I want three of these Lindell 6X-500 preamps.
So what I typically want is a high-end preamp that doesn't have a lot of controls on it. This is why the Neve 1272's work so well for me. You can be really, really stupid and record something with a 1272 and it'll sound great.
This Lindell preamps are very inexpensive (when you can find them in stock). They do require a 500 series power supply and housing. And on the Internet they sound great. What am I going to do with the EQ on them? Probably like I do with all Pultecs -- turn some knobs and trust it'll sound awesome.
You know what's also very cool? These Ear Trumpet Labs microphones. At $500 they're well-reviewed on the Internetz and the Josephene will be perfect on The Imaginary Opera.