introducing tube$ into my system

Hi, I just aquired a pair of Meadowlark Hot Rod Shearwaters. I've heard from many people, including Pat M @ Mdwlrk, that they sound their absolute best with tubes. Unfortunatley, or perhaps for my own good- funds are a little tight after the speaker purchase. So I'm hanging on to my Parasound HCA1000 (110W ss ). I've never owned a preamp, I've always just run my CD player right into the power amp. SO, I've decided to get a tube preamp. I'm getting the Antique Sound Labs AQ2004 (a little class A line preamp $300), with all the typical top end tubes caps & pots,... I'm hoping this is a good choice of units, and also hoping that it will, at a budget cost, give me some of that tube magic everyone talks about. What are the pros & cons of a tube-pre & ss power amp? Any info or advice would be appreciated.
The antique sound labs is a good start.It will give you a nice feel.Their amps are very good also.Do one at a time.good interconnects are a must.
The tube pre-amp will definitely ad some tube sound to your system, but a company like Meadowlark designs their speakers to work best with tube amps (it has to do with the technical aspects, like damping, etc...not just the "tube sound" itself). Although I hear they still sound great with solid state amps...
I am a big fan of tubes and have owned various ARC CJ and Melos, Marantz and Jolida over the years. In the late 80's I ran for several years with an ARC SP-11 (tube) into either Threshold Stasis Monoblocks or an ARC D-150 and really liked the sound of the Thresholds. I like the sound of the new generation of tube poweramps better. Adding a tube preamp does provide a good way to get a tube sound but it to be straight it is for the most part a coloration device on your digital source. I now run without a preamp into the new Melos Triode monoblocks, If your digital rig is good the best tube option is to drive a tube poweramp directly with the CD. However be prepared for matching problems between the audio out of your digital chain the interconnect and the poweramp. Getting this right for me took some doing. Also you may not like what you hear out of your digital stuff but if you don't use a preamp now that probably isn't a problem. There are some good deals on high quality tube amps on this site but all tube amps don't sound alike. You probably should listen to various "names" because they each have a house sound. Best of Luck
I just bought a used BAT VK-5i preamp and it totally changed the sound of my system for the better. Music now sounds like MUSIC, not CD's. It's amazing. I would most heartily suggest you try a good tube preamp. I got the BAT on Audiogon for about 1/2 of list ($4500 list) and it's the best thing I've done to my system, including many upgrades that cost more. Happy hunting.