You might need to give a little more information as to your purchase. I would prefer using a tube preamp and s.s. amp, but you might also want to try the newer tube ARC equipment; LS 8mkII,16,25 and VT100mkII. You will be surprised at what you hear if setup correctly; I wouldn't think that those combinations would be too mellow. I think the answer to your last question is "it depends on the equipment you are deciding on." I have found that by using a better preamp with the same amp made a significant difference, in terms of transparency, depth, detail, etc. Let your ears decide. Hope that helps. Good luck.
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