Preamp for McIntosh MC252

My friend asked me to inquire on the forum for good preamp to match to his MC252 driving B$W 802 Nautilus. After all the expenses his buget can't stretch past $2k and preferably $1.5k. , SS or tubes. Phono pre option would be nice but not critical as he can upgrade later. Rgrds, L
I have a Sonic Frontiers Line 2 wink wink.
I used a McIntosh C42 when I had my MC252. SS with MM phono pre. Nice match.
Research the Supratek Chardonnay. I used a Chardonnay with MC352 and was a great match.