Decent stereo amp / pre amp on relative budget

I have started putting together a stereo only system. I have a limited budget (and a huge mortgage, two small children, etc.) but I love music and so I am trying to be cost effective and get the best I can. I already have a pair of Paradigm Studio 100 v.3s and I am considering getting the Anthem Statment A2 amplifier. I am wondering whether I would be better off with a pre amp / amp combo or an integrated amp. I believe the former will give me better sound but at a higher price. I do not have a phono -only a CD player. My budget is tops $3500 for the pre-amp / amp. The room size is 20ft long by 10 ft wide by 9 ft high.

I listen to all sorts of music from classical to hard rock

Any suggestions on what pre amps / amps to consider would be most welcome.
The number of available high quality used choices available within your price range is staggering.
My advice:
Buy used.
Stick to well know, well respected brands with a long history.
My personal system has a Forte' 4a amp now $600 used.
And an Adcom 750 pre, also about $600 used.
If I had $3000 to spend..
I would personally look for an Audio Research preamp (prolly' a tube hybred)
(actually i would go for a big two box killer Audio Research pre and hang on to my amp for now.)
And some solid state amp from Threshold.
$1,500 per, and a few bucks left over.
Anyway, if you go used, you have a LOT of great stuff to choose from.
Look on
Stick to sellers with lots of feedback)
I'd at least look at the Odyssey line from Klaus Bunge.
If you like the anthem, check out Sonic Frontiers?????
I ran the Studio 100 V 3's with a Rotel RC995 preamp and the Odyssey Extreme monoblock amplifiers for between six months and a year. The Odysseys were a huge improvement over the B&K ST140, which itself was fairly decent. Although something like 91 dB efficient, the Paradigm Studio 100 V 3's STILL loved the extra current and power of the Odysseys. Very nice match. (Apologies, hadn't seen your loudspeakers.)
I'd also buy used, actually I did buy used. I bought a McCormack DNA .5 amp and a Tube Audio Design-150 pre. Awesome combo and it only cost me $1400 total.

For $3500 you can have a very nice set-up.

Do you already have the CD player or will you be purchasing it too? If you don't already have the CD player, you could get a Quad 99 CDP CD player ($800 used) which has built-in remote volume control. Add a Quad 909 power amp ($900 used) and you would have very good sounding electronics and only need a single pair of interconnect cables.

If you already own a CD player that you plan to use, I would personally suggest a high quality integrated amp. I like the simple systems since they require less shelf space and less dollars invested in interconnect cables. You can buy a Plinius 8200 for about $1200 or a Plinius 8100 for $800. The newer mkII versions are a bit more expensive and the 9100 is yet even a bit more at about $1400-1500 used.

There are lots of great choices out there and you could easily get a quality integrated amp for less than 50% of your max budget.


magnum dynalab receiver. a first class tuner to boot.
I'm enjoying a PS Audio combo; HCA-2 digital amp at 150wpc into 8 ohms. And the PCA-2 preamp. Very nice equipment that'll set you back about $1,600 - for both if you buy used on Agon! Economical separates that perform extremely well. Mate them with a nice cd player and you've got superb music.

Do not overlook quality interconnects and speaker cables. You'll never hear the best of your system until the connections are up to level of quality as your components. Used lower/mid end Audioquest cables are always a good choice for beginning. You should be able to get decent enough cables at economical price. But, then again, I spent more on cables than any other component in my system at this point! But the sound is worth it.
If you can find a luxman R117 receiver (160watts/channel) or the R115 (approx 80watts/channel) try them. With the CD bypass switch you can run your CD directly into the amp section. Great sound and value and you can sometimes find a r117 for $250-300 or a r115 for $100-200 on ebay. Try silent Audio Apollo C copper interconnects on auction on Audiogon. If you can get away with shorter lengths they become even more inexpensive- just email Paul. If you want separates you might try Threshold, Forte or Classe. Perhaps other owners of your speakers will know what electronics have the best synergy or you could call the company to see what they suggest.
The Luxman R1120A is also a great unit, even better than the R-117 (I presently own both). Although the R1120A is rated at 120 wpc, vs.160 for the R-117, it sounds stronger and fuller, and much more like tubes. The MC/MM phono section is superb, the tuner is equally superb, and you can get them for $200-300 on ebay when the come along (not often)
(Used) Aragon 8008BB/28K, Bryston 4BST/BP25 or, if you shop well on agon, Krell 2250/280P. I use the Krell combo with Energy speakers and it's very nice. Can't go wrong with any of these though. Good luck.
I think you'd be hard pressed to beat the Ayre CX7e integrated. There's a used on listed for $2400 (and I'm in no way affiliated with Ayre or that seller). Would still leave some moolah for more music, which is always a good thing!
Happy listening!