Thoughts on using an Emotiva Control Freak (XLR) as a passive preamp?

Hi folks, 

I'm using an Odyssey Stratos with Vandersteen 2c's. This combo sounds great, but bit laid back, especially in the mids. I'm looking to add a CD player with some muscle to offset the overly laid back character of the amp/speakers to even everything out. Basically, I need a CD player and preamp. Or, I can borrow a friend's Emotiva Control Freak and pick up a used Adcom GCD-750 that's for sale locally. In this scenario, I would use the XLR connections as the control freak is balanced. Another CD player option would be a Cambridge Audio Azur 649 V2 and pair it wil say the Mod Squad Line Level preamp that's currently for sale here on A-gon. My budget for either scenario is around $350/$375. Since both preamp items are essentially passive, would there be much differnce in sound? 
As transparent as passives try to be or are they still all have a sound sig to them . But they will be closer to each other than most preamps . Let us know how you like the passive if you go that route .