New Preamp Suggestions

I have an M3A full function preamp. I have had it and an M3 over the last 15 years. When I first purchased the AI, I wanted a tube preamp to balance out my SS power amp. I now have a pair of Quicksilver V-4's. The problem I am having is what to shop for, especially since there are so few full function preamps, even if I go to $5-6K. SS, Tube or trade up to an AI 3B (at considerable savings about 50%)? Also does it make sense to spend that much money on a linestage and get a budget outboard phonostage? I also haven't heard a M3B yet and don't know if it mostly a lateral move. Obviously I am not unhappy with the AI, but I want to try something of a newer design and this will likely be a last preamp purchase.
You can find a good used VAC or Cary full function preamp for $2-4K. I have owned both, their sound is a bit different, but both are very good. The VAC is more detailed and refined, while the Cary is sweeter sounding.

Currently I am running a full function Cary SLP-98P F1 w/ MC phono stage. I liked the VAC Standard better with tube amps, but after switching back to SS amps, I like the bit of extra sweetness that the Cary provides.
Take a look at the AVM AUDIO line of pre's they are modular so you can order as you like or add as you go along...
They offer both solid state and tube output in the same linestage. Their performance far outpaces their cost...
If you are near Farmington hills Mi. give me a shout and come and hear for your self ( disclaimer I am a AVM AUDIO dealer)
I had an original Modulus 3 for 19 years, went to the 3A a few years ago with the built in John Curl Phone mc preamp, kept it and put it in my second system, and bought a refurbished 3B from Art Ferris at Audible Illusions. It is not a lateral move from the 3A, it is better in every way. The noise floor is way lower, highs are more extended and the bottom end has much more heft and weight.

The switching is all done by relays now and the stepped volume controls have better accuracy. Just make sure you use the tubes that Audible Illusions sells, they are the best of the best, all hand picked and tested for very low noise.
Thank you very much everyone. Since I have the Quickies, I am leaning away from the Cary, although of course I will have to listen. The VAC is a nice suggestion. I am in NJ but I will read about AVM too. Looks like the M3A upgrade to the M3B might be in order.

Amazing how stuff happens. After writing this post only one day my wife's catalytic converter went on her Hyundai Santa Fe 3.5L. Poof, there goes $1500. It has 100K miles on it and also needs a timing belt and a tune up. Trouble is they have to take off part of the engine to change belt, water pump, etc. Total could run $3-4K with labor and parts at your Hyundai dealer.

We no longer need an SUV, so it looks like it is time to lease a Honda Accord.

From your post it appears that Art went back to the stepped volume controls of the M3, instead of the smooth ones on the M3A, true?

BTW, this is really not relevant to a preamp thread, but my brain just shook it to the front and I simply have to share it. My 2009 Chevy Silverado has a 5.7 engine that has been known to have fuel management control problems in certain cylinders. Well a few months ago my cylinder #6 screwed up with the MFL, Stabilitrack, Traction Control, loss of power and rough running. Bottom line new camshaft, 16 lifters, manifold, etc.!!! Luckily JUST under warranty and although I did not pay anything betweeen parts, labor and Tech charges it was about $3500-5000. I think I have had enough car trouble for a while, thank you very much! :(
Well I got out today and listened to a few of the usual suspects that were recommended as choices. But it looks like fate has stepped in to take a hand. I like the AI too much, don't want to mess with a line stage PP situation and the wife needs a new car now, cause hers will never get through NJ inspection!

Thanks for everyone's help!