would like a tube preamp in the same league as the mp-1, dartzeel, zanden etc. but has balanced circuitry, has a remote and will work well with atma-sphere m60, and simaudio w-5. I also have a cj premier 4 amp.
My limit is $3k but would prefer to spend less.
One that I am close to considering is the cary sl-05, but am not sure if it will synergize well with the atma and sim.
I would like to make this a lasting purchase as I have with my other purchases.