Need some advice on preamp

Hi auGoners,
I ve been hit by an upgrade bug.i am currently using the BAT vk3i+phono now.since there is no vk5i with phono on the audiogon market now,i am thinkking getting the Bat vk5i+external phono pre-amp.Can you guy recomend an external phono pre-amp that would sound better then the Bat phono card.and do i need a remote phono pre-amp to control the volume? i would like to stay in the budget of 2000-2500..or is there another preamp with build in phono that would sound betetr then BAT? the rest of my system are KR mono blck amp,clearaudio champion 2 with MC cartridge with dunlavy speaker.thanks
You can certainly do better than the internal phono card on the BAT. Need to know if you are running an MM, MC (low, med output) etc. You will not need a remote phono stage; the output of the phono stages goes to one of your line stage inputs which would be volume controlled.
Consider a Thor Linestage, or a Thor Phono preamp.
The Thor is probably the finest and last linestage that you will ever buy.
Although it is more expensive, the Thor products are worth every penny.
Also, Thor has a lifetime warranty, and is hand made.
I believe that it will surpass your BAT by a wide margin.