But MM/MC phono stage from JLTi (mk5) is great and reasonably priced
The tube Croft RIAA can be had within your budget. I always preferred tube phono preamps!
For those wanting the magic of the Croft sound but not in the market to replace their preamp, the RIAA Phono is available. It uses 3 x 12AX7 tubes, has a frequency response of 20 Hz - 20 kHz +/- 0.5 dB, sensitivity 2 mV for 0.5 V rms o/p. Input Impedance 47 kOhms and power consumption 13 W.
@chakster I think you're being a bit dramatic.
Low gain tube phono can be quiet and work remarkably well at gains suitable for typical MM, say around 40dB.
However I've certainly had noise issues and frustration searching for low noise tubes with an all tube phono and LOMC (used one for about 8yrs). But my experience there is limited to a few designs and I wouldn't make a blanket statement.
Later I used SUT with lower gain tube phono for excellent results.
As regards the OP's question, it seems to me that if you are sure you are going to stick with MM (or any other high output cartridges, like some MI types), then there is no point in paying the extra expense for the extra gain available in an MC stage. So it's a no-brainer to go with an MM-only phono stage. I am not sure why you even asked. Another good reason to stick with an MM stage is that in the price range you are shopping, an MM/MC stage is going to be compromised with respect to its SQ with Low Output MC (LOMC) cartridges (cartridges requiring high phono gain). In that price range, you cannot really have your cake and eat it, too. (Another parentheses: There are such things as High Output MC cartridges, which generally can be used with "MM" phono stages, because of their relatively high output voltage compared to that of a LOMC cartridge. I generally do not like HOMCs, but that's me.) Further, if you should ever desire to use a LOMC cartridge, you can always at that point add a SUT, to boost the voltage gain of your MM stage. As to tubes vs transistors, I have both and slightly prefer tubes or hybrid circuits (that use tubes and transistors). But again, at modest price points, you might do better with solid state or a nice used tube unit, if you want to stay well below $1000 cost. Keep in mind that some of the solid state units you mention actually use integrated circuits for RIAA, not discrete transistors. That approach saves $ but isn't necessarily great.