Tube or not to tube?

I am new to the hobby and would like some input. I am seriously considering moving to a tube-integrated amp (new or used)like the PrimaLuna II or the Jolida 502. Currently I have the NAD Combo 162/272. Would I be upgrading my system with either of the tubes? Or am I just moving sideways?
You'll be moving in a different direction. Perhaps up. Why not purchase one of the used Prologue 2 integrateds that come up for sale and try it in your system. If you don't care for it, you'll be able to resell easily.

Your speakers will be a determining factor, however. IMO, anything below 89db/6 ohm minimum will best be powered with 150+ wpc solid state, and not a tube integrated amp.
Check out the Cayin line. Incredible build quality and looks with magical sound to match. It should be a very dramatic improvement over your NAD given you have ample power.
A move up. No question.
If possible, try to audition one or two tubed units versus a couple of solid state units before you make a final decision. The "tube heads" usually respond strongly to posts like yours, and I have no particular quarrel with them -- our hobby IS about choices and personal sound preferences.

There are strong points that can be argued for both tube and solid state, and the best of each type sound increasingly alike (the better aspects of tube, plus the better aspects of solid state reproduction). To an extent the "best choice" will be dependent on three pertinent factors: the loudspeakers you will be using; the other audio gear in your reproduction chain; and your room acoustics (maybe the MOST significant factor.

In my earlier years as an audiophile, I owned tube gear (Fisher, Marantz, H.H. Scott, etc.), but in the late 1980's I made the switch to solid state. I have not regretted the decision (although, as you will note if you look at the description of my system in the "virtual systems" section, you will see that I do have a pair of Musical Fidelity X-10 tube output buffers).

As a point to consider, you might be interested in a conversation that I had recently with one of the owners of Definitive Audio (the oldest and largest high-end audio dealer in Seattle). He said that Definitive Audio carries very little tube equipment any more, and that he has replaced all of the tube gear in his system with solid state. The specific reason he said he made this decision (for both the business and his own system) is that there are relatively few manufacturers of vacuum tubes, and that quality control varies rather widely (which makes it more expensive to select only the best performing tubes).

I am not trying to "sell" you on tubes or solid state -- simply urging to get more information on the pros and cons of each, and do some extended listening before you make a buying decision (preferably with in-home auditions).
You might also consider a hybrid int. amp. Might be the best of both worlds. I have an aa prima...40wpc...single 6922 in the pre/mosfet amp. Good base slam, sweet mids and highs without loss of detail. I like mine a lot. They come up for sale used on here on occasion for about $600.
In a nutshell...tubes (like some women) are high maintenance, but tubes have a sound character that some find pleasant. You should find out if you like this sound before investing a huge sum of money. Unles you just enjoy tinkering around with electronic stuff, in which case tubes are for you.
Musicrover, timing is everything. Check the classifieds under tube integrated. I am selling my Audion Sterling. It slays the integrateds you have mentioned, plus I am including tubes to die for. Check it out. It's a great deal. peace, warren
Match your amp to your speakers. Do your homework.
Tube amps are great and definitely worth trying out.

A note on your choice of speakers. A number of posters incorrectly consider speaker sensitivity as the most important factor when choosing a speaker for tube amps. This is not the case. With a tube amp you need to select a speaker with a benign impedance curve across the frequency range. A speaker that has a big variance in impedance across its frequency range will give a tube amp a very hard time.

I drive speakers rated at 88db per meter with a 12wpc amp to very loud levels with no hint clipping. They are designed to be used with tube amps and have a very flat impedance curve.

Thank you for all your input so far. Listed below is a link to the speakers i currently use:

i am grappling with the same question. everytime i get the urge to thro a grand into tubes, i just turn on my rig., i invested in a tube audio design tad-150 preamp awhile ago when they were available and the combination of 200 wpc ss and a nice tube preamp gives you such a nice sound with very little of the maintenance issues that come into play with tubes, and you can drive any speaker you want.

so try a tube preamp with what you have.
IMO, you should have no problem driving your Emma loudspeakers (86db/1w/1m, 8 ohm minimum) with a Prologue 2 or similar push-pull tube integrated as long as you are listening at moderate volumes not exceeding 95db.
Tube amps don't require herculean efforts nor advanced degrees, but they do require one to use sufficiently appropriate speakers in order to achieve a listening experience that goes far beyond what you've experienced with SS, though many would disagree. It's the best audio move I ever made, and I don't intend to return to SS. Lots of nice amps available, so do some web research, do some Googling, check out some of the Audiogon virtual systems.
if I do try a tube amp like the Primaluna can I use my NAD 162 pre-amp? cd player and turntable connection.
11-24-06: Musicrover
if I do try a tube amp like the Primaluna can I use my NAD 162 pre-amp? cd player and turntable connection.

I'm not sure I understand the question about being able to use your CD player and turntable connection.

You can certainly use your CD player with the Prologue 2, and if the Prologue 2 has the phono card, then you can use your turntable.

Since the Prologue 2 is an integrated amp, then you don't need to use your NAD preamp. Whether you can use it if you choose to use it is not a question I can answer. I suggest you look at the info on the Upscale Audio website.
Sorry, I was looking at the prmia and the joida and I did not see either had a phono input. Just a cd,tape, aux. I do have a nice collection of lp's (IMO), In my wed surfing I have come across tube imtergrated amps need a per-amp for phono so, If I come across a unit with just an aux input can I use my current pre-amp?
If I come across a unit with just an aux input can I
use my current pre-amp?
Musicrover  (Threads)
If you want to use your NAD preamp, then buy an amplifier, not an integrated amplifier.

11-25-06: Musicrover
Sorry, I was looking at the prmia and the joida and I did not see either
had a phono input. Just a cd,tape, aux.
The Prologue 2 integrated amplifier can be ordered with a phono stage.
Here's the link:

This is pretty basic research. Easy and fast to do.
I recently worked in a high end store. The best results we to use a tube preamp with a MOSFET solid state amp. Best of both worlds. Tube preamp tubes last alot longer than tube amp tubes by 3x or so, and they are much cheaper than amp tubes.
If I were you I would buy a nice tube pre..use it with your NAD amp (bipolar I believe). You will be blown away by the musicality-listenability. Then step up your amp to a MOSFET type, you will then be awash in tube-like sound. The bipolar amp will deliver tighter and stronger bass but the MOSFET amp will better duplicate tube like bass and distortion quality. However you want it.
Christobyl, That sounds intriguing, However I am new to the hi fi world and am a bit lost. If I may review with you:

Tube preamp (would need to purchase) Something like this? Rogue audio 66 Tube Preamp
NAD 272 amp (currently own)
MOSFET amp S.S. (would need to purchase) Something like this? Aes cary SET Ii single ended mosfet amp.

Again thanks for the input
I would suggest that you go with an all tube integrated first . Then you can compare it to your present SS system and make a decision . I think that doing the hybrid thing or tube-pre and mosfet/SS amp will put you only part of the way there . Experience both 'extremes' and then adjust back to the middle ground , if you desire !
The Prima Luna Prologue 2 is a good decision as the maintaince thing is virtually nill with the auto bias feature !
go with tubes. an mfa luminescence and a cj mv125. this is tube heaven with lots of body, lushness and color, like a carmel sundae with whipped cream.
Musicrover..the rogue preamp is a good one. There are many other brands, tube equipment these days is all made pretty well, since they appeal to the highend ($) crowd. We carried conrad johnson..a very good brand. I think one of the best values out there is a Conrad Johnson PV10..used, as they are no longer made. I would focus on looks, remote capability, and try to find a good review on it.
As far as the amp... bipolar amps are usually built to amplify current..they sound powerful, usually at the expense of ultimate warmth/musicality. Your NAD is this type I believe. MOSFET amps usually amplify voltage, which makes them sound more warm/musical at the expense of ultimate bass power performance. MOSFET is similar in this respect to a tube amp.
To illustrate this point..Conrad Johnson makes a solid state amp MF2500 which uses MOSFET input stage and bipolar output stage, this amp reaps the advantages of both types of transistors. This amp sounds awesome..I preferred it to the Krell and Linn amps we sold. Most amps have the input and output stages consisting of the same type of transistor, the MF2500 is rare in this regard.
I read about the NAD 272 and it has input level controls on it! This is perfect for matching it to any tube preamp. I would buy a nice tube pre, connect it to the NAD, adjust the NAD level controls down so the preamp volume knob is turned up as much as possible during listening. This will give you the best dynamic range. Normally, you have to be a little careful when matching different brand preamps and amps because of this issue..but your amp has variable inputs so you're golden.
You can replace your amp with a MOSFET type..this will be more tube like. I believe a single ended MOSFET amp is a class A type...which will sound better than a class A/B type, but total output power will be lower with the class A and will be hot to the touch, warm up your room, and waste power.
We had people return tube amps saying they didn't have enough power (bass) for their needs. If you listen to classical/jazz and have efficient speakers, tube amps will do fine. If you listen to rock/dance and have inefficient speakers solid state amps will do better. System matching can make or break a system.
Hope this helps. Enjoy your adventure!
Thank you Christobl, All that information is helpful and thanks again for the time. I think after all the input I am going with a used Jolida 502b (Found a great deal) and give tubes a try, My thought was (prompted by Saki70) to go all the way with a small budget unit and see how I like the sound. I also like the idea of listing to the unit for awhile and maybe trying different types of tubes. I am fortunate enough to keep my NAD system and try something new and or perhaps sell some of the equipment at a later date or keep it and build a second system.
The jolida stuff is actually wonderful sounding. You will be stunned at the difference compared to NAD. Enjoy the tubeness..many never go back! :)