sunfire classic vacuum tube preamp

  I have been looking for a tube preamp for some time now.  I would like a pre that has balanced outputs and I am looking for a warmer sound.  I noticed that there are a couple sunfire classic preamps for sale on audiogon and it looks like this could be a good choice for me.  Can anyone with experience in this preamp let me know what the sound is like and if this is a good preamp,  thanks
Well I heard this preamp once and it was years ago in a retail store and at the time I thought it sounded nice, good holographic imaging seemed transparent but with totally unfamiliar equipment. However I thought and checked online and this preamp retails for $1500 but both units I see for sale here are around $2500? Perhaps I'm missing something but they don't seem like very good deals. Lots of good used  tubed preamps in the $2500 price range though few of the tubed units I see for sale now have balanced outputs.
  thanks for the response jond,  I do agree the price seems a little high.  One of the ads is combined with a sunfire amp and he is willing to sell just the pre for less.  I think if I didn't need the balanced output I would look into something like Conrad Johnson.  I also asked about a musica bella preamp but got no feedback regarding that pre.
it's rare full function preamp of a good quality. i remember several years ago you could purchase it half-way down used. now new ones twice as much worth they were new.
i guess it tells something about quality and performance.
hello kedoades, if you are still interested in obtaining more information on the Musica Bella preamps, please feel free to contact me through our site ResponseAudioNY
The price may have to do with options. The phono stage was a very rare option and few were made with it. The other only option was a remote. So, if you see one with both a phono and remote then $2,500 is about what they are going for. 

One without out those options should be about a grand or so cheaper.
I bought one when they first came out, without the phono stage and at that time the remote wasn't even an option.

I still have it, matter of fact Joseph Chow of Audio Horizons fame is in the process of completely rebuilding it and modifying it to make it the ultimate Sunfire pre! Cutf V caps, Elma 47 step attenuator, tube regulated power supply etc...

I've loved mine for many years and they are well built and work. Nothing real hard or impossible to fix or repair. I think it was one of the all time sleepers in audio.

9 years ago I could get one with phono and remote $800 barely used.
Carver has his own repair shop if needed.
Actually he closed it and gave all the equipment to Bill Flannery, a former tech at Sunfire. From his site "As they say, all good things must come to an end eventually. In August of 2011, after several years of successful business, Rita's Vintage Audio was closed.

This was one of the saddest days of my life, but as it turns out, there was a silver lining to this cloud. Bob was willing to GIVE me all the equipment I needed to start my own shop!!! His only request was that I continue to provide quality service to all those loyal customers who needed to have their vintage Sunfire equipment repaired. I heartily agreed and the rest is history. I am now the proud owner of Flannery's Vintage Audio. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you need help."

More information here:

The shop you're referring to isn't owned by Carver and has nothing to do with any of the affiliation. They sound more like scammers. 

That shop you mentioned is owned or operated by a guy named Roland. They are the service center Bob Carver recommends for original Carver Corp. equipment.

I’m not sure why you’d say they are scammers. They have a good reputation for repair and modding the 1.5’s..
  I ended up buying a musica bella lusso dual mono preamp that uses 6922 tubes from Bill at response audio.  Can't wait to hear it and I will let you guys know how it sounds when I get it if you are interested, thanks Bill
Yes, please let us know your take on its sound quality.