Putting together first system... clueless.

Hello everyone, I've begun piecing together my first system, and I'm not really sure what to do in regards to the preamp. Vinyl is going to be the only source for the system.

The goals of the system are minimalism (as little as possible between the record and the speakers), and upgradeability. I figure, if I do it this way, can more easily learn about the differences in components and get a good feel for what I like and need, and upgrade accordingly.

It's a budget system and I should only spend about $3-4k for the entire system. The equipment I've bought so far is a Rega RP1 w/performance pack, and a Musical Fidelity VLPS-II. I think I'm gonna go with something from Magnepan for the speakers, so I've got maybe $1-2k left.

My question is this: Are there any recommendations for an extremely minimal preamp stage that is basically just 1 source in/out, with a volume control? If this equipment doesn't exist, is it much of a factor in this system if it's just a volume control? (As in, I could just make it myself with quality parts without introducing terrible sound?)
Am I missing something or do you not have an amplifier yet? If you go with Maggies, you will need an amp with some oomph.

If you do need an amp, you best bet would be an integrated amp with the $1-2k budget.

The MF phono stage is a nice piece, btw.

No, I don't have an amp yet. That's what I'm trying to figure out, is what kind of amp/preamp I should get. I just don't really know anything about them.

After doing some reading on here, it sounds like I probably shouldn't go with the Magnepans, because they're going to really limit the number of viable amps, especially in my price range. I've been reading up on the Zu Audio speakers, and it sounds like that would be a better option, since they work so well with so many amps.

I was looking around the forums, and found what I was asking about is a passive preamp.

I guess my question is: provided I go with the Zu Audio Omens, is it possible to get a decent sounding stereo tube amp in the 1-2k price range, and is a passive attenuator a viable option?
What is the sensitivity and impedance of the omens? There are many high quality integrateds in your price range. Many come up used on AG. Do you require seperate amp/pre?
You would be better off getting something like theTekton Lores and a Primaluna Proluge integrated. Then spend the extra $$ on some decent cable and vinyl. Good luck.
A Jolida integrated would cost about half of what a Primaluna costs, likely have more power, and they sound fabulous. (note...Jolida plug # 784)
I've also owned Jolida, one of the great bargains in audio. I'd second that as well.
Baliacta, with Wolf's advice you can upgrade tubes and buy even more vinyl.
Baliacta, a lot depends on what type of music you will be listening to the most and the type of sound that you like. I would really encourage you to seek out as many systems as you can to hear so that you can get a feel for the differences between the many choices. Buying used on here can be very beneficial, there is a search feature that allows you to put in your zip code so you can find whatever is local. It may be possible to listen to a few items before you buy if you look that way. Good luck.
Next step is to choose speakers and an integrated that matches well. Integrated amps have come a long way and there are many excellent current models available.

Try the archives to see what others members are using.
I like the Rogue Audio Cronus tube integrated.
Thanks for your help everyone. I really appreciate the advice. The Lores look better on paper than the Omens, and the smaller pricetag is nice. With the low power requirements of these speakers, it looks like I could go with any of these Jolida amps. Is there a threshold where having more headroom begins to have diminishing returns in regards to helping out with the sound?
I don't think too much headroom is an issue with moderately powered tube amps. Also, I rarely pass up an opportunity to question the picking of a "type of music" for hifi components...get the widest frequency range stuff you can afford as all music benefits from this.
I second the Tekton Lore recommendation. I've owned both the Lore and the Zu Omen, and can say that the Lore was far better in every way in my system. The lower cost M-Lore might also be a good option depending on the size of your room. I'd give Eric at Tekton a call to discuss options and build time. My understanding is that the current wait for Tekton speakers may be a few months due to their extreme popularity.
Baliacta-The Magnepan SMG/MMG have been the budget reference standard for 25+ years. I have not heard any of the Tekton models or the Zu Omen but the MMG will hold it's own against any of the speakers you mentioned. If your room will accommodate the larger MG 12 that will give you the extra bass the other speakers "might" have when compared to the MMG. 3 intergrateds I would check out are the NAD M3 or the Wyred4sound STI-500/1000 these are easy to find in the used market for around $1500.
If you are on a budget and you want tubes, its likely that you will not have a lot of power to spare. For this reason you want a speaker with greater efficiency, and for that reason I feel like a Magnaplanar would be a poor choice.

Zus are popular with smaller amplifiers as they are easy to drive; I would keep that in mind.

If you want any amplifier to perform and show off its 'amplifier investment dollar' its usually best if the speaker efficiency is high enough that the amp is rarely asked to make more than about 25% of full power.
On other forums and I think in the mags too, there are lots of threads and articles about putting together a killer 5k system...

If you could wait a bit longer OR buy in stages to stretch the total up to 5k, you can no doubt get a great hi-fi system...

I can recall right off hand there being a good thread somewhere on Audio Circle, where there are a ton of breakdowns of system ideas for the 5k amount.
Thanks for your help everyone. I ended up getting the Lores and I found a good deal on a jd302brc here on Audiogon. Can't wait to hear everything together.