If you look at my Avatar you may noticed that I am a big Musical fidelity fan. The A5 Integrated amps is my replacement to a Krell 400Xi!!! Many people may think I am mad but like MF's slogan really "hearing is believing"
As for Pre/power VS Integrated amps I would choose the latter! In the 80's thing are different back then and Pre/Power were a lot better than Integrated amps. Now a day, in most cases, it's just another clever way of manufacture to take your cash! Yes, there are many pre/power combo that will better the Integrated from the same company but would the sound improvement justify the extra cost?
The A5 Integrated amps pump out 250 W in to 8 ohms and nearly double that figure in to 4! that's is enough to keep most speakers on the planet under control. The sound is honest and clean with minimum footprint added, soundstage is more 3D than my old Krell if the bass doesn't go as low (what is?) Now a bit about interconnects and speakers cables. How can you have a rule of thump %?? Cables are part of system matching and if the £10 interconnects sound good with your system why spend anymore?? My system (MF A5, MF 308cr and Neat MF5) cost £8000 so do I need to spend £800 (10%) on the cables?? not a chance my friend. £200 is what I spended on them and if I need a an improvment on sound quality I will buy a new electronics!