Hi, first post here, although I've been a member of Head-Fi and Home Theater Forum for a couple years. I just decided to make the leap into 2 chan, I already have a surround sound HT setup.
So as the title says, I bought a pair of B&W 685s. I also bought a Cambridge Audio Azur 640A (integrated amp), 540C (CD player), 640P (phono preamp, although when I opened it, the power supply was crushed and broken...). The 685s haven't come in yet, the 640P and 640A just got here tonight, and the CDP has been in use for the last week with my headphone amps (1 tube and 1 solid state.) Oh, and I will be getting a new Rega P1 or a used Rega P3 in the next month or so.
On to the questions: I know I am going to want to listen to tubes in some form on the new system. I was wondering the best way to bring them into the equation: through a tube preamp or tube power amp. The reason I am against a tube power amp is because I listen to a lot of fast rock (Tool, Nine Inch Nails, Foo Fighters, etc) and the tube headphone amp I have doesn't do very well with them, it seems too "slow?" to give good resolution (maybe the word I am looking for is decay?) So for that type of music, I think a solid state amp would be a better choice, although sometimes I do listen to them with the tube amp. If a "good" tube power amp would work with that type of music, let me know and that may be the route I go. If not, then I would need to use a tube preamp and either go to a solid state power amp, or somehow use inputs on my 640a integrated amp with a tube preamp. Or buy two power amps, a ss and a tube...
So what is the best way to get what I am looking for:
1. Tubes in some part of the equation
2. No/Minimal moving of cables/selector switches (if a switchbox is suggested)
3. Performs well with fast rock, and also with old school rock (Led Zep, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix), and actually, nearly every other type of music...
I would like suggestions for amps as well as the best way to connect this system to get my desired results.
Some suggestions for tube amps were the older Conrad-Johnson EL34 based push-pull amps, specifically the MV45, MV50, MV52, and MV55. Solid state was something by Bryston, Pass Labs and NAD, although most of those seem out of my price range.
Price range was 250-550 when I started looking at power/preamps, now I am ok with going from 500-925. If I have to buy two pieces of equipment or more (such as tube preamp and ss power amp), that is not necessarily a combined budget, I would be ok buying two $750+ pieces, but I need to able to integrate one of them into the system while I save up for the other. If there are more/better choices slightly above my price range, I wouldn't mind hearing them, I want to do this right...