After years of running my AKG C414 direct into a board in my home studio, I have decided that I need to step up and buy a tube mic preamp. Problem is, I have absolutely no idea where to start. There are a lot on the market and I don't have enough time to read recording magazine reviews every month, so I'm hoping for some guidance. My major requirement is that it must be $500 or under. Yes, I would love to get an Avalon or whatever, but unless someone wants to front me the $2,000 I can't afford it. Also, if you have used a particular mic pre in conjunction with a C414 and loved the sound, please let me know. I use this mic for all my vocals and acoustic guitars. Thanks everyone.