Tube Amps

I am real novice when it comes to tubes
I am fascinated by their appearance and really would like to own one. I have a fairly decent understanding of solid states but when it comes to the tubes I feel lost. I would like some decent recomendation on an amp of about $1500. How user friendly are they, what should I look out much ownership headache is there vis a vis maintainance and upkeep on the tubes etc. Are they worth the bother over a quality solid state component
Many thanks in advance
What type of music do you generally listen to? That also will play a big part in whether or not the tubes will be appropriate for your tastes, and help pinpoint which tube amps you might want to consider.

Let us know what kind of music you generally listen to, and I'm sure that you will get plenty of excellent recommendations that would fit the bill.
All the best,

thanks for the follow up
i love vintage jazz...coltrane, chestnut,sandoval,billy taylor and of course krall and recently cincotti
i do like classical music...but not much orchestral or opera. Mainly piano and vilolin
and of course i do rock every so often...floyd,eagles and ray vaughn,etc
that is the spectrum of music i enjoy
like i said these amps have an enourmous appeal to me on the visual basis..favorites Mcintosh 2000(i believe) and like the looks of BAT units. Also any tubes come in class A outputs?
many thanks for your help
I would take a look at the Quicksilver mono blocks that allow you to put in different types of output tubes...KT88,EL34,6L6 and others, providing you have enough power. This way you can 'listen' to various types as well as brands of tubes. Not the easiet to set up but then again definitely not the hardest. Also Quicksilver's sound pretty good too! Oh yes, Quicks also hold the resale value.
As Alex & Sdcampbell both said, the Quicksilver products are superb. Their Mini-Mono's have a very open sound, eerily close to that of SET (single ended triode), which has an intimate, holographic midrange. You can use a variety of tubes with them, and they are self-biasing. They would easily power your system in that 12 x 12 room, and if you like them, I would suggest trying them out with a more efficient speaker. It would be worth your time to hear them with an older Klipsch Heresy or Forte, especially on the music that you like.
There is a pair of Mini-Monos for sale at $525 here (they usually go for $700 or so). They are exceptionally good amps. You can pick up one of their preamps for around $500-600 used, and even if you play around with NOS tubes and upgraded power cords, you will be well under your budget.

Another superb amp is the Audiomat Arpege. Incredibly musical, and about $1250-1400 used).

Also, If you have not heard SET amps, and you like class A, I would recommend giving them an audition. Like many people, my wife and I became completely addicted to their holographic midrange. You will experience their full benefit with a more efficient speaker, particularly because many of them are between 3 and 12 watts, but they sound absolutely magical. We generally play our 7W SET with our 104db horns, but with our 95db Silverline speakers, Pink Floyd etc. sounds fantastic. However, it's with jazz, vocals and classical that they really shine.
Hope this helps.

SirJun.. if you can come up with another 400-500 dollars,you can get a used BAT VK-60 and that will set you home free for a long long time..good luck..