Stepup or phono preamp help

I know i have asked this question before, but i want to upgrade the amplification of the phono signal going to my integrated amp and looking for some advice. I know there are a lot of opinions on what is best but i am a little confused on which way to go. My analog system is a maplenoll ariadne table/arm combination that has been highly modified with a zyx universe SB cartridge .24mv output. The Integrated amp is the Marantz sr9300 and the speakers (for 2 channel mode) are vintage Klipschorns. I have been using a rotel 970sx phono equalizer that I have used for many years but the gain is marginal for the zyx universe and it has only a 100ohm input setting. I also have an older Vandersteen OL1 with adjustable input settings but the gain is not sufficient for the system (have to crank up the volume to get the sound to reasonable levels). I did use both in series to get to the desired 125 input but again the gain appears to be too low. Hence my reason for upgrading.

I am interested in opinions of equipment to boost the signal without increasing the baseline noise floor. Right now it is pretty good but i suspect I can improve this a lot. ALso, do i use a transformer and phono preamp, Transformer alone or phono preamp alone. I am not sure if the vandersteen OL1 is considered a sut or preamp but running the vandersteen in series with the Rotel did decrease the noise floor slightly and seem to improve the sound.

My budget is open to about 2000 USD
I use a ZYX Airy 3 with a K&K Maxxed-Out which is at about your budget. I also run mine into an integrated amp and is absolutely dead quiet. It is an excellent phono at this price range. Kevin can build it for you if you are not inclined to a kit but he does offer exceptional support if you decide to build it yourself.
Aqvox 2CI MKII.List is $1995,but discounts are available.Selectable loading and gain,0-14db via front panel.It is amazing how closely matching the gain can affect the sound.I own one and you would have to pry it from my hands,after death.Happy Holidays!
Hi oilmanmojo, believe it or not... your Rotel 970BX has a great sounding MM stage. Try getting an active step-up like a klyne SK2A or a good SUT. You will not believe how good the Rotel is.

BTW, the MC stage is another's very harsh and diffused and I would caution against using it.
Agree with the MM section as this was the original reason i purchased the Rotel. As I moved to MC i used Med output (frog and Airy3s) and the MC section has enough gain. It sounded pretty good to my ears but did not have a comparison until a friend brought over his Tube Phono preamp and i was amazed at the difference. At the time, was not ready to upgrade.
Thanks for your suggestions
If you decide to change the phono stage the K&K mentioned previously is a very nice unit. If you decide to go with a step-up K&K has one of those too that would work well with your Rotel. Provide flexible gain configurations and it even gives you the ability to do custom loading via plug'n'play resistors.