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Hi, thanks for suggestions.
Yah, running. Good idea.
I currently have an old Fisher tube amp 800C I believe. (passed down from family). I've changed out all the tubes on the Fisher, and that sucker is still just sagging like nobody's biz. I figure I'll have to start replacing some of the old caps etc to get this thing up to speed. I'm real familiar with the sound differnces between tube and ss based on my recording experience, and I actually prefer a "flatter" response sounding amp.
Anyway, thats kinda my taste right now. Would prefer to avoid going down the tube route.
Thanks again. Any further ideas would be appreciated.
Do any of these amps have multiple inputs (ie phono/aux) or do I need a preamp for that?
Buy used, buy an integrated amp, consider a hybrid like the Jolida (because I love the tube sound, you may not). Musical Fidelity has a newish product that is supposed to be "the bomb" - the X-150 integrated amplifier. I think it has been recently updated and can be purchased brand new for $895 (only slightly above your budget).
One other piece of advice: As you might have already determined, there are a million (ok, only half a million) tweaks to consider once you have your basic system compiled. Some you should consider, copied from an excellent post by "Stehno" from the Audiogon Speaker forum (starting in the order he presented them, not necessarily in the order of easiest or least expensive to implement):
o Install dedicated AC circuits/lines for each component.
o Purchase line conditioning products to cleanse the dirty AC in which everybody is susceptable.
o Experiment with vibration control methodologies... for your components, your rack, or your speakers.
o Spend [a few days or even] months trying to find just the exact right location for your speakers to overcome the acoustic deficiencies with your listening room/speaker combo.
o [Don't] think all cables are the same, [don't] chose the cheapest ones you could find.
[My own experiences:]
If you haven't tried better speaker wires and interconnects, you will be shocked at the improvement that can be made by spending (for used cables, of course) $100 on a pair of interconnects and $100 to $200 on speaker wires (I infer your small room would mean short runs of speaker wires - translating into savings as you wouldn't need two 12' runs of pretty good wire (Kimber 8VS) like I just purchased - for $125 including shipping).
Don't discount vibration control either. I can't say strongly enough how astounded I was at the difference in sound as I added one book on top of my CD player, two books on top of my amplifier, and two books on top of each of my (70 lbs per each) speakers. The sound tightened up significantly, the imaging was much better, the previously almost nonexistant "sweet spot" was significantly enlarged, and the sound heard anywhere in the house was nearly life-like. An old Quad 405 II amplifier is the weak link in my system (soon to be replaced) but adding a little vibration control has made it sound like I just spent an extra $3K on my system. And I haven't gotten to anything made for the purpose of vibration control; I only placed a book (and another and another) on a piece of equipment "to see what might happen."
Good luck with your pursuits - you won't be disappointed as you pursue anything resembling a hi-fidelity system.
When I owned the 602s I found myself listening to my systems sound more than music. Maybe that was just me, but I think they were revealing of system synergy-or lack of, and something in this combination stood out. My suggestion is that you go beyond just getting recommendations for these speakers. It was obvious to me that they liked the power my denon integrated gave up-80 wpc, and this fueled their dynamic character quite well. However, it was a rather mechanical rendering produced of the pairing. Maybe power goes beyond mere volume considerations in this case, so I would listen around regardless of the suggestions given here.