Need rec on $500 preamp

I am looking for a decent preamp around $500 (could be new or used). I might be willing to go closer to $1000 if the performance is really noticable. I am running a Technics 1210 5MG with fluid damper, and a Shure V15 III cart (stock wiring). For digital I am running a Sony 9100 ES (will probably add a Benchmark DAC soon). I don't have a tuner but would like to leave room in the preamp for one later. My amp is a Mcintosh MC 250 and Klipsch Heresey II's for speakers.

Right now I am using an old Carver C-1 for a preamp. It is ok but I am having to clean the pots/contacts out pretty often and now one of the aux inputs has an intermittant channel. Rather than get it fixed I am just looking to upgrade. I am leaning towards the new NAD 162(?) but I thought I would get some opinions here. I don't do much if any processing to the sound so I would like it to be as seamless as possible. Maybe bass and treble controls, but not much more. Thanks in advance for any recommendations.
If you are considering the Benchmark DAC, maybe just consider the newer Benchmark DAC Preamp. This has digital and analog input capabilities and might have everything you need for ~$1500 or so, but the cost is marginal compared to just the Benchmark DAC, especially if you need USB.

You would need to add a phono pre-amp also for this.
Also forget the tuner and go with a Roku Soundbridge or a Squeezebox for internet radio (sound quality approaches CD and smashes FM) and then you might add a music server later as well.
Check out a Musical Fidelity A3 or A3.2. If you need a DAC, the Musical Fidelity A3.24 is a great unit (I use one with my server - has a Benchmark before the 3.24).

This is all in your price range.
I can't completely ditch the tuner unless I can find my three fav local stations through that Squeezebox thing. I have been toying around with converting all my CDs to some type of lossless format (don't know which yet) so having the USB might be desirable. Especially considering that I have the PC in my audio room the wife won't let me have an audio only room :-(

I have looked at the preamp but I wish it had more analog inputs. I need one for SACD (so it doesn't get converted to PCM), one for my TT, and one for a Tuner (although I may get one of those Sangean HD Radio tuners which can carry the signal over optic/coax...I wonder if it will do the same for my analog only stations...)

Thanks for the recs., keep 'em coming I will start doing my research.
Rogue Audio Magnum 66 w/ Phono

Quad QC-24 (review)

Eastern Electric Minimax (review 1, 2)

Tube Audio Design TAD-150 (review)

Conrad Johnson PV5 with Phono
The NAD looks like a good option unless you need an esoteric brand. I would imagine they sell fairly well but they rarely turn up on the used market. That says something to me.
I've owned a few NAD pieces with good results.
Audible Illusions linestage or the M3A, or even the B&K MC101, all good. Jallen
I tried a number of well-built tube pres in your price range (bought used) and settled on a Luminous Audio Axiom passive volume control, plus a Niles AXP-1 source selector switch (5 inputs, 1 output), connected by about 10 inches of cheapo silver-plated copper interconnects a friend built for me. Total cost is well under $200, new, and humbled everything else I used here. The purity of tone, the dimensionality, the openness, the speed of the Luminous unit is truly astounding, even filtered through the no-doubt contaminating Niles unit. I've never needed more gain with music (some movie soundtracks max out the volume knob, but it's pretty loud at that point).

Just my two cents, had to throw it out there, because the Luminous unit (bought used here, with upgraded resistors, for about $80!) has dramatically affected my enjoyment of two-channel listening -- for the better, and for a song (ha ha). Best of luck to you in your audio journey!
This one looks very cool - hand-built and only $598:

I own a Rogue 99 which I like very much. For $550, the Rogue 66 identified by Darkmoebius has got to be darned hard to beat provided you're interested in tubes.

In general, I like NAD too for the money, but I can't imagine it stands a chance against the Rogue.
Rlwainwright, I am very wary of any of the Hong Kong equipment. I have seen tons of this homebuilt stuff from HK on ebay.
I would very strongly recommend looking into Mapletree Linestage 2SE for about $800.
I had another opportunity to listen to it tonight and am seriously considering one for my other system.
Its is one of the better values out there....if not the best. IMO