I have always had a tube pre and SS amp. For me, the expense of getting a 300wpc tube amp to replace my SS amp and the cost of retubing them would be a financial death sentence.
I’m running a C45 and a Cary V12R just because I’m to lazy to hook up a tube preamp. My C2500 needed a channel repair so I just moved the cabling down and hooked up the analog HT unit.. It’s not a tube preamp. Funny part is most people can’t tell the difference unless I say, I'm running a SS preamp. I have a few SS Macs preamps. A C45 and MX120 both have great sounding SS stereo setups. Mac has always had a pleasing SS preamp, to me. SS Mac power amps.. Different story.. No idea why, syrup comes to mind though, with small planars and ribbon drivers. It's been 20+ years maybe they changed.. :-) or not..
I use to use Krell for HT way back too. They had a great 2 channel stereo with volume control for the subs. Still the best remote I’ve ever seen. It’s a class A preamp too. With Mac tube power amps.. pretty impressive combo... It would also let me bypass the Krell and run a MX110 phono section, or tuner. Not as many vinyl users 30 years ago, like today or 50 years ago. There was a gap with 4/8 track, Cassette and CD media. I used RtR back then too..
Another reason is that there are limited (any?) manufacturers that make both a solid state preamp and tube based power amp.
Not everyone has an integrated set by the same manufacturer but many do. Not having a SS pre with tube amp from the same manufacturer limits the combination at the point of purchase.
@avanti1960 I think AVA does and McIntosh if you were looking for matched components. But you are probably right.
This was the issue holding me back from taking the plunge into tube amplification - just pain scared of the arrays of power tubes: cost, biasing, maintenance, do I leave it on all the time and warm up the room, or turn them off at night... etc.
My first exposure to tubes was at a dealer many moons ago listening to Audible Illusions and Exposure (no pun intended) amplification. Tube sound with no power tube maintenance and fear.
Fast forward to now - I'm running Rogue M-150s off the analog output of my NAD pre/pro for stereo listening. The tubes cost a lot, and yep - they're a bit of a hassle to maintain compared to SS amps - but wow, the SOUND. 😁