Synergy of pre to power amps - does it matter?

I have recently completed my Audio Note system with M3 pre and Conquest SET power amps hooked up together.

I must say I am surprised and delighted with the result. Until the Conquest arrived, I tinkered around with Solid state from various manufactures, borrowed a McIntosh tube power amp (which was a big improvement) and finally the Conquests.

I really do believe there is a synergy with same make components. If a (good) engineer is designing a pre-power combo, it will surely be tested primarily as a working pair, and the final sonic signature be a combination of both. Ok, it will also be designed to work with other similarly priced components, but surely the focus would be same make synergy in the lab.

And it is this synergy that I believe can make the difference. I suppose in a perfect world with all the money up front we would go and buy the entire system at the same time. But I, and I guess most other enthusiasts, don't have this opportunity, and we make incremental upgrades along the way.

I am sure same make synergy doesn't often apply to the entire range of components, as not all manufacturers are best at everything, but in my case I think I have made a good choice. It sounds right so I'm happy!
Glad you found such a nice match! Congratulations!

I think it has a lot to do with the output impedence of the preamp vs. the input impedence of the amp, and how it reacts at different frequencies to the load. Especially true with tube amps, and highly dependent on the type of output circuit used.

I've been a long-time believer in tube pre-amps with solid-state amplification, but more because it has worked well for me than because I understand the signal transfer characteristics of the interface. I would expect this to be optimized within the same brand as your experience supports. I've heard a couple of bad matches (an Audible Illusions preamp that was very picky about its amps), and some very good ones that were not same brand (CAT Ultimate with McIntosh MC402).

Perhaps the biggest opportunities are still the amp-to-speaker match on one hand, and the front-end-to-preamp match on the other. To me, the preamp is a necessary evil, which is why the pure transformer-based pre's are my current obsession.

But if it makes great music, that's all that matters. Again congrats on your discovery!