suggestions for preamp/amp combos

Hi, just wanted to get some friendly suggestions for preamp/amplifier (can mix and match freely) combos that produce warm yet clean and not overly bright acoustics. Pretty vague, eh? Anyways, looking to keep the price tag under 3-4k for the used combo, would be driving larger monitors, maybe Spendors 2/3 and larger (love the British sound), no subs, or etc. Generally listen to acoustics, both classical and modern, but can mix it up with Pavarotti to Portishead. A big fan of Audiogon and lurker for many, many years.

Big thanks to everyone in advance.
A Rogue Stereo 90 Magnum power (should do 100+ Watts continuous, no problem) and 99 Magnum pre should fall in that price range. Very clean all-tube sound; far from harsh, bright, or analytical. If there is a weaker link of the paring, it would be the 99 Magnum, but I've heard that this is addressed by the new super-magnum upgrade (I hear you also get a 1-year warranty when upgrading used gear through Rogue).

This paring sounded great on my Tannoys. I've since upgraded in the Rogue line.
QuickSilver and Spendors are a great match. I use this combo and they are made for eachother.I do not think you need to buy used with the budget you have.
Cary Audio, conrad johnson .........
I know you said pre/power,But I love my ARCVSI60>
And it will drive any speakers.
I too love my VSi60. Amazing amp.
I agree that with your budget, you do not have to buy used. I am currently in the process of obtaining and evaluating a new pre/power combo, and so I will have to get back to you.
Spendors sounds ok with tubes, solid state is much preferred though as the spendors have already a warm sound to them.
I did try different tube amps with them & they end up too smooth for their own good.
Solid state amp like Luxman, Krell, Classe, Mccormack would work very well w/ the Spendors.
Others experience may differ.
Catboy: I am very happy with my current preamp/amp combo. I bought a gently used McIntosh C220 tube-hybrid preamp from Audio Classics for about $2750. I have an Odyssey Audio Stratos HT3 (with cap upgrade), but if you don't need that third channel, go with a Stratos Stereo Plus amp (includes the cap upgrade) for $1400. If that's too far over budget (and you can't find one used), go with the standard Stratos Stereo for $1200 or the Odyssey Audio Khartago Extreme/SE for $1200 (slightly less power - depends on your room, speaker efficiency and listening preferences - ask Klaus at Odyssey which would be best for you).

Note that both Audio Classics and Odyssey Audio have in-home trial periods, so if it doesn't work for you, you can return them.

I love this combo - it provides pretty much what you're looking for: warm, clean, quiet, with excellent detail, transients that are just right, and good dynamics. The sound stage is dependent on the source material, and can be huge. I also have tremendous image stability. Criticisms? I wish macro dynamics were a little more powerful, and I wish my speakers would dissappear a little better. The treble is clean and clear, but I wouldn't mind a little more of that shimmering quality I've heard on some very expensive rigs. But with this combo, I rarely run into a CD that I can't listen to and enjoy. It is never harsh, brittle or edgy. I rarely use the McIntosh's tone controls, but it's nice to have that capability. I also love the MM phono section and wide-range balance control. And the remote, of course. The Odyssey amps are just a huge bang for the buck - real high end amps at a mid-fi price, IMO.

The rest of my system is in my system link.
My suggestion would be to choose your speakers before going any further.
Wow, nice feedbacks. Many thanks for the efforts. Interesting comment from Nolitan about the tube/Spendor setup being too warm. I have always been interested in going to tube for the inherent "warmth" but the practicality aspect has always been an issue, especially with a family. Anyways, it should be fun trying to get the right sound and doing the research on all the suggestions so far. Best to all.
Good luck,
And remember to listen with YOUR ears.

Hmm, maybe I should use some of the money to get my eardrums and neural responses tested and tweaked. Make sure the balance is ok. Srry, bad humour.
I've had excellent results with a conrad-johnson CT5 and a Classe Delta 2200 amplifier. I can't tolerate bright electronics but I also don't want my system to sound sluggish or bloated. Used, this exceeds your budget a bit. The cj 17LS would be a good replacement and get you in under budget 'cause the Classe can be had for about 2800 used. In any case, I strongly recommend the solid state amp/tube preamp combo. Cary would also be another good preamp choice. The Classe is incredibly powerful and "tube-like" and can't be bettered in it's price class. The McCormack DNA 225 or 500 are also good but a bit harder to find used.
I have had the opportunity to listen to the whole range of Spendor Classic line (2/3, 1/2, 3/5, 100) and the 2/3 came out as the brighter. It was the only one of the range I didn't like. It was too bright and distracted my attention from music.

If you don't like 'bright', perhaps you should start by choosing the right speaker, as someone else suggested before in this thread.


Spendors are not bright at all. They are among the warmer, sounding type of speakers.

Let us know what you end up doing. And I apologize for those who ignore your question and try to correct decisions you're clearly happy with. I'm always interested when someone discovers a good amp/preamp combo, so if you stumble on to something please post.
Will do, Im trying to find a place where I can demo some of the gear in the type of configuration I am scheming, which is half the fun. I think a conrad johnson preamp (tube or hybrid) and a musical fidelity amp are part of the picture, so far. However, as one poster pointed out, that combo may end up being too warm. Anyways, Im sure many of the suggested combinations would work well and the posts gave me a lot of ideas. Best, Albert