Best Amp & Pre-amp combo for under $2000 ???

I am making baby steps in my system and looking to upgrade to separates. I tend to be around 60-70 percent music. i am using Def Tech's 2006 speakers. I am leaning toward a Rotel setup, cause i've read good things about the natural warm sound Rotel creates. and especially the performance per price. Are there any other companies or combinations i should look at for my taste? any suggestions welcome. thanks in advanced....
"Best" is subjective. There are dozens of choices I would choose over the vast majority of Rotel gear I hav heard, but I highly suggest you audition everything you can in order to see what best fits your tastes and needes, and don't hesitate to buy and sell a few amps/preamps before settling.

The Musical Fidelity A3cr amp and preamp are a natural choice in your price range, both can be had for about $1600 to $1700 in total, maybe a little more or less, and will eat any Rotel setup alive. An Odyssey Stratos amp at around $900 used or $1300 new would also be a very good choice in affordable amps, as is the Belles 150A Hot Rod and Pass Aleph 3/30 for about $850, but all of these amps sound very different and personal preference will dictate what is right for you. There are many others worth mention but in your research and reading reviews on this site I'm sure you'll come across them. Also, don't underestimate what a good CD player and/or DAC will do, save some funds for the front end as well. Don't hesitate to audition some different speakers, too, while you are at it, you may amazed at what else is out there for only a litte more cash yet offers a huge step up in performance....
Arcam, Audio Refinement, YBA used integrated.
I would see if you can find the Meitner PA-6i preamp with phono and Meitner MTR-101 100 watt monoblock amps. Ed Meitner only builds professional equipment now, but this stuff is incredible...very stylish looking, small boxes that can be stacked, with sonics closer to tubes. They easily drove my old B&W801's. Anyone who has been around audio and has heard them will definitely echo my comments. I sold them for my Krell equipment and wished I had kept them. Very musical. I saw a PA-6i for around $700 and the monoblocks listed at one point for around $900. Good luck.
Kray: Unless you have a specific need for separates, I urge you to also given serious consideration to one of the better integrated amps available today. There are a number that are well worth considering, and unless you need an amp with a lot of power, the integrated amp actually gives you higher value for a given amount of money.

Among the integrateds you should consider are the Creek 5350SE, Bryston B-60, Perreau, and Musical Fidelity at the lower end of the price scale, and the Brinkmann at the upper end (you may be able to find one used for around $2000-2200).
Sorry if I sound a bit befuddled, but what does: "I tend to be around 60-70% music." mean?

What else do you play through your stereo besides music? Do you use it for HT to?

Are you just using 2 speakers for both HT and music?
Well for a simple practical "solid state" solution, you'll not go wrong with the Parasound amps on those! A good classe SSP25 or 30 pre/pro, and you'd be set IMO. I've sold the Def tech's for some time, and the Parasounds in the past. For an affordable combo, you'll not lose with the Parasounds. The Def Tech's have a bit of top end tilt, and are kind of "cool" sounding. The Parasound compliments that well(kind of like the Bryston amps), with it's slightly rolled off top end and warm bodied, although clean, pressentation! The combo balances out well.
Also, the Classe amps do superb in that regard as well, with slightly limited top end extenstion and good body(slightly better than the Parasounds).
If you want to get "perfect" and "tricky" you could go "tube amp"(like used VTL ST85 amp), get a fantastic soundign used Classe SSP25 pre/pro, and maybe later upgrade your 2 channel with a better tube preamp!(looping the pre/pro through an AUXILARY input on your 2 ch pre! However, the Classe pre/pro is clean enough that you'll likely not even worry about it. Plus teh Classe SSP25 has "dirrect analog inputs", THX, and superb digital dacs! that piece I have yet to hear it's sonic superior in a Digital pre/pro for the money!!!!
good luck
My best experience was an Audible Illusions Mod 3 preamp and the Aragon 4004 MK II amp. It actually was better when I changed the Preamp to the Kora Triode preamp with the Aragon. It increased the bass response and was more "musical"......I have since moved to Audio Valve gear now but the little Kora is a sleeper and holds it's own with much more expensive preamps and is not that far removed from my new AV Eklipse which costs much more........those pieces should be around $1600 together
It's a no brainer, the Odysey Audio stratos stereo amplifier with tempest preamp. The musicality of the this system is absolutely intoxicating. If you don't like it send it back for a refund.