Think I want a tube system?

I've haven't listened to a tube system in 30 or 40 years. (I'm retired). I have several general questions. I hope y'all (South Alabama) will help me. I have a fair solid state power amp (Onkya M-504 165w per channel) No pre amp.
Which is the most important a tube pre amp or a tube power amp or both tubes. I would like to keep the power amp, but would sell if necessary. My second question is a little more complicated. If I play music from cds or internet download, isn't that digital. If I recall,digital is not an analog wave form but samples taken along it's path to reproduce an analog wave. The more samples the closer to analog. However, many people felt that no mater how many samples were taken, the nuance of a pure sound wave would be lost. If this is the case, what can tubes give me if my source is digital. Back to vinyl? Even then do they now record digital? I hope this is wrong.
You might want to look at Class D amplification.
"If I recall,digital is not an analog wave form but samples taken along it's path to reproduce an analog wave. The more samples the closer to analog."

This is a misconception about how digital audio works. The final signal that comes out of a CDP or DAC is as analog as anything else.

Tubes can give you what they would give anyone: a larger, more dimensional soundstage; a warmer, more liquid midrange; greater weight and texture in the midbass, etc.
CDs were a big part of the reason I got into tubes. I found almost all cds way to harsh and shrill sounding, This was sound I had never had with records.Then the chase began. How do I get rid of this awefull harsh sound ? I went with several CD players as they got better and each was a big help, but the sound was still too clincal with most SS amps, so that is when I discovered how great tubes sound with CDs. A few solid state amps do sound real good, but for the most part tubes will be better than solid state costing 4 or 5 times more.
On your amplifier question;what speakers are you driving?
A lot of people pair a tube pre amp with solid state power amps and find the combination to be very enjoyable;I was on of those people early on but did eventually move to both tube pre amp and power amps.
Look into a used Cayin 100 or 88. Great value, great sound. Check out the cayin site at cayinusa.
For an excellent tube set-up a Leben Integrated tube amp would be a good start, although there are other fine integrated tube amps. Along with a relatively easy to drive speaker system, such as Harbeth, Devore, Vaughn (direct-buy), Coincident Technologies (direct buy), and you would have a killer system. If you get a good cd or sacd/cd player, or even a universal player would help, as would a good turntable and cartridge, if you are interested in getting into vinyl.

Of course, everything depends on your budget, so in order to give you better direction, that information would be necessary.
I am firmly in the SS power, tube pre camp. I dont believe I have heard that onkyo model, but they built it forever and it gets a lot of good press. If your speakers need that kind of grunt, I think you would be dissappointed going to an integrated, and high power tube amps can chew up expensive tubes. So try a tube pre for sure, then the question becomes how much do you want to spend and does it need to have a phono stage or would you do that later and separate. Also some caution is advised in having a one box pre with an onboard MC phono stage, they can be noisy.

Also consider a tube cdp.

Most of the new vinyl these days is recorded digitally but there are still some artists and labels dedicated to true analogue recording. On the other hand there's a ton of ways to buy used vinyl. I used to sneer at thrift store and flea market vinyl but I learned that a lot of the records were in nicer shape than a lot of my own and have found lots of good vinyl for a buck or less. They key is dropping in on a day when the right collection has been donated. I have probably bought somewhere around 1300 used lps in the past few years and a lot of them wont make their way to my TT until I retire likely. Happy retirement!
I think your speaker choice might be the determining factor as to whether or not a tube amp is the way to go.
You will find most of the tube sound comes from the power amp.
Hifihvn, I disagree with you. I think that the preamp is a MAJOR factor in where your sound comes from. Get the preamp wrong and the rest is history.
BUT with the right preamp and the wrong amp, well you may get an acceptable sound. IMHO, a good tube preamp is a very good building block in which to start.
Agree with Hifihvn. I would go with (and have) SS preamp and tube amp over the other way around..
Daveyf, I couldn't disagree with you more.
Unsound, you might want to try a great tube preamp in your system and then get back to me.
Tom, take your very nice BAT preamp out and replace it with a cold ss preamp and I would be interested to see what you would think then, OTOH, leave the BAT in the system and replace the tube amps with a ss amp. I suspect you would way prefer the latter. Just IMHO..:0)
The input impedance of the Onkyo is 20k Ohm, at least according to this info:

This will probably sound too lean with many tube preamps.
Thank you everybody for the help. I probably will buy a good tube preamp and try from there. I didn't mention my speakers are mg1 magnaplaners and they need a lot of power, but my wife hates them. She wants aesthetic value and I want good sound. Since she has lived with the mags for a while. Maybe I should lean towards aesthetics but still have sound. What would ya'll suggest.
I'm not sure how anyone can make any recommendation at all unless you list what speakers you have or plan to use.

IMO - Clearly, the "tube sound" comes from the interaction between the amplifier and the speakers, not having tubes in the chain.
Sebrof, FWIW, while it is true that tubes manage speakers differently from transistors, you can hear their effects elsewhere in the signal chain. Tubes sound the way they do because they more closely follow the rules of human hearing than transistors. Most notably, they are more linear, and so require less feedback, perhaps none at all, and they make less odd-ordered harmonics at any signal level.
Daveyf, you might want to try a flea powered SET on some Apogee Full Range's and then get back to me.
Thanks Atma. I can only speak from my own experiences, which are much more limited than yours. I owned a tube pre and SS amp, and then a tubes all the way system. While I heard the effect of the tube pre, the tube power amp made much more of a difference for me.
If we listen to music from the late 60s till now,the odds are transistors are already in the chain.I'm not saying forget about tube preamps,but still,I've heard most of the tube sound,or "tube magic" occur at the power amp stage.
Umm Unsound, I think that you may be a little confused... SET's are amps(usually)and my argument is that the Preamp section is more important. Sure SET wouldn't drive Apogees; BUT then neither would most any other tube amp or ss amp for that matter.
So this reference seems somewhat illogical to me.
Have you actually heard a great tube preamp?...Somehow, I seriously doubt it, which is why I suggest that you do so. Maybe then you could debate the differences. I own both a tube preamp and a tube amp and a ss amp. The tube preamp is by far and away the biggest variable. Sure a tube amp sounds different than a ss amp. ( generally speaking) BUT if I were to replace my tube preamp with a typical ss preamp, then ( and BTW I have done this) the sound changes drastically. I suppose YMMV.
I own a couple of Onkyo M-504's (although I usually use them in my hometheater)......not bad amps, but don't sound nearly as good as my Rogue Audio tube amps.

Of the speakers I own, and use a lot (Apogee Duetta Signature, VMPS Supertower/R, and Klipsch several smaller speakers).

The tube amps sound better than the Onkyo amps on all of them. In fairness to the Onkyo....the tube amps sound better than the two Krell amps that proceeded them (Ksa-250 and Kav-500).

Note: Old school tubes sound nothing like new school don't buy what you don't want, (you are the person that will need to be happy after all).

Daveyf, The reference logically points out how important the amp(s) to speaker(s) interface is. I don't understand how you could make such an assumption. I have heard many top tube pres.
Daveyf is the confused poster here.

A tube amplifier, provided it is well matched with the speaker, will have a greater influence on the "tube sound" than any other tube component in the system.

In all fairness, he may prefer the sonic character of a tubed preamp in his system but the amplifier/speaker combination has a far greater impact on the "tube sound".
Yes a tube preamp makes a significant contribution to the overall sound of a system. But based on my experience I have to agreed with the majority here, tube power amps have a greater influence in providing the fundamental tube character of a system than do preamps. I understand your own experiences have drawn different conclusions.