Preamp recommended to sit between Nilai Mono's and NAD C399 with XLR

When does the need to keep buying equipment stop! So, I want something that has XLR capability. The NAD sounds really good, but I get the feeling I could do better. Not looking to break the bank. $1500-2000. I thought hard about the Halo P7. The DAC is outdated and mostly used for 2.1 listening although that could change. My NAD has the ESS9028. Looking for a comparable sounding DAC. The NAD will act as my streamer. The JC2 BP is outta my range. Should I sell the NAD and get it out of the equation.

Should I go the DAC route. I need something that can put out some juice for the mono’s. My main thing is XLR. I want to maximize sound.