Musical Fidelity offers a brilliant value. You could simply pick the nicest unit from MF that fits your budget. Not sure what your budget is but the M6 is...spectacular.
if your budget is lower, Vincent makes a couple units in the $300-$500 range that are amazing.
Full disclosure, I am an MF dealer. I have no relationship with Vincent, just a happy former owner before I upgraded.
There is a PS audio GCPH phono stage here on Audiogon for $450. I have the parts conextion modded GCPH version in a second system. I think it is a great bang for buck phono pre. Plenty of gain not thin sounding at all, nice detail, big bass. It has a phase switch, mono switch, volume control all from front panel and a remote. It can also be used plugged directly into an amp, no Preamp needed.
Look at a Schitt (sorry) Mani phono box. Highly rated (for the money) and only cost $150.00. Use this as your starting point.
In addition to the phono stages others have suggested, I've measured the Pro-Ject and Rega phono stages and they work very well.
+1, for the PS Audio GCPH. I liked being able to remotely MUTE the output, when cleaning & dropping the stylus. Also, just before my Safety Raiser did it’s thing, at the end of the record. If you can solder; HEXFREDs and better regulators(both inexpensive) are a snap to install, which make a dramatic difference in performance, when coupled with a nice PC and fuse(as your finances allow). There are other easy mods, as well. Won’t disappoint in stock trim, either. Lots of flexibility and performance, for the money. https://www.psaudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/GCPH-Phono-Preamplifier2-Owners-Manual-Rev-B-V2.pdf
I noticed your mating with a Linn. I have PS Audio matched with a LInn Lp12 with pink link out board power supply with Soundsmith cartridge. The pink link helps with dynamics. When I sent lp12 in for upgrades I pulled a Linn Axis with basic plus tonearm out of closet to match with ps audio. I always thought Axis was light in presentation but had never plugged it into ps audio. I was a little surprised how much better bass was now mated with the ps audio. From what I understand they are easy to mod and a hifi tuning fuse did help a in my GCPH. Never thought I would use phase switch but I use it all the time.
For excellent sound and highely flexible I'd recommend the Ifi Iphono2 At around $500 or less is quite good for the money I'd put it against many others up to a grand.
Really appreciate all the valuable recommendations. Have anyone used the Music Hall PA 2.2. The comments regarding Linn are quite useful .
Plinius Harrah (used) sounds very good and can handle both MM and a wide variety of MC cartrdges via internal dip switches.
My two cents........ NAD makes an excellent phono amp. Very reasonably priced and they sound fantastic.
If you are leaning towards the low end, the fully discreet Schiit Mani is far more dynamic, open and transparent than the NAD, which is a single opamp (NE5532) design for moving magnet cartridges with a simple transistor circuit to provide the gain for a moving coil. I have tested both extensively.
I agree with the MF guy. Not sure about the sound of some of their amps, but their entry level DACs and phono stages are good.
Audio Advisor, Music Direct and Upscale Audio have several models on sale under 1K.
Musical Surroundings Nova Phonomena. Probably find one used for $500,00.
Many thanks to all for your suggestions. Will begin evaluating some of your suggestions.
Take a serious look at Arcam’s R-Phono. Reviewed vey well by Alan Sircom and Mike Fremer. I bought mine thru Amazon early last year because of those reviews, almost endless gain of 60, 70, 80, and 82db plus continuous loading from 50-550 ohms. Small, lightweight and Walwart powered. Put it on some good after market footers and good ICs and you could be blown away. I was. I still am. and mine is in a very expensive system. I bought it on Amazon Prime thinking I’d return it. Here I am more than 16 months later still loving it. Mine was $600 but it may be more now. If Music Direct carries it you might be able to get one on a trial basis.