I have not heard any of the above pre amps, but Im using the BAT VK 51se and to my ears it sounds great. Fully balance and it comes with a remote. You can get this one use around the price that you are looking.
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I've heard the BAT, the Aesthetix, the Blue Circle mentioned above, and I'll add another one - VTL 5.5. They are fine preamps. However, I've chosen to own the Audio Horizons TP 2.0, a balanced tube preamp. Audio Horizons has a home trial program. The fully loaded version (I own this one) costs less than $3.5K. I think it outperforms the other preamps mentioned above, but you can test that assertion in your own system.
A CAT SL-1 is not balanced and has no remote, but, in my opinion, absolutely blows away the BAT 51SE sonically. The CAT Utimate has much better dynamics, extension and just a much better midrange. Anyway, that's my opinion. Other pres which don't fit your requirements, but which sound good are:
First Sound Presence Deluxe Mk II - stunning dynamics, low-level detail and transparence, terrific female vocals. No remote and not balanced.
Ayre K-1Xe - balanced and has remote, but not a tube pre.
Haven't heard the latest model, so I cannot really comment sonically. Earlier model was slightly to the cooler side of neutral, but had great timbre and separation of instruments. Earlier model was a little soft on dynamics, but I heard this has long since been "corrected".
I would check out some of the solid state, no remote and single-ended entrants before simply ruling them out. You might find, after listening, that these are indeed worth consideration. If the answer is still no, then sorry for interrupting.
Based on my wish list, the Calypso was a recommendation from a dealer that has my complete trust and respect.
Because their previous recommendations have been great matches for my needs of the time, I jumped in with both feet. Once again, they were spot-on. Therefore, I did not audition any other pre's in comparrison. This was in replacement of a Rowland Synergy IIi, moving into tubes.
My music listening time is very limited these days. Therefore, I am still using the stock tubes that were supplied by Aesthetix. When I get around to it, I will tinker with rolling some tubes.
I had similar requirements in terms of price and wanting a tube design, true balanced differential circuit and a remote. I bought the Calypso and havn't regretted it for a moment. I think the Calypso is an incredibly great unit. You may want to upgrade the stock tubes, however, which takes one pair 12ax7 and one pair 6dj8/6922. Good luck.