what pre amp and amp setup to buy

i am looking to get a new pre amp and amp for my vienna acoustics strauss's. i am wooking with about 8k but would consider spending more if the improvement warents it. my current setup is adcom pre and adcom amp(150w) both were a hand me down, while my cd player is a rotel which i hope to change to a t+a or primare or simaudio moon. the cables are all analysis plus silver oval. i listen to lots of ambient electronic type music (sasha, flunk, etc) and some house, all the way to sarah mac., and any other female vocalist. actually i will listen to almost anything. please give me any advice possible.

ps. have heard the jeff rowland 201's with the newest rowland preamp with my speakers and was pretty impressed but i think the setup was off because they sounded a bit to boomy at times.

thanks - d
I've used the 201's and I own the Rowland Synergy IIi (running on Battery) and it's not boomy. If you like the combo, check out your room accoustics.. www.rivesaudio.com (use the room calc to see where your bass modes are) or www.realtraps.com and get some treatment to tighen up the bass. This made a huge improvement in my system and I'm still not done getting all the treatment.

Then after acoustics are addressed, look at cabling and your CDP.
Well, the most commonly repeated truth here and elsewhere must be stated again: use your own ears. This is especially so since you are considering buying new, and spending a healthy chunk of cash. There are a plethora of audio shops which would love to spend time with you. Listen to what they have, and perhaps ask to take things home for the night.

Now, I have my own tastes and biases, and based on these I strongly encourage you to at least listen to the combination of a Linn Exotik preamp ($3200) and a Linn 2250 amp ($3300). If you like pristine clarity and realism, combined with great pace and timing - for me the backbone of any worthwhile musical experience - these must be auditioned. (While youÂ’re at it, listen to an Ikemi cd player.) But whatever you decide, you also might seriously want to consider spending more on your CD player and less on amp and preamp. I was a slow convert, but it has been clearly demonstrated to my ears that the source (digital or analog) is what makes the audio experience musical and involving. Good preamps and amps are essential once you have done the best you can in chosing the source, but in audio can never make up for what is lost upstream.

But to restate: listen, listen, listen. Don't trust what you read very much at all, even here, and perhaps especially in Stereophile. If you are like me, you will be surprised how much of what is recommended, even lauded, you end up thinking is exceptionally disappointing (take a dubious bow, Mark Levinson!)
I ran Vienna Acoustics Mahlers with Rowland Model 6 monos for about two years. Compared to the Bryston 4B-ST and then VAC 140 monos that I had previously paired with those speakers, the Rowlands were much better than the Bryston and somewhat better than the VAC's. Overall, the Rowland amps really made the Mahlers sing (good lord was that set-up powerful and musical).

The Model 6's (and Model 8ti and 9ti) are very different (superior) from Rowland's new budget line of 201 and 501 components, however, featuring much better parts quality and battery power supplies, so I don't know if this information is of any use to you.

As for preamp, I use a Rowland Coherence II in my main system and its faults are few. I understand that the Synergy IIi is very close for a lot less money. Again, I can't comment upon Rowland's new budget line of preamps ("Concerto"?), but I am quite certain the Synergy IIi is better.

The critical match will be amp to speakers, and having owned Mahlers, I know that the big Vienna models need to be paired with the right amplifier -- that is where you should concentrate your efforts.

Hope this helps.
Raquel: The Rowland Coherence II is an excellent preamp, and if you get the custom cable from Rowland to run the Synergy IIi off of batteries you get 90-95% of the Coherence II but with two Optoma Batteries (see my system) instead of the beautiful Rowland battery back that the Coherence uses. The new Rowland preamps do not use an external powersupply but I'm sure are still quite good but also less expensive. Get a Synergy IIi if you can find one, and the 501 will sound better than the 201 (which didn't have enough midbass control for my WP7's, but the 501 are suppose to)

The comment about a good front end CDP is also extremly valid.