There is for sure a difference in insturment amps between tube and solid state, especially something with they harmonic density and complexity like a violin. Perhaps not in home audio, so my bad. I could care less about how it looks, I want it to be un fussy and easy to use. I agree on the kef speakers, I have always loved them. It would be useful if I could ask a few questions: 1. What size & shape is the room you will listen to the stereo in? 2. Is there value in having some multi-channel or video capabilities like HDMI or Blu-Ray? 3. How pretty do the speakers have to be for your significant other?