ISO advice for completing first hi-fi system

Hello! I'm new to this forum and I need some advice for completing my first hi-fi system, primarily amp advice...test driving locally isn't an option so I have to rely on reviews and opinions. I’ll be listening to vinyl and some lossless digital music on my computer...a variety of stuff like the White Stripes, Amy Winehouse, Elliott Smith, Joy Division, Siouxsie & the Banshees, and some hip-hop and old delta blues. Anyway, this is what I’ve got so far:

Pro-Ject Carbon Debut Esprit turntable (with a 2M red cartridge, acrylic platform and speed control) $600 (I live in a Victorian apartment with wood floors and I’m putting everything on a record cabinet instead of an audio rack so I have limited space. The turntable has anti-vibration feet but do I need better feet and/or an isolation platform?)

Monitor Audio’s new Silver 2 speakers ($1150) on Atacama Nexus 6i stands with black gold fill and Herbie’s sticky big fat dots and cone/spike decoupling gliders $475

I want a good looking black integrated tube amp with exposed tubes and 40+ watts (recommended for my speakers). I'm leaning towards the new Cayin CS-55A ($1900) that has a built-in phono stage, 32-bit DAC, and headphone output. It won the “best amplifier 2000Euro and over” award in Germany but I haven’t found any reviews on how it sounds so I’m a little leery, but it would save on space and I don’t plan on upgrading this system (ever?) so buying a separate phono stage and DAC isn’t necessary. I'm also drawn to the Mystere ia11 (yay autio bias) ($2000) but it's pentode instead of ultralinear so it has less of the classic tube sound that I love but maybe it's more suitable for my musical tastes? Some reviews say that speaker matching for this amp is extra critical and I really don't have a good enough grasp on that subject. I'm open to other suggestions of course. I don't have a set budget but I want the price to make sense in regards to my other equipment.

I also need decent speaker and IC cables. I’ve done some research and I do believe they affect the sound somewhat but I don’t think I have to spend much to get good results. I can probably figure this out on my own but ANY product advice you can give me would be so appreciated!

Faith (Yes there ARE female audiophiles)
You are demanding a lot from one little box. Also, all amps are not created equal. They all have different personalities. If you really want a "tubey" sound look at triode amps.

You really need to compare a bunch of different gear to figure it all out for yourself. Either borrow from friends or find a local dealer that will allow you to take pieces home.
I'd consider Rogue Cronus Magnum for the tube integrated.
I second the Rogue CM. Comes in black too. At 90 wpc, here is an amp that you can mate with a wide variety of speakers especially if you decide to upgrade from the MA's someday. And since you say this is your first HiFi, you'll probably be upgrading. Not many are immune.

Definitely put this one on your short list.
The Rogue looks like a VERY good option.
Don't, life will be so much simpler. Stick with your iPod, get some ER ear buds and invest all money saved. Me? Well, over the last fifty years I have spend about $150,000 on gear and media. When I do the investment calculation, I would have over $2.5 million in the bank if I had taken my own advice. You figure.
Hi Ghost-Pepper,

For a first time audiophile, you certainly seem to have done some homework. Good stuff!

I just took a quick peek at your speakers' specs... I would say the 40watt minimum recommendation is something you may want to consider carefully. In my own personal experience:

1. *IF* the watts are of comparable quality, having 90 watts here (vs 40) with an 88db speaker is no bad thing (see below)

2. And yes, if you switch speakers, its nice to have extra power

If these Monitor Audios are similar to other 86-88db monitors (UK, etc) that I have owned/used in the past, they will respond VERY well to the added power. And its NOT in the loudness...its in the EFFORTLESSNESS of the music (detail, not smushing notes together when music gets complex etc, the speaker does not sound like its being pushed...because the 'push' from the amp is not nearing the edge of its performance envelope so the signal has less distortion), the dynamic range being more instantly available for the loud snap of a drumstick, a flute, or a bass thwack.

Rogue makes good stuff. Good luck and pls keep us posted. Always nice to have serious first-time audiophiles join the crew. Welcome aboard and enjoy the music.
Here's another vote for the Rogue Audio Cronus. I've been an extremely happy Rogue owner for over six years. It's a wonderful integrated amp ! Good Luck, and welcome to our Audiogon community ! Happy Listening !
$150k divided by 50 years is only $3000 per year. I'm sure a lot of us spend more than that on wine and women. Marry one of them and the gear you spent so much on will look like chump change.

So don't beat yourself up Buconero. At least you always had nice stereos.
Paraneer, I'm sure Bacanero was counting smart investing and the power of compound interest in his calculation.
Yeah, I'm aware of that. It was just a joke to say there are many other ways to spend 3 grand a year in pursuit of hobbies, rather than invest it. I know Buconero was only joking too.

Now if Buconero didn't have the 2.5 mil in the bank, and was left with only a lousy I-Pod to show for it, that wouldn't be so funny.
A quality subwoofer will also help get the most out of your speakers. The monitors are only rated down to 40 Hz which means music such as rock and hip hop may not have the impact you'd like. Even a smaller sub such as the Rel T5 will do wonders.
Now that I’m super interested in the Cronus, I found a dealer (Definitive Audio) in Seattle who invited me to bring my speakers and some records in to test it out. I had an extensive phone conversation with the owner and though he’s a Pro-Ject dealer, he talked me into canceling my order for the Carbon Esprit and getting a Rega RP-1 and upgrading the cartridge and platter for about the same amount of money. Thanks everyone for the good advice!
You're kidding right? Take your speakers and albums to them??? Have the damn dealer loan you the amp for a couple days so you can hear it in your system in your room. If he balks tell him you'll just buy a used one for half the price and sell it for little/no loss if if you don't like it, which is highly unlikely anyway. Sheesh.
Solid is correct. Best to swing this so you can hear the amp in your own listening room, not the dealers.
Well, what the hell do I know? Will do!
This dealer knows you are a serious buyer. You have had discussions with him regarding turntables and amps. The best thing for you as a consumer is to audition components in your own room with your own gear. This way you will know exactly what things will sound like in your room, prior to a commitment to purchase. Also you are putting your speakers at risk for damage or scratches/scuffs by moving them around. This should be the dealer's risk if he wants to make a sale. Amps are easier to move then speakers and the dealer probably has a demo model that he can loan you for audition. This dealer has an amp and turntable sale on the line here. He should come to you, not you to him regarding auditions!

Good luck and hope you enjoy your journey into this hobby!
That makes total sense. I appreciate the guidance!
I don't know how I confused stores, but I talked to the owner of Audio Connection, not Definitive Audio, and it's a FANTASTIC little shop. Anyway! I tried out the Rogue and I really liked it and the owner told me I'd be happy with it but I was so drawn to the Cary SLI 80 that I asked to try it and I fell in love. It's the one that made me feel like the band was in the room with me. I think I'm going to spend A LOT more than I intended and get that and the RP6's only a couple hundred more than an RP3 with the upgrades I want so it makes sense. But the Cary is A LOT more $ than the Rogue. Am I crazy?

If you can afford it...and you feel sure (you certainly seem sure)...go for it. Given how strongly you seem to like it, sounds like a winner you will enjoy. Good luck.
Agree with Lloyd. If funds allow and you are certain, go for it. Better to do things as optimal as possible initially as funds allow. Never hurts to go for a second audition in a few more days just to make sure that initial euphoria lasts!
Faith - I hate to push you toward a larger expenditure but I know from experience that you would regret not buying the Cary now that you are convinced of its superiority. Unless it represents an irresponsible outlay, damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead. The Rogue would be nothing more than a detour now that you've found your direction.

Welcome to the disease. Henceforth, you are one of us out of necessity. No one else will understand you.
There's a used black Cary for sale in the classifieds (no affiliation). Best of luck and welcome to the craziness.
Ha! You’re So right. I don’t do anything half-assed so I took the plunge and bought the Cary Signature with HexFreds and KT120s in black gloss to match my turntable…the price of the paint is stupid ridiculous but now that I’m spending a gazillion dollars (relatively speaking) on my setup, what the hell. My audio guy said I also might want to upgrade to Cardas Caps and move the oil filled Audio 1 Caps to the back. Any opinions on that?

I don’t know if I should thank you all for talking me out of the much cheaper Cayin and sending me further down the rabbit hole but I like nice things and I am super happy so THANK YOU.
It makes more sense to start a new thread with that question so that's what I'm gonna do.