Can't go wrong with the VTL 2.5, i have the 5.5 and love it.
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Yes the Denon should be replaced. I would match the input impedance of your power amp to the pre amp output impedance. Evidently a high input impedance is good for most tubed pres. If the Emotiva has a reasonbly high input impedance you are in luck.
I like my AE-3 by AES. Uncle Kevin at Upscale may still have some, but he has them all made to his order with fancy paint and other useless stuff that jacks up the price.
Solid State pre amps will likely be more easily found in the "lower budget" category. For SS how about the Emotiva?
Let us know how it goes with the Modwright. I actually just sold my XPA-2 recently because I moved into a small listening room and couldn't use the amp to its potential. It really needs turned up to sound its best. But I did consider buying a tube preamp for it, so I'm curious how the combo will sound.