Evelyn- If by passive line controller you mean a passive pre-amp (attenuator and input selector), then I would think about upgrading the speakers first and then going on to pre-map (active or passive). The pre-amps you mentioned both have their devotees on this site, although I've heard neither. The AI has a well regarded phono stage, not sure about the Rouge. Other options at about $1k are BAT VK3i, ARC (several models, depends on whether you want remote and/or phono). But right now, I think that $1K could buy you a lot in terms of speakers (Vandersteen 2ce sigs would be my suggestion, but I am a big Vandersteen fan). The Model 2ci (predecessor) worked well with my Moscode 300, and that line is well known for not being all that equipment sensitive (mates well with a variety of electronics). Good luck.
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