My recommendation is the Mystere "ca11". Recently bought one and couldn't be happier. This model incorporates a small form chassis and retails for $1795 (new). You can buy the full size model for $2295. I replaced the stock 6SN7 Chinese tubes with NOS Tung-Sol tubes from Vintage Tube Services. Next purchase will be four Telefunken tubes to keep in reserve as well as tube roll for comparison purposes. Give this equipment an audition if you have time.
>>I would like a pre amp that provides well-defined, palpable images with a forward presentation and micro dynamics while keeping the tube harmonics and bloom. <<
That's easy: Atma-Sphere, either the MP-3 or MP-1. Forward presentation, to me, says frequency imbalance; if you're looking for a superb soundstage with dimensional images, then yes, these are tough to top.