How should I build a system around my speakers?

My cousin gave me a gift. A pair of a/d/s L-1290s in pretty good condition. (butyl rubber surrounds are intact). I don't know squat about hi-end audio, however, and I know I'm not a high-end listener.

What I'm looking for is advice: I'm poor (public school teacher) and I would like to buy used. I need advice for Amp and Preamp recommendations to get the most out of my speakers. I doubt I'll ever buy stereo equipment again (GASP!). Just wondering what 10-15 year old equipment is well suited to go with the respectable gift speakers. My budget is about USD $1000. Any advice is welcome.

Given the info you provided, you just might want to consider a HK 3480. I think I saw one here on Audiogon a couple of days ago. No matter if it's here or not, it's under $500 new and should serve any purpose you might need. It has plenty of power, phono, tuner, etc and I'll bet it'll sound fine with the ads speakers.
Hi James: for economy you might go with an integrated amp vs. separates. Sorry although I have no specific component rec's: NAD has an economy product line that's actually pretty decent & they have been around for quite awhile. They also make CD players & tuners. Try to get some reasonable economy cabling like MIT T1 or T2 or T3 offerings (vs. basic plastic interconnects and lamp cord) for your source component and speaker cables. If your components have detachable AC cords then you'll benefit sonically with even a basic model upgrade AC cord vs. the stock cords.
Wish I could be more specific, but I'm kind of at the other end of the price spectrum now. Everyone has to start somewhere; I too came from very humble beginnings when I built my own equipment from scratch & from kits as a teen. Welcome to the club; you are on the right track by building the system around your speakers, which is the best approach IMO. ADS actually made some pretty decent speakers: I have ADS in my car system.
Get an integrated. for one grand you have lots of choices and can get something decent.
your cousin has given you a classic set of speakers which play particularly well with moderate to high pwered ss gear. i would second the recommendation for nad, be it a receiver or integrated amp...have fun

Will your system be for multiple sources, like CD, Phono, tuner, DVD player, etc., or will it be for playing only a single source (like CD)?

Does your $1000 budget include source components too?

Nice gift, the L1290's are a fine speaker, in fact they were one of the first to use a "soft dome" tweeter, a very good thing IMO.
If you are not in a hurry, go to garage and estate sales. I get all kinds of good stuff at these. I take home any working item with a name I have heard of, and at a very good price. I have found some gems at these sales. If I don't like it, after I have played with it for a while, I clean it up and sell it on Audiogon or Ebay... simple.
My buddy got a working McIntosh tube amp pre amp set up at an estate sale for $200, it's worth over $3000. Luck is a good thing to have.
The garage/estate sale track will also expose you to many brands and you may even make some money to further you to your ultimate stereo goal, what ever that may be. You may find a gem as well, you never know. There is usually very little competition for stereo stuff and albums at garage and estate sales, most people are looking for furniture, jewelry and rare books.
Hope this helps, good luck.
Reubent is right; you must decide if you will move into higher fidelity two channel music, or if you will join the masses who have mid-fi multi-channel. Either way you will enjoy, so no stress. ;)

You can always add a surround processor later as well relatively inexpensively for an older one. But, beware, if you chose to move right away into multi-channel you will have SIGNIFICANTLY less quality sound for two channel listening than you would if you pursue two channel equipment independently of HT applications.

Your choice, simply put, is quality or quantity.

I would suggest a decent two channel rig. If you are not big into radio, then use it primarily for cd or vinyl. If you're not into vinyl, that's ok, since it'll save money on not just turntable but albums. Also consider if you really want to clean albums, etc. If you want nostalgia, go for the turntable setup; it doesn't have to be expensive. There's plenty of commendable turntables for a few hundred bucks. But you are not likely to get decent integrated amp, cdp AND turntable for $1,000. You need to make a choice which source you will pursue, cd or vinyl.

For the prettiest sound at most economical, look for a tube hybrid integrated amp. Must you have remote? If not, you'll save several dollars there. But, be honest, if you really want remote, then get it. It's major pain to not have it when you would use it!

Check for well liked (look for NO LESS than 4.5 of 5 ratings) on integrateds. If you don't want to mess with tubes, then find an older very good condition solid state integrated. I just sold a gorgeous condition Rotel integrated for about $225! You can do VERY well if you look for a quality integrated about 3-5 years old! NAD is a good brand to look into for value.

Same with cd player. Go for a single player for higher quality than a changer. There's many priced around $250-$300 such as Rotel, NAD, Adcom, Parasound, etc.

Call a dealer and tell them you want a screaming deal on old stock, stuff they want to get rid of, trade ins, etc....Do NOT commit to buy, but ask them to put together the best system (i.e. integrated, cdp, etc.) they can for your $1,000. You may be surprised what they come up with. I have found incredible deals from dealers who have personal components at home that they want to sell! If they keep steering you toward the new items, walk out (politely, of course). You can't afford the markup.

Do not forget to save out about $125 for cables. Yes, it's worth putting some bucks into the wires. Get older Audioquest speaker and interconnect cables. They are decent quality and there's tons of them around for cheap. Buy them all off Agon.

Ah, your dream takes me back to when I was just starting out. What fun! Don't say never to a great audio system! Begin squirreling away a few bucks a month and in several years you can build a truly wonderful system!

Jamesjems, that is great--and very comprehensive--advice from Douglas_schroeder.

I would have suggested a few older units to look for, but there is danger of focusing too hard on a named component (which you may not even have heard) and missing out on a bargain with a name you don't know. If you follow Douglas_schroeder's advice instead you will have a very good chance of finding something good. It is worth the effort, I assure you. Those are good older speakers. You will need to give them some amplifier power, which rules out some smaller units, but the options remain numerous. A system that does the speakers justice will make you want to listen to music. And music makes life more beautiful.

Do get the best source you can afford. In my experience it is more fun to listen to a great source through ordinary downstream components than the reverse.

Have fun, and please keep us posted if you get the chance.
thanks to all of you for your most generous responses.

I'd like to clarify how I'm planning on using my system, even if what I say is audiophile heresy and makes you want to throw rocks at me ;).

I listen to radio (NPR news only) on a Tivoli Model One, so I don't need a tuner. Space is a premium at this point in my life so everything I have must do double or triple duty. I plan on running a DVD player through this thing (yes, only 2 channels-I don't care) as well as a CD player and even occasionally my girlfriend's Ipod or computer. (Heresy, I know. Still, the little things are darn convienient, aren't they now?)

But a little voice inside my head tells me that if I set the L-1290's up right with some real power behind them and put on some of my favorite music, that the grin I had when I was 17 years old will again creep across my face and I'll be asking you gentlemen for more advice...Damn...It's supposed to be like that, isn't it?

Integrated, huh? Just as I'm looking at reviews/auctions on and ADCOM GFA-555 mk II on ebay for USD $350....

Oh, I have so much to learn and thank you all for your patience with my silly questions.