Adding a preamp to a HT...

I have a Marantz AV8801 (which is not bad sounding by any means), but I'm thinking a dedicated preamp might be even better. I need to connect a balanced DAC and a single ended phono preamp to it and it needs to have HT bypass (would prefer XLR, but I can use RCA if needed). Any recommendations what would fit the bill? Would like to keep it under $2k used.

The other option would be to get a DAC such as the Bel Canto 2.7 and connect the CD transport (a CEC TL-1X) directly to that, connect the phono preamp to the AV8801 and use the RCA input as a HT bypass.

Surrounding equipment:
Mark Levinson ML334 (being replaced with Bel Canto mono blocks due to size), Anthem P7 for center, wide and surrounds. Thiel CS2.4 front, Thiel MCS center & wides, Thiel PowerPoint and PowerPlane for surrounds.