No contest, Van Alstine and be sure to get the remote.
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The single most eye (ear) opening experience i have ever had with pre amps was when i tried a Placette Passive in leiu of my CJ PV 12. This was the first time i ever heard my individual components direct and un fetted by other gain stages, i realized what an extreme impact low level signals have on the total experience. I since moved into the Pass Labs X-1 and have never looked back. The Pass combined the wonderous sonics of a low level gain stage (or higher, selectable) with the precision volume control of a stepped ladder, optically coupled for signal separation. I always thought that sources and power amps carried more impact in changing the way things sounded, but i now have become one of the believers in low level signal devices. Hope you find something that allows a similar experience, it is truly enlightening! Best wishes.
I think you should take a look Klyne;Stan Klyne makes some of the best solid state pre amps in high end audio;either a series 6 or 7 is what I would be looking for;if you don't need balanced inputs and outputs then the series 6 would do the job.
Check his website if you need more info or even call Stan as he is a great guy to talk audio with.