best pre-amp for less than 1000

I have gone Vinyl and now realize what everyone has been saying. Sure analog is more labor intensive but the rewards are also greater. For lack of a better term, analog has "soul", something that even the most ridiculously expensive digital play back systems lacks! Anyways, I have a Rega Plana 25 with RB600 arm and ClearAudio Aurum Beta "S" cartridge (what a combo for the price!). I am using a Bel Canto Evo 200.2 amp and frankly have been disappointed with the amp. Why?, no soul! Anyways, I am using the phono section of a Pioneer Elite reciever (yes you heard me right) I tried the EAR 834, but ouccchhhh, it was horrible sounding. I don't know if it was the particular unit I had but the sound was dead, congested and mostly very dark and VEILED! The Pioneer sounds better. But, I am thinking I can get more from the records if I had a better Phono Stage. So help me out guys. Here is what I am looking for: A detailed, open, airy, large soundstage, transparent and most of all MUSICALLY ENGAGING phono stage (stand-alone phono stage or part of a preamp) that costs less than 1K!!! Yes, you heard it right, less than 1K (I would definately consider used gear). Thank you in advance for your suggestions.
I noticed your question and offer you to consider a Muse Model One preamp that I'm selling. It has a wonderful MC phono stage (I don't know if your cartridge is low output MC).It's an excellent preamp. I don't want to give a sales pitch, but you might do a little research on this preamp. I listed it in the solid state preamp ads. Thanks.
Sounds like you're a lehman black cube guy. Check out some of the past threads by searching in the chat rooms. Lots of detailed opinions. Black cubes sell new for 700, and used for 4-500ish. They have excellent, detailed sound & also don't need their own shelf. I've heard that rotel makes a pretty good one for 200. The Mccormack phono is supposed to be good too, but I've never heard it. Check out the music fidelity a3 preamp at Stereophile liked these quite a bit. AA has some other low-cost preamps too. I'm using an Audio research ph-3 with my rega 25 and getting great results. Those are phono only and sell used for 900ish.
Hey Kasboot,
If you've ever heard a Spectral DMC-10, you'd be pleasantly surprised. When it first came out in the mid-eighties, it was considered to be one of the best engineered, best built, and best sounding preamps available. Describing it as a classic might be an understatement. The nice thing about it was that there was an optional phono board that was available that had flexibility in both output and impedence loading, so you could get a good match with a variety of cartridges. It also had a separate power supply that made the preamp dead quiet. I bought mine brand new and used it up until about six months ago when I replaced it with a Spectral DMC-20 II. Only once in all those years did it need any repair and that was something quite simple and inexpensive. I've thought about selling it , but honestly, it's hard to find a really good piece of equipment for under $1000.00 that will do all you want it to do. If you get a chance, try one, I think you'll find out what I'm talking about. Good luck!!
You might also consider an Audible Illusions Modulus 3 for well under a grand. One of the best phono sections you will find in your price range. You only have to change 2 tubes in the phono (to NOS Siemens or Mullards) to go way, way beyond the price point in terms of performance. This is a "must listen".
Thank you for your input. I will definately check out your suggestions