I'd buy a Butler TDB-2250 2-ch. amp: tube/MOSFET hybrid design with tons of current and 250 watts/ch. As for preamsps, I'm not sure and will not make a recommendation...
I haven't heard the low priced Cary stuff you are talking about. I think you can be sure that Cary is not going to put low priced stuff out there that is going to compete with their high priced stuff. I think it is an effort to draw more people into 2 channel, and also a response to the reality of the current economy. I think the best bang for the buck is always buying used, but now more than ever. I've seen some nice stuff go dirt cheap recently. Its a buyers market. The only way you buy new stuff now is if it is a unique piece that almost never comes up used, or if you have a dealer who will cut you a break on a demo.
There are ways to negotiate on prices without low balling.
Brownsfan-thank you. I am not hung up on any specific brand. I just need some suggestions as to a package to purchase. There is so much stuff out there and I really would like something that is tube based and recognized equipment. There is so much to know and I simply don't know what would make up a good package. Have the money to buy but want to be smart about it. Ideas anyone?
But what about Rotel?? Since they seem to be brand mates. I thought I would think of them. Unless of course it has to be Tubes??
If it has to be Tubes I would go with the Butler suggestion that "Rlwainwright" has made to have a starting point.
If it has to be an All Tube System, and I have a Speaker System like the B&W 805 Standmounter, and the Electronics cannot exceed $5000.00, then I would look at Rogue Audio and check out the Metis Magnum Preamplifier (which is an All-Tube design) and then mate it with the matching Atlas Magnum Power Amplifier.
On the other hand, for me, I would do the Rogue Audio Metis Magnum Preamplifier and then mate it to a Rotel RB-1552 Power Amplifier. That would give me an All-Tube Preamplifier with a Solid-State Power Amplifier. And then, I would design the rest of my system accordingly with other components that would bring out the best in these two main components. I would look at this as the best of both worlds. And this combination will still leave you with plenty of cash for other components or upgrades for your system.
A wise choice would be the CODA CSIb integrated currently listed on Gon for $4300.00. Built like a Rolls Royce and completely made in Sacramento. Considered the most powerful
integrated on the market. Peaks at 300 amperes from both channels. Tremendous power reserve. 330 watts @8ohms and 660 watts @4ohms. Well known for driving 1ohm loads very easily. Has the all the quality of separates. Designed by former Threshold Engineers. A very rich, smooth organic sound with outstanding transparency and detail.