Best imaging up to 3k used?

My speakers are warm, so I am looking for the faster, brighter type of sound.

Great imaging is my no1 goal. (3D , instrument separation)
PRAT no.2 (speed, dynamics, flow)

Redbook files only, DAC / streamer with analogue preamp preferred

@zuio - Sorry, I don't understand what you are asking. Are you asking for speaker recommendations, up to $3K, or are you asking for electronics up to $3K? What speakers do you have now, and what electronics?
I would recommend a ps audio jr,very neutral and has the qualities you desire in spades.

Sounds like he wants an analog volume control, plus possibly an analog in. That narrows it down further. Some of the benchmark models have analog in, but I'm not sure that they excel in imaging
Get an old pair of Alons or Nolas  they image like crazy and not too much either.
The OP is wanting a dac that has the best imaging up to the price of 3k.

He wants digital in that can handle aiff files with analog xlr out.

I don't think he is looking for speakers.
I have listened to Benchmark, Naim and Mytek. They should work well with a slightly warm and musical speaker.
Look at a used Mytek Manhattan.  Very clean, uncolored sound, has both digital and analog pre-amp.
Maybe a used Chord Hugo TT or Ayre Codex would work nicely for you.  I'm using the Codex and the imaging is very good and the music is very clear and detailed.   I heard the TT a few times and it's very detailed and clear.  
I like the idea of the battery powered and capacitor buffered Hugo TT. How is the Hugo TT in terms of dynamics ? I had the original Hugo for some time and found it lacking in dynamics and image density.

How is the Ayre Codex compared to the Hugo TT?

I have an eye on the SOTM SDP 1000 ex which has an analoge preamp and battery power too.
I would  go for a benchmark dac that will cost much less than that and save the extra money for something else.