• WARNING: Tube/Valve amplifiers use potentially LETHAL HIGH VOLTAGES.
    Building, troubleshooting and testing of these amplifiers should only be
    performed by someone who is thoroughly familiar with
    the safety precautions around high voltages.

Help with tube preamp for solid-state setup

I'm a lead guitarist, and I run an erratic amplifier setup- I use A/V equipment to run my guitar through. I love the distinct sounds I can get from it, however, it lacks the growl and smoothness that can only be obtained by pushing tubes. I'll try to describe my setup:

I run my Gibson Les Paul into a J-Station (made by Johnson Amplification); designed to be used for studio recording, it offers the amplifier simulations I amplify through the rest of the setup.

I run this into my receiver, a Pioneer VSX-4800. This was handed down to me, and I may choose to upgrade in the future, but for now it serves its purpose well enough.

My speakers are my setup's bragging rights. I use Realistic Mach Ones- these speakers are killer. They date back to the early 80's- $239 each from Radio Shack. They are liquid cooled, with a frequency response of 25~20,000Hz. Handles 160watts peak, sys. resonance of 65Hz. Crossover @ 1.2kHz and 4.5kHz. Uses a 15" acoustic suspension, 35oz magnet woofer with brass voice coil. Midrange by a mulitcellular ferrofluid-cooled horn midrange speaker. Treble by an extended range high compliance ferrofluid-cooled horn tweeter. Enclosure consists of oiled walnut veneer sealed for bass response.

Anyway, back to the point of this post- I'm asking for suggestions on how to improve my existing setup. What I hope to do is to add a tube preamp in between the J-station and the Pioneer receiver. If anyone can give me some tips, suggestions, etc., I am open to them. Thanks!
I am very ignorant of guiter amplification.

That being said, if your J-station is capable of driving your amp to full scale without a preamp, you could consider using one of these as a buffer. Single ended, gain would be about unity, and by playing with B+ and the current sink (just change resistors) you could probably get a range of tube sounds, from pure to starved.