Pre-amp questions for SCD-1 & EMC-1

As of this moment I am using a Theta Casablanca as my processor for my Sony SCD-1, and EMC-1. The amp is a Pass Labs X350. Would taking out the Casablanca and opting for a pre-amp improve my sound quality. If so how much of a change should I expect. My second question is what pre-amp do you recommend? I would love to use the XLR connections on both of these players, so if you could please recommend pre-amps w/ balanced connections.
Are you looking to steer the sound in any particular direction? I'd consider adding a tube preamp to the mix. Tubes generally add a little more air, life, into things vs SS. I'm familiar with BAT. Should be a good match for you. Anywhere from a vk3i to vk50se, all are balanced for your system. I have a vk50se and am thinking about a pass x350. What speakers?
I use a Sim Audio Moon P-5 preamp with my EMC-1, and I love it. The Sim has only one set of XLR inputs, however, so you won't be able to use the balanced inputs on one of your CDPs. By the way, why are you using both an EMC-1 and an SCD-1?
I second Jfrech recommendation concerning the addition of a tube preamp. I use a CJ premier 16ls (tube) and a mf 2500 amp (ss) and find the music to very open/air with a large soundstage. The remaining part of my system consists of Thiel 3.6's, audioquest cables, and scd-1.You might want to consider either a Cary or Blue Circle preamp. Although I am not sure either of them have balance connectors. I am also wondering why you are running both EMC-1 and SCD-1? Also how do you like you Pass X-350?
The speakers are Revel Ultima Salons. I have both players because my redbook library is over 2000 cd's. The SCD-1 is awesome on SACD and good on redbook, but not great. Czbbcl, the X-350 is da bomb, my amp before this one was the Theta Dreadnaught and they are in different leagues.
With your equipment, I'd put a VK50SE on your audition list. Also, some of the ARC preamps. I'm sure there are some other balanced preamps that you should consider. The BAT will be a big step up imo.
I run an EMC-1 MkII through an Aleph P and Aleph 2 monos.
Absolutely nothing digital, too-bright-or-dark about the results. Good luck. Ern