I've heard Audio Analogue Puccini, and it pales by comparison to the Audio Refinement Complete Integrated amp made by YBA. Retail NEW is $1k. For speakers, I just got the B&W Nautilus 805's which are awesome, but maybe too steep at $2k, around $1500 used. Try the CDM 1SE's which are cheaper, sometimes about $1k used. Soliloquy speakers are also great for the buck, as are NHT, but they like the wattage. Merlins are great, as mentioned above. I cannot stress how good the Audio Refinement Complete is, is sounds GREAT!!! I dont even own one. Also, if you want to get into tubes cheap, try Jolida's integrated amps. THere is a Jolida 302 on this site now, I think maybe at auction. Their stuff is great for the money. Soliloquy speakers mate really well with tubes. If I had $3k to start from scratch, I'd get a used REGA Planet CD, the Audio Refinement Complete (I bet you could find one for <$800 new through the net), get some Soliloquy 5.2's, Meadowlark Kestrels, or B&W CDM 1SE's used for about $1100 (roughly). Buy 1 good set of interconnects (kimber PBJ, or Audioquest Topaz are both good around $75 new retail) and maybe some used cable of your chioce, possibly Kimber 8TC, or Audioquest CV-4. IF you get good deals, you're out maybe $450 for the CD player (USED), $800 for the integrtated (NEW), $1100 for the speakers (USED), and less than $150 for some used cables. That's $2500 for what would be an all class "B" system according to Stereophile magazines stupid rating system. I promise you, it would be sweet. Good Luck!!