How about a modded Squeezebox II directly into the Dodson (nice DAC BTW). No need for a preamp unless you have something else to plug in.
Pardales, if you look at my system I run Pass LabsX-350.5 with Threshold SA-1 monoblocks to bi-amp MG20r's. So, I'm a big fun of Nelson Pass's designs. I would suggest you audition either a Placette passive line stage at $1500.00 or the reference dual mono active linestage at $4500.00. They both sound great with Pass gear and Guy Hammel, the owner and designer, is a gentleman and a pleasure to deal with. Both linestages are outstanding and great bargains at there price breaks. I auditioned over seven pre-amps, both tube/solid state, and thought the Placette active was the best for my ear's. It replaced a reference ML-32 in my system that cost almost $10000.00 more! I did not change for $ reasons, but because the Placette sonicly out performed the ML-32, along with the other pre-amps I auditioned. You order directly from Guy and get a 30 day audition time period, with full return minus shipping if you don't keep the piece. Since, there's no middleman, the prices of his pre-amps are true bargains, all the money goes into design and quality parts.
I had the X-250 with an Audio Logic DAC. I tried a ton of other DAC and preamp combinations including the X-1 preamp. The X-1 is one of the best SS preamps on the market. That being said, the X-1 does not sound like a tube preamp. The tube preamps I tried had a different presentation in the mid range, but some lost the dynamics, bass slam and extention of the X-1. AS always, presonal preference and sonic trade offs. I will say that the Tom Evans Vibe was a excellent sounding preamp with the X-250 as was the Sonic Euphoria passive preamp. Could have lived with either one for a long time. There was VIbe selling on Agon a few days back for dirt cheap, it is that good (not mine).
Hope this was helpful, email me with any questions.
Awesome suggestions, THANK YOU! Please keep them coming. Part of me thinks that I am really after is a high quality volume control with one, maybe two inputs. I do not need phono or tape, or any of the other functions of a full- function preamp. The VIBE sounds like it might be the ticket. Any experience with other volume controls like the Django?
Played a hunch and went with the new Modwright SWL 9.0SE. It is burning in as I speak. Thus far, I am blown away.
I could not go for the Placette as I like to have a volume knob to turn; also, the look and how I interact with the equipment does matter to me (wish it didn't some time, but alas).
Thanks for your suggestions.