Single source, best pre option?

I have only a single source component, and no plan to change.

I feel like an expensive pre would be a waste, since i dont need the variety of inputs, and I'd rather invest the dollars in a better amp. The amp will likely be an Ayre as I very much enjoy the sound of my Ayre integrated.

I need balanced outputs, and aes/ebu input would be nice.

Are there great sounding options that fit this situation?
I assume that your source is digital so I'd recommend using DAC-preamp such as Antelope Zodiac. Excellent choice for one source system.
Jon, if you already have your source...the audionote DAC...and it does not come with preamp or built-in volume attenuator, then you probably need an integrated.

if you want long-term flexibility in case you add another source, or another amp, you might wish to go with Vitus practically is built like separates since (i believe) it can operate either as pre or as amp. stunning quality, tremendous Class A (50watts?) but if you read the reviews...can feel more powerful than many amps with multiples more wattage. The dynamic headroom is apparently enormous and well beyond the norm.
Are you willing to use a tubed preamp? Could you post a budget for this?
One source, stand alone preamps, are uncommon. If you can get a source with a volume attenuator that may be your best option.
Since you know that you like the Ayre sound already.You may be happiest with another Ayre piece and live with a preamp with extra inputs. In addition it will have better resale value.
I've been in the same boat for years, (single source) until recently adding a TT. I could live with one source again, no offense to my TT. What I have found time and again is the preamp is a valuable link in the chain irregardless of the # of sources used. Low level details and spatial info just doesn't come through on a variable output DAC or CDP like with a preamp. This seems to be even more so at lower to moderate volumes and bass is much better, actually everything has been better with a preamp IME. FWIW I sympathize with your wanting to avoid another expensive piece, with another set of IC.
Taking onto consideration DAC-preamp Grace M903, the preamp section does not compromise to any dedicated preamps at all.
Thanks, all very useful input and appreciated.
Hi Joncourage,

The other integrated amp you may wish to consider, depending on your taste, is the Zanden 6000...100watts/channel, remote controlled integrated using KT120 tubes. I've read great things about it, and spoken to people who were amazed when listening to the new SF Aidas being driven by Boulder vs being driven by the Zanden 9600 monos.