Need help with priorities

I want to buy an intergraded but I don't understand some basics.I'm using Nola Viper Sig speaker's and a Wadia 860.
*Should I be concerned if the intergraded is fully balanced?
I've read that the Wadia may be better using the XLR's with a fully balanced unit.Also,some unit's have XLR input's but are not fully balanced.Any advantage there?
*Is it a good idea to get an intergraded that include's a phono stage.I want a simple system and a built in phono stage is one less piece.How important is the interaction between the phono stage and TT/cartridge?I plan on adding a TT later.

I've read that the Nola's like tube's and I would like to try tube's with them(I'm a little tube shy but I'm working through it).Most of the tube intergraded's in my price range (6k)do not have balanced input's.Big deal?Not a big deal?

I don't post much but I read along when I can.Thank's in advance for any help you guy's and gal's can give.

No, no advantage really, the XLR is good if you have to go with very long runs of interconnects, but the wadia puts out 4 volt at the RCA jacks, and the same at the XLR, most CD players only do the 4 volts(pro audio output) at the XLR and the standard 2 volts(consumer audio) at the RCA's.... The misconception of many is with Balanced XLR connection is that they Get better bass and definition, blah, blah, blah, And of course they are right, because they get DOUBLE the output voltage on most units from the XLR in most cases vs. the rca' jacks, which yes gives bigger sound, powerfull bass and all that, but little do they know most of the units they compare their balanced and RCA connections with are not truly balanced anyway they are just simply getting double the line voltage causing a smoother and more powerfull sound and they attribute this to the XLR just simply being a better connection, lower noise and because its "Balanced".... Now I am sure this thread may get hammered but whatever, try it with the Wadia, they will be near identicle, I do believe some of the Wadia units are also truly balanced, but I would not be so concerned with this as like I stated they have the PRo audio industry standard output of 4 volt regardless the connection, I do not know of many other manufactures that do this from the RCA's.. Some of it is marketing hype, but if you HAVE truly balanced amplifiers it could be more effective, lower noise and again you could run very long interconnects without loss. But be skepticle and listen for yourself, everyone is an expert on this I;m sure and will swear by balanced connections and of course on units that are using the 4 volt output again Double what the standard jack normally feeds they would be right and many of the preamps will also have a total input at the xlr of 4 volts and UP to 4 volts out, now daisy chain that thought ,, you are using a standard dvd or cd player that is outing 2 volts and run into a preamp that is capable of outing 4 volts, it will not, it will simply feed 2 volts out to your amps... but again if you are using the wadia 4 volt rca's which I am almost 100% sure they are you will be feeding 4 volts max out of the pre to the amps, and again normally this is only heard from XLR units in general and again will lead people to believe they are getting something more from Xlr.... I have a pre amp that will peak at 8 Volts out to my; amps but very few sources would output that much to use it that I know of, mainly these units are built simply to be overbuilt and not overload if they did get feed a high line signal like from a CD player running into a PRO equalizer or something and totally kicking up the line voltage ..... ;)

Hope this made some sense, but I have found no the fancy XLR cable is not necessarily the actual reason for better sound its just simply that XLR is outputing double the voltage in most cases, but True balanced units could help, but not always that much better, but true balanced amps get fairly expensive and you really have to dig to see if they are, like rowland, BAT, some Classe, etc...
I would personally not sweat the XLR-Balanced/RCA-Unbalanced issue too much. Plenty of truly fine components use RCA-Unbalanced connections and topology.

I would recommend the Cary SLI-80 integrated amp to you. It's tubed (including the DC conversion, tube rectifiers), it has at least three line level inputs (for tuners, CD players, tape decks) and I believe it can be had with it's own on-board phono section for a turn table. I know the SLI-80 used to come with it's own phono section. Check Cary's web site for the latest info, and perhaps phone them up if they don't mention the phono section on their web info to ask if they will still add one for you.

I have heard this integrated amp on a couple of occasions. Always liked it. They are available used on AugiogoN, too.

I have installed two Marantz PM-7200 integrated amplifiers ($550) for a non-profit arts organization. Before I put them into their new home, I ran them in my own system for a couple of days. I have to say that I was very impressed. It has its own MM phono section and can be switched into full Class A mode (with much reduced wattage output) but a more refined sound.

The Marantz PM-7200 is way less than your proposed price range, but I dare say it would certainly get you started and maybe even satisfy your needs. Save the extra cash, or get more music, or upgrade your system rack, power cords and cabling if you have to spend the money.

Another integrated amp you may want to audition that is fully balanced is the Arye AX-7e ($3000). It's solid state, but it might work for you. You have a fine CDP and it could be used completely balanced with the Ayre unit.

Yes, the phono section or phono stage does have to be matched to the cartridge you intend to use---at least at the basic high- or low output level. You may want to start with a moving magnet (MM) or high-output MovingCoil (MC) cartridge, and avoid using a low-to-medium output Moving Coil cartridge. Avoid any cartridge with an output lower than 2 mV. MM phono sections are far more common and less expense as are their associated cartridges, than the lower output MC equipment.

Hope this helps.
MATRIX-Thank you for the explanation.I have found a much wider range of unbalanced unit's out there to look at.I can see where the balanced input's could be a "make or break" in some system's but it sound's like for my purposes I don't need to sweat it.The extra dollar's could probably do more good elswhere in my sys.
*About how long can a RCA cable be before the performance is reduced?

KALAN-What initiated this thread was that while browsing through the virtual-system's I saw that many of the rig's assembled by long time high-end user's have unbalanced gear! I started to wonder why so many review's hinted that balanced component's were nearly essential.
also,I contacted my local Cary dealer concerning a built-in phono-stage and he will call Cary for me.I made an appointment to demo a SLI-80,the PM-7200 will go on my list.Less expensive is good.
I appreciate your comment's.
Hmm, how long, well I would say keep it to 7ft or under if possible, could go 10, not really that you would get much loss but could get more background noise or something as it is a longer length and it depends on how well it is shielded in the design... but in general I like to keep them at the standard 2 meter 6.6 foot.
XLR If not used for the correct reasons should just stand for Xtra Large Ripoff
Arbuk, I spoke to one of the designers at Edge Electronics about the RCA vs. XLR situation in relationship to their gear in particular. In the Edge circuits, the unbalanced/RCA topology actually is quieter than their XLR prototype counterparts---exactly contrary to the vogue opinion of many so called High Enders.

According to Steve Norbert (spelling?-Norber[?] at Edge), the extra components to make the true balanced topology ADDS noise in the Edge amps rather than reducing it.

The interconnect length issue does hold an advantage for the balanced/XLR method. No question, there. An unbalanced/RCA, vacuum-tube pre-amp, for example, will require an output buffer stage to lower the impedance and strengthen the signal output for a long RCA interconnect run to the power amp--say, longer than about 2.5 meters or so. Adding this buffer stage will increase cost and perhaps deteriorate signal integrity.

So, you are right in your observation that many experienced A'goners (and reviewers, too) have very fine systems that use RCA through out.
XLR cables when used in short lengths are for idiots with more money than brains IMO
Kalan-thank you.