Tube Preamp - What to buy?

Looking to take my first venture into the tube world and going with a tube preamp.  My budget is up to $2500 and willing to buy used or new however realize with my budget that used is probably a better path. I would like to have a built-in MM phone stage.  I am use to having a remote and tone controls, so that would be nice however not a necessity.  

For further information my speakers are Revel Performa3 F206 and the current amp(s) is Conrad Johnson SA-250 and I also have a Rotel RB1552.  I many be looking for an amp upgrade in the future, but one thing at a time. 

So far I have been looking at used Audio Research and Conrad Johnson preamps but very open to opinions on brand and model.  Thanks and I look forward to your opinions and experiences.  
Many great choices given thus far.  I would look for a CAT - Convegant Audio preamp, an excellent piece with a built in phono.

Good luck, 
Check out a Black Ice Fusion F360, although you'd need to add a phono preamp to hit your target.  Plenty of those to choose from.  This has some innovative tone/eq circuits built in.
OP, when I was shopping for a pre the brands you listed were high on my list.  I went with a Mcintosh C2500 and I had to save longer but it has been worth it.  The 2500 reacts nicely to tube rolling, has two phono sections, MM & MC and of course it's a Mac.  As previously posted here, look for Mcintosh C2300 it's older and therefore a bit cheaper.
I can recommned the Rogue RP-1.  I've had mine for a year and a half and I'm very happy.  The phono section is excellent.
Rogue's customer service is first rate.