The Fourfold path...which way to go?

Ok, I thought I could do it....forsake tubes for solid state. I miss the bloom and liquidity, no matter how smooth the sound, no ss seems to be able to reproduce that crystal glass midrange and high. So now I've got to find the best way to take advantage of both worlds...the tight bass of ss and the glorious midrange and highs of tubes. As I see it, I've got three choices within my budget. 1)I can biamp my Vandersteens using my old Dynaco on top to run the mids and highs, but to do this I'll need a good active crossover 2)Dump my cheap ass Nakamichi CD player and go with either a Tjoeb or Jolida tube output CD player 3)Dump my Aragon Pre amp and go with a Conrad Johnson PV10AL or 4)The cheapest option...get one of those Musical Fidelity "tube buffers" to put between the CD and Pre or the Pre and Amp. I figure that with these four options I can get away for somewhere between 100 and 400 bucks (not including trade in value) Any suggestions? No, I'm not spending more than 400 bucks.
I personally am a fan of tube pre's with ss amps. If you really want tube sound, it is a good way of getting it.
I'm sorry. It's a shame you had to learn the hard way, Issabre. I mean this in all sincerity. For so many of us, once we go with tubes, you can never go back to ss. No matter what. SS will NEVER sound like tubes. Ever. Do you ever REALLY listen to ss TRYING to sound like tubes? Full of that mosfet haze(you imposters know who you are). The designer's most "tubelike" amp yet. That is, until his next. Tubes can't be more tubelike, they're ARE tubes! There are MANY simple and complex reasons for this. But it is like comparing Kraft parmesan in the cardboard container to Reggiano Parmigiano from Italy. Or a stuffed animal to a real dog. Yeah, they're the same on some kind of level, but anybody who knows KNOWS! Bite the bullet. Wait a little while. When you have the money saved, go back where you belong. Vandersteens love tubes, and so do YOU. Do the right thing...
Hi Issabre; Like Nhorton, I personally like a good tube pre-amp with a good SS amp, and the CJ PV10AL would probably do it. Bi-amping would likely be tricky (and maybe unpredictable), and adding a Music Fidelity tube buffer adds another "box" and set of ICs. I used a Sonic Fontiers SFL-1 hybrid pre-amp, with NOS Mullard tube, McCormack DNA-1 amp, and Vand. 2Ce speakers for several years and was very happy with it. BTW, the SFL-1 has just one tube so tube rolling is inexpensive, but with the right tube, you have no doubt that you have a tube pre-amp-- rich, warm, detailed with the NOS Mullard tube. The SFL-1 can be had for $500-700., but if you sold your Aragon, you could stay within your budget? Good Luck. Craig
Thanks guys, I see you feel my pain. Never again (eyes downcast in shame). But perhaps not all is lost. I like the idea of going with a tube pre and using an ss amp. I was wondering if there are any difference in soundstage. when you use tubes in the pre instead of the amp. Do you still get the mosfet haze. Is that the trade off? I would think so.
You don't say what SS amp you plan to use, but my experience with several McCormack amps is that I've never heard it (I do have some HF hearing loss though). Its been my experience that tube type determines the size, shape, and character of the soundstage, but it can be huge with the right tubes. I put a set of premium NOS tubes in my SF Line 2 and got a huge-- but unnatural soundstage (I thought), and with a forward mid-range and reduced bass. I didn't like the effect, returned the tubes, and went back to the stock Sovteks-- sort of a flat soundstage but excellent tonality and PR&T. Good Luck. Craig.
Hi Craig, I'll be using my Perreaux 2150B. It's plenty powerful to give me the good tight bass. I think it does have a touch of Mosfet haze though. Sean, here on the site, has had some experience with perreaux gear and is hooking me up with a pair of his recommended interconnects and I'm going to see if that takes care of the glare. Other than that, I think the Perreaux is pretty good and might sound nice with a good warm sounding tube pre.
electrocompaniet components - both amps *and* preamps - don't have your typical solid-state glare or haze, imo...
Sedond, you are quite right about the Electrocompaniet components - no mosfet haze. That's because there's NO mosfets. They're bipolar. I guess it all depends on what you like. To my ears, there's two kinds of solid state. Those trying to sound like tubes(Adcom, previous generation Musical Fidelity, Muse), and those that don't(Electrocompaniet, McCormack, Mark Levinson). But while the ones using bipolar output transistors don't have have haze, they don't have warmth, bloom, or a tube's soul either. Bottom line, there is NO substitute for tubes. Conversely, tubes will NEVER do what ss does well either.
Issabre, I used Perraux 5150B with SFL2 and Martin Logan Sequal II, the bass is very fast and tight but the high is not detail and rich (the sound stage is kind of narrow)- I didn't know it until I changed the amp with SF power 3(originally I planned to use the Perraux for the bass and use the SF power 3 for the mid and above, but it's too difficult for me. So now I am just using power 3 without the SS.
I would go the electronic cross-over route. The cross-over frees the high frequency amp from producing the power demanding low frequency which the ss amp handles easily and the harmonics of the high end are preserved by the tube amp. Now the downside: The double amps make for a wiring and shelf storage nightmare. Hum can be a problem with double amps and you really do need that common ground. I have 3 systems all using electronic cross-overs and I wouldn't have it any other way. But wiring and finding room for every thing can be a bear.