Upgrading preamp. Best for under $1K

I am planning on upgrading my preamp and was wondering what would be the best preamp for under $1K. Currently have the Rotel RC-995 with a B&K ST2140 amp and Vandersteen 2ci speakers. I like to stay with SS unless their is tube pre in that price range.

Ag insider logo xs@2xhighend64

I'd also recommend a Rogue RP-1 used. I had one and it took 3 upgrades to get something that sounded better. If you keep your eye out you should be able to snag one for 1k or so on the used market. 

@mattmiller "Check out PRIMALUNA Kevin at Upscale Audio in LA would love to talk to you about them."

theyre 3 grand up to more than $5k. how is that under $1k?

Wow, have not seen Transcendental mentioned for years! He had a sweet Jordan module design. 

You did not say how many inputs, RCA or XLR, if you need MM or MC, tone, remote etc. 

Anyway, if I go with the Chord DAC,  I'll need another preamp. Have my eye on the Schiit Kara and the Topping A90 discrete. The Ladder and Gustard both look good, but no remote. Reviews of the newest Emotiva seem reasonable.   Preamps are not very hard and should not cost a fortune, but of course, the ego-driven audiofool market says we need $80.000 preamps encased in billet aluminum which is course does nothing to shield hum.  

I had a Nakamichi PA-5 years ago and loved it. It has a smooth and sweet sound.   The old Apt Holman was well regarded, but left me cold.  Back when I had a B&K ST-140, ( modified)  I used the original Hafler kit. Clean for it's time but crap switches of course.  If all you need is a buffer and volume control, the JDS Atom+ is an amazing little box for the super high price of $109.  My Schiit Asgard is OK, but the JDS is cleaner. 

So, it depends on what features you need and if you want it to be clean or provide some sort of preferred distortion.  Of course for a little more the Schiit Frea gives you both options.  The B&K already gives you a little smoothness in the mids, so a squeaky clean CH-FI might do you fine.  Amazon return policy makes it easy.  Of course, Schiit also has a return.  I just ordered a Vidar that I expect to more neutral than my own MOSFET amp, so undecided if I want the perfect clean of the Topping or a little more tuned by ear as Schiit does.