Help picking first amp....

Hey everyone I'm new to the world of home audio and would like to put a system together. So far I've assebled a few parts (CAL CL15 cd player, Tyler Acoustic Ref Monitors, Acme Cryo socket, SignalCable shotguns) and am now looking at an amp to run directly from the cd player.

I've made a short list here goes:
Rogue 88 Magnum (1250$)
BAT VK200 (1300$)
Audio Research VT100 mk1(1500$)
CJ 11A (1750$) (a stretch in the $$ area!)

For a variety of reasons I don't think I'll be able to demo all of these units, and probably none in my home I'm asking for some advice from the good people of audiogon.

Quick questions
1) what are the costs associated with retubing each of these different amps? since I'm buying used this will factor in, I'm assuming some of them will cost much more than others?!
2) have you a/b'ed any in the list against better?
3) would I be better of dividing my alloted money and getting a amp/pre? or just an integrated?
4) any suggestions on my hunt?

Finally, this will be going into a smaller room, probably around 12x14ish with regular ceilings. I listen to a large variety of music jazz, classical, r&b and a good amount of guitar and piano.

I'm looking to get as palpable a sound as possible, I'm not sure if this is called "air?" where you can just about see the musicians...(perhaps this is all to much to ask at this price range and with my associated gear!)
Damn, that's an impressive first foray into Audiophilia!

While I haven't heard any of the amps you're considering, they are all highly regarded. The VK200 is solid state so you won't have to deal with tubes. If you could stretch your budget maybe you might consider the BAT VK60 as well.

I would also consider the VT50 which is the smaller brother of the VT100. Less tubes and lower price than the VT100 but excellent sonics. I've heard Audiogoner Viggen's ARC CA50 integrated which has similar innards to the VT50 and it has no problem pushing a variety of different speakers while sounding very good.

The size of your room is very similar to mine and I've been very happy with the Blue Circle BC21/BC22 tube pre/SS amp combo running a pair of ProAc Response 1SCs.

The cost of retubing can get high with some amps, and delving into new old stock tubes from WWII era can shoot the prices sky high, but the sonic rewards I think are justified. That being said, many feel ARC amps perform best with their factory installed modern tube sets, but when you're replacing as many as twelve tubes even using new stock can get expensive.

I'm sure more experienced A'Goners will chime in. Good luck and nice job!
I'd consider staying w/ss, esp. if you are concerned about costs of re-tubing. Power tubes are much shorter lived than pre-amp tubes. You could try a Unico Unison integrated that has a tube pre side and an ss power side. New it would be well within your budget. Also might want to consider an SMcAudio modified DNA 0.5 (100 wpc) or 1.0 (185 wpc). The 0.5 is better sounding if its got enough muscle for you. You can probably pick up a Rev B for $1000 or a Rev A. for $1300. Very nice and great people to deal with if you need service or want to go further up the upgrade path. There are varying opinions about going direct to amp; I've never heard the CL-15, but I know that the sound of my CL-10 was quite good (best changer out there, IMO).
Unless you have a very, very good CD player with an analog volume pot you're likely going to be buying a preamp very shortly as well. Might want to take that into account and save up for a good preamp as well, especially if your CDP volume is digital in nature (which will sound awful)....
I heard the Unison Research Unico at this past CES an was very impressed. Beaufitful looking and sounding it mated well with the efficient Triangle Zays[if I remember correctly].
Heres a different tact: If your budget goes up to $1500, snatch up the Forte 5 that just got listed and use the $1100 you saved towards a nice preamp. I would look at the used market for the pre also. The 5 might not be the ultimate amp but its a pretty nice amp to start from. Might not find a better int amp for the money, and a better place to upgrade from.
I would highly recommend considering a GamuT D-100 solid state amp.

If you do not need a lot of power it is hard to beat the D-100.

Also, you might want to not run a CDP directly into an amp. I would wager you would get BETTER sound if you bought an ARC CA50 integrated amp (one of my favorite integrateds that I have ever heard, PERIOD), then if you ran the CDP directly into any of the above amps... Even the GamuT D-100.

The ARC CA-50 is a classic integrated amp that has very nice premplification as well as great tube amplification if you stay within it's 40wpc power.

I would second or third the ARC recommendations. The CA-50 is an excellent integrated, but is bettered by the VT-50 in every regard, at the expense of needing a preamp. The advantage of the VT-50 over the VT-100 is that it only has half the tubes. But either way, you can't go wrong. The BAT gear is excellent as well; consider adding the VK-60 to your short list. IMO, BAT is "darker" sounding than ARC; not a bad thing necessarily, depends on the tendencies of your system as to which you will prefer.
Sounds like a great audition list. All amps listed are well respected. I own a CJ Premier 11a and it has been an extremely enjoyable purchase. It has also been rock solid reliable and trouble-free. My last re-tube was a few years ago for real close to $200. This was for higher quality NOS from Kevin Deal at Upscale Audio (excellent to deal with-no pun intended). The cost of re-tubing for the quality of sound is money well spent IMHO. The CJ is driving a difficult load as I use electrostatic speakers and I listen for hours and hours with no listening fatigue. I suspect every amp on your list will make beautiful music. If you want more of the who, what, where, and why of the CJ amp feel free to email me.

Good luck and happy listening.