Once again the benchmark would be perfect
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It depends on how good you want the system to sound, and how much you're willing to pay. I'm not the biggest fan of the DAC/pre combos, but they're not awful by any means. I think you can get better performance in a seperate DAC and preamp if you shop wisely.
The above recommendations are good ones. If they're beyond your budget, Cambridge is releasing a new DACMagic which I believe may have a volume control. There's not a ton of info on it yet, but I'd imagine that their will be far more if it was at CES.