If your hero is Karsh use hot lights or use a fresnel attachment (e.g. from Bowens for Bowens strobes)for strobes. Hot lights are still the fav tools of some photographers Roversi likes them (uses strobes since he went digital), Peter Lindbergh uses HMI (can be substituted with Tungsten lights). Hot lights are often cheaper than their Strobe equivalents. Get a set of old Moles and you can get a good approximation of Karsh's lightning. The Karsh look is also a result of some heavy retouching. The best light is natural daylight (overcast) and some light modifiers after all a softbox is nothing but a desperate attempt to copy the light of an overcast day. I also agree with jp498 Mortensen's "Pictorial Lighting" is a great read and this guy really knew his stuff. I like Bowens Monolights and Elinchrom for their lower prices they both also have fresnel lens kits in their product range.