Newbie Pre-Amp choices ?

A friend of mine has given me a Carver TFM-35X, this will be my first power amp. I would like to know a general opinion of this amp. Should I purchase a pre-amp to compliment it & what would that be or should I purchase another amp & match that ?
What would be a good basic first choices. I record live rock & roll(i.e. jam bands/jazz concerts) on AKG & Schoeps microphones. I like good imaging & a warm sound that will reproduce the bass properly. Thanks for any help you can provide.
PS- I see this as another expensive hobby ;)
How much are you looking to spend? do you want to take the jump into hi-fi?
Another question is, what other components make up your system?

PS- I see this as another expensive hobby ;)

That's for damn sure. A stereo is like mugger. Welcome to the 'gon.
I would like to spend as little as possible (who doesn't) but for now my max is $500.00 on an amp & pre or on a pre alone, if the Carver will suit my needs. Right now I have a Kenwood receiver, Tascam DA-20MKII DAT, Kenwwod CD, Yamaha KX-w952 cassette & Polk RT-8 speakers.
I record in DAT & just spent a bunch on another pair of microphones so money is tight. Eventually of course I will upgrade everything in the system but for now I am looking for good solid used componants to get me in the mid-fi sound arena.
Buy a used Conrad Johnson PV-10 for around $500.00. I had one hooked to a Carver M-500 power amp for a while with great results. That was before I started spending way too much money on this hobby.

The price that you want to sepnd is mid-fi stuff.The only contender for high end sound is a couple hundered more for a SS or tube preamp though you could find something in the Adcom,NAD,Rotel,B&K bracket (if so look for XLR on say a NAD.Longer runs if you are going to do studio work).Sell the Carver and look for an Acurus DIA150 intergrated for half it's list of $1600.Has a passive pre section and a good amp well built.A deal at $1600 they are a steal at $800 used and made pretty well so prior use isn't the issue it might be with lesser mass market stuff.
Onkyo p-304. A real sleeper pre. Has no remote. I used it with a tfm-35 til the 35 blew. The 304 is still going strong. CAn find great deals on EBAY. Sorry, I am keeping mine.
I'm just pulling out of newbiedom--go with a tube preamp (counterpoint deals are to be had) and go get a bryston for the amp. Tube pre and Solid state amp. My pref.