More pre-amp help....? Feeling lost

Okay, so again I have the Stratos amp on the way with the Magnepan 1.6/QRs and I need a pre-amp. I'm trying to refine what I need/want and how much to spend on a starter pre-amp.
So here's what I'd like....Tube OR SS pre(I'll take SS, but tube might be better...maybe. I'd prefer to buy a new unit and I'd like a remote. BUT, I have an Oppo player that does volume (all I really want the remote for), so unless that's inherently hurtful to the signal quality, I can get a pre-amp with no remote.
So.....for 500-1000 dollars, what are my best options NEW? And while I'm asking for the moon, how about a nice looking unit as well!? The Vincent Audio SA-31 Hybrid looks interesting for example.

Cheers...thanks for all the great advice so far...

For now consider Scott Endler Attenuators which input directly at the amp. Adjust for highest volume you like, then use the variable volume control on the Oppo
Is the Oppo your only source? If so, plug it directly into the power amp and use the remote controlled variable output built into the Oppo. I'm currently using my EVS Level 2 Mod'd Oppo 970 this way. Works just fine, except some of the volume steps are a bit too big. I sometimes have to choose between a bit too loud and a bit too soft....


I would agree with Reubent and go direct to your amp. I would also say that an excellent Preamp can make bright sounding and less then desirable software sound a lot better.
Robbob, Just picked up a Soundstage two tube pre. This piece was used and modded but you should be able to find a new piece here. Not sure of the origin but I wil tell you that it's a big bang for the buck. Uses two 6922 tubes or the 6dj8. Very nice intro into tubes. Take a look see when you get a minute. Enjoy the music!