What preamp should i buy

I have had my heart set on the Sunfire tube control preamp for a long time now,But it seems impossible to find and consumers have driven the price up to the point that it is beyond what it cost new over twenty years ago. The stories of the warmth and sound stage really impress me. Now i am considering the McIntosh tube preamp C2300 which is about $5000.I do not want to spend that kind of money and be stuck with a preamp that does not sound as good as the Sunfire. Help!!!!
I have not read many articles that compare the sound of the Sunfire tube control preamp that says there is a tube preamp in that price range that sounds just as nice. When i do the independent research on a preamp that is supposed to be just as good there are always a ton of negatives....Please help, i have presently saved up $4000 dollars and want to get something with a warm sound and big sound stage. I currently have a refurbished Sunfire 300x2, benchmark usb1, Klipsh Cornwall 3's. Using a $500 dollar Chinese tube preamp which sounds nice but i would like to upgrade.
4786df3c 96a1 48fb b97e 1a4d578c1e63mrjazz1959
An Audio Research LS26 would be in your price range. For a
little more money you could get a Audio Research Ref3.
Either of these are excellent preamps.

There are a lot of options in your price range, so I'm sure
others will chime in.
You could try placing a "Wanted" ad in the Audiogon classifieds. There's a lot of traffic on the website every day. Somebody might have upgraded by now and has one collecting dust.
Mr. Jazz I am using what i consider to be a great deal in the under 5 to 6K range, the Dehavilland Ultra Verve III. I have used it for around 3 years now, no itch to upgrade or feelings that I am missing something.

It fits 2 out of 3 of your criteria, under 5K, big soundstage, but it is not necessarily warm sounding. It uses a single 6SN7 tube and 2 cathode followers with a minimalist signal path. Lots of NOS tube options to tune, I am using a sylvania and love it!

Just my 2 cents, don't want to be a guy just recommending my stuff, I have owned and listened to lots of tube preamps, so it is merely my experience I am sharing...Will I upgrade - yes eventually but it will be way more expensive...
Thanks for the great advise
A VAS Citation I. This is a knock off of the orginal HK pre amp, updated to state of the art components. It is a vinyl lovers delight. Check it out at cayinusa.com. I have one, great sound, great value.
I have an Audio Research LS27 I think that you will be happy with how it sound good lock tango.
At some point I also considered a MC2300. It's a great preamp, but you need to ask yourself what exactly you are looking for? At any given pricepoint, manufacturers need to make tradeoffs as to how to spend their budget. The MC2300, and generally all McIntosh preamps, are strong on ergonomics and sound good. But ergonomics (remote control, programmable name for inputs, input level matching, phono amp, and other belss and whistles) do have a cost, so those preamps are not 100% focused on sound.

I opted for a Lamm LL2. Low on ergonomics, very high on sound. Other very good contenders along these lines are First Sound Presence, AtmaSphere, to name some VERY good preamps.

FWIW, I couldn't be happier with my preamp. You can read reviews from Marc Mickelson who did a round of reviews like 10 years ago where he compared several preamps in the 5k pricepoint. I think they were for soundstage.
I think I stole the show recently with my purchase of a used Ayre K5XEmp-for $1,800! Hugh soundstage and can be warm with a 'warm' recording. (its not lean). It will hold me over until I can snag a KXR here.