Your Nominations: Top Phono Stages under $1,000

Replacing a Pro-Ject Tube Box ll...New table and cart: VPI Scout 1.1 with Ortofon 2M Black. Can I make a significant improvement and spend less then $1K?
Own two iFi iPhono II's - versatility of loading via ( small) switches and the quietest phono stage I've ever had in my home. Own 2 Lounge Audio LCR III and one  Copla MC stage. In the last couple of months the Lounge Audio stuff has sorta landed and stayed - there's nothing "tube like" about the LCR - but great imaging both laterally and in terms of depth plus a simply beguiling ease  or flow to what comes thru these very inexpensive phono pre-amps. It's also really nice that they will build you a LCR with a 100kOhm input and lower capacitance (47pF in my case) at the cost of only having to wait a couple of extra days for the unit to ship.
Thanks for the shout-out Stonedeaf!
another vote for Croft - I have the RIAA-R in a vintage system with Apogee stage and i have to say it works incredibly well with my Grado.
I much preferred it to a Phenomena II+ ( yes I know it is 2x the money)

The phono stage without ability to change load resistors (not only for MC , but also for MM) is a waste of money. If you have never changed the load resistance for MM cartridge then you don’t know the sound of your MM cartridge. The best buy would be high gain MC/MM JLTi phono stage from Australia, everybody missed that one in the comments. User can change loading via resistor fitted RCA plugs (amazing feature). The price in USD is something like $750 (in Australian dollars it’s 990). This is the first phono stage i would recommend for anyone with limited budget! It’s the simpliest circuit based on "diamond" transistor. The older "premium" version was $1750 and review is here But the new version sounds even better, but looks not so "premium" to save cash in your pocket. 
Lehmann Audio Black Cube SE II used.