Need help selecting a preamp under $1500

As some of you might know from my other post, I want to extend my current setup with a turntable.

Currently, I have a pretty low grade system:
Turntable: 1200 MK2
Integrated Amp/Dac - Decco2 (45W RMS)
Desktop speakers: John Blue JB3

The decco is connected to my mac mini for digital audio.
My turntable requires a cartridge, which I'm not buying until I decide on a preamp.

Over the past 2 weeks I have been reading as much as possible on what might be a good solution. Basically, I am debating between buying a vintage integradeted amp / receiver with good phono section, or adding a preamp for the phono.

I know that a really good preamp might be an overkill given the rest of my component, but I usually like to buy one item and keep it rather than keep upgrading. In other words, if I end up buying a high quality amp in the future, I would rather stay with the phono section that I'll buy now.

Another point: I am not planning on ever scaling to a $10K+ audio system, so no need to to go too crazy. I just want to ensure that I'll achieve a satisfying LP exeperience, so I am looking for the sweet spot that delivers most of the value rather than marginal improvements. I'd also rather buy used, since I think you end up with more value.

As far as music goes, I listen mostly to classic rock (Pink Floyd, Mark Knofler, Led Zeppelin), as well as light jazz and classical music. Since I live in an apartment, and I have kids, listening volume is moderate. I am looking for something musical / romantic rather than analytical and flat, so I am leaning toward tube ones.

The next upgrade will be speakers or power amp (assuming that I'll go with a preamp now, and that the Peachtree will not be powerful enough to power the next gen speakers).

Some preamp on the list:
1. Arc SP series (not sure which one)
2. Conrad Johnson PV12
3. Mcintosh MX110
4. Dynaco Pass 3X
5. Project Tube
6. Jolida JD9
7. Balleri 330

Somre receivers / integrated:
1. Mcintosh 1900
2. Mcintosh 6200
3. Mcintosh 4100
4. Fisher 400/500
5. Vintage Marantz

Clearly there's a big price differentation between these items, and cheaper would be better, so of the above (or other products in the same price range), do the cheaper options captures 95% of the benefits of the more expensive ones?

Which one would you suggest that I'll go with?

Thanks for your help!
Do you like the sound detailed and on the analytical side or do you prefer the warmer richer tones.
I am using a Fisher 400 at the moment and its MM phono is on the warmer side but not cloyingly so. The Conrad Johnson products will be warmer than the Fisher by some, and depending on the crispness of your amp, CJ may work out well. The Mac receivers are also on the musical/warmer side as well.
I never loved the Jolida I once owned, but it became useful with careful tube rolling, it starts out a bit crisp for a tubed component. All of the ARC products I have ever owned or heard were on the detailed side tubed or not, which can be a good thing if you value clean sound.
I will make my usual suggestion and encourage you to listen to a Cary pre. The "AE" division has put out some new products I haven't heard but the older pre amp the AE-3 was a winner in all it's formulations. The regular Cary products can sometimes get near you price point (well used)and are worth a listen because they use 6SN7s my favorite preamp tube.
Thanks Mechans for the response. I will add the Cary Pre to my list.

In regards to your question: my memories of LP is that of a warmer sounds, more full bodied than the more analytical sound of a CD, and that's what I am trying to get to.

I understand that there are quite a few options on my list, and that it is almost impossible that I'll be able to experiment with most of these options. That being said, is there a consensus regarding the difference is audiable expereince between a used vintage amp (or used preamps at $300 level) vs those around $1000?

Please take into account that I'll probably wont spend $500 on a cartridge, nor will I buy a designer turntable for $4,000. Going forward, I'll likely be on a lookout for good deal on used speakers (NHT, Vandersteen, Totem) and potentailly a good power amp, but that's about it (or so I hope...)

Basically, I need some help rationalizing the 4X potential expense :)
You just missed out. I just sold a VAC Auricle preamp w/ MM phono stage for $1000. I don't think that could be beaten by anything under $2000 (maybe even under $3000).
Keep a look out, they are very hard to find, but well worth the investment, IMHO.

Mechans Cary (AE) is also a solid recommendation.
I would add the Modwright SWL9.0SE to the list.
Can any one please provide some guidance on phono stage of something like the Fisher 400 vs Conrad?

I like the idea of an integrated tube amp, but since the phono section is the most important thing that I am trying to solve, i don't want to sacrifice it.

Also, I do like best those preamp/integrated tube equipment where you actually get to see the tube (for example the Rouge Magnum)
I have a buddy that has one of these. Very nice sounding. I think it is in your price range.
Seriously consider the new P-5 Halo Preamp from Parasound about to be released in a matter of days. Cost is $1400.00. Comes with a built in DAC. Available in silver or black.
I neglected to mention the Parasound Halo P-5 is loaded with goodies. Has five analog inputs. Balanced in and out. Has digital inputs. Has a built in phono stage and tone controls.