I finally managed to get a new amplifier an Audiolab 8000a from ebay. I wired it up last night with my new speaker cables (The Chord Company Carnival Silver Screen) and I've been enjoying discovering our music collection again.
As I mentioned in an earlier comment, I'm pretty familiar with this Audiolab model, because my Dad had one for years. In fact, I'd even heard it with my current speakers, because they also used to belong to my Dad. What I wasn't quite prepared for was how much my old amp must have been deteriorating over the last 6 months or so, because I was blown away by the quality of this amp. It gives an enormous amount of what we audiophiles call 'wellie' (a technical term, you understand). So much so that I had to dive for the volume control because I wasn't prepared for what would come out of the speakers. The volume knob starts at about the 7 o'clock position, and 9 o'clock is more than enough to fill the room. The sound is gloriously transparent, so I can hear the wonderful warm quality of my Rega Planet CD player, as well as the totally different quality of the AR turntable. In short, all the sources sound different, which is just as it should be. The speaker cables probably need a little while to bed down, but I'm very happy with it.
I like a nicely balanced sound, but it is nice to hear properly weighty base again. When I was testing the system out yesterday, I played a few tracks from 'Knives to the Treble' by Burning Babylon via the SliMP3. A huge grin spread over my face, and I ran to get Mr. Bsag, dragging him into the living room. "Sit down here and feel the sofa vibrate!" It wasn't overdone, just very, very deep.