Sorry to go way off thread but how can the 308 become a horror story. I have long admired those cars. Bob
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The issue with the Farrari story is that the guy stretched his budget to BUY the car and now can't afford to maintain it. The poster is asking if it would be the same issue with the MLs.
If I were on a tight budget, I would not buy the ML stuff. Depending on the speakers you plan to use, I would buy one of the many great integrated amps that are available today for a very decent price.
What are the speakers and source components you plan to use? What are you using today for amp/pre-amp?
Wow...I walked right into that one, lol! Please permit me to rephrase my buying-from-ebay statement to read as "I've been looking at used Mark Levinson No. 27 amps and No. 26 preamps". Reubent, I would be purchasing the ML amp/preamp to be used with JBL L-65 speakers, and a stock Music Hall MMF 5 turntable with the idea of upgrading source component(s) to match the ML's quality level over time as money permits. Right now I'm using a 12 yr old sony ES series HT reciever and have been wanting to move to a higher quality "minimalist" sort of 2 channel set up.
Stay away from eBay.
Post your questions but do offer more information about what you now have, what you are looking for (sound), type of music, digital, vinyl,etc.
We are always happy to give free advise. You get what you pay for, but in this case, you get tons more.
You also might consider paying an extra $30-$40 to access the Audio Blue Book. It is an excellent resource for knowing the relative value of the many components floating around.
Good luck. Be careful.
BTW, avoid looking at one name (ML), keep an open mind.
I don't know that speaker, but if it's an older vintage JBL, I don't think you would need huge amounts of power to drive them. For well under $1000 you could get a nice Plinius Integrated amp or a Portal Panache. If you want to try tubes, go for something like the TAD 60 or Prima Luna's. I'll bet any of the above would sound great and save you a bunch of cash. I don't know about the Portal, but I believe most of the Plinius's have a phono stage built-in.
IMO you are stretching too far.
You should try something in-between the junk you amp with now and what you consider the best.
Like the case of the supercar. What good is it? In your fantasies!! But in real life a good BMW 318i or such would be WAY BETTER realistically.
So I say look at something more reasonable.
And no.. you have to make your own choices. (mine is a Forte' 4a bought new years and years ago)
When upgrading, it is a good idea to seek long-term happiness by taking as big a step as you can. However I agree with Elizabeth that in your case you don't have to look at 'attainable-but-stretching-it', especially if it means getting lucky with the first try on eBay. Given your takeoff point (your Sony), attainable will please you more than you know. You can create a very satisfying setup if you listen to some integrated amps priced like the ones Reubent suggests. Audio Space is a name I would add, for tube gear.