A multi-channel amp approach that is musical

Is anyone familiar with a multi-channel amp what they have heard for an extended period of time that sounds ... well like music. I'm in the market for one for around 1200-1800 used. Any thoughts. Would 3, 2 channel amps work better with a better amp driving the front speakers (with the gain adjusted to match)? I don't need much power as I'm using PSB Platinum speakers for all 5 channels. I'm even considering 5, Quick Silver Mini-Mite monos. Another thought is an EAD 500.
I use a Pass Labs X-5 and find it great for both HT and multi-channel music (5.1 SACD and DVD-A). I upgraded from a Rotel 1075 and the difference is enormous. However, I also switched from single ended to balanced connections to which I also attribute some of the change.
For your budget I would look for a Anthem MCA-50.


And yes, 3 2-Channel amps are better and 5 mono-blocks even better yet. The reason for this is complete isolation of signal and independent power supplies for each channel. Cable runs may also be optimized. The main drawback is you now need 5 power outlets and ground loops could be introduced if amps are located around the room. Advantage is that you can build a sytem over time. You could save a bit if you bought smaller amps for surround speakers. Still, it will probably cost more than a multi-channel amp in the end.

Your Quick Silver idea is good, but for home theater will probably fall short in bottom end dynamics. If you are going for multi-cahnnel audio then this would be a good direction.

Some other solid state ideas would be to look at Monarchy Audio, White Audio Labs, Llano or older McCormack. They all have small monoblock models and stereo models you could mix together to get a full system. The McCormack Micro amps can be bridged so you can get one for the center (bridged) and one for surrounds (stereo). Find a DNA .5 deluxe for the L/R and you are set.

For a bit more "musicality" you could look at Blue Circle. This is a hybrid design with tube input and SS output. They make muti-channel amps as well. Price is going to be higher however. Older Counterpoint could be another budget hybrid option. There are reliability issues, but repair is available. Llano also made some hybrid amps, but I have not seen many on Audiogon lately.

Good luck,

EAD Powermaster 1000.
I've always thought my Linn AV5125 ws very musical.
PSB dealer here. The Parasounds will drive these nicely and both series from Parasound are very musical.
I have a Classe CAV180.
5 channels of 180 watts per channel
Sounds fine by me
I use a Proceed Amp 2 that drives KEF 104/2s for stereo, and add a Proceed Amp 3, KEF 102/2s, and KEF 200C for HT. A Velodyne HGS-15 is crossed over at 40 Hz. The pre-pro is a Proceed PAV/PDSD combination. I'm very happy with the sound for both music and HT. Nearly all bought via Audiogon, and all bought used at a fraction of the MSRP!


I have a Sherbourn 5/1500A. It has 5 mono amp sections @ 200wpc. It has gotten good reviews for its audio quality. I think it sounds great. Weighs 80 pounds.
I have a B&K 200x5, and to be honest, I am very happy with it. However, I have wondered the same thing: What is my ultimate goal for an amp? One that is true to music and still runs my system in 5.1 for movies?
Looking around at the options, and keeping price IN the equation since I have a family and a working man's income, I decided my next (and hopefully last) amp will be a Cary Cinema. Check out Cary. I think you have to spend a lot more money to find as musical a multi channel amp.
Believe it or not, but my EAD 500 powermaster drives a Martin Logan Theatre centre, a pair of CLS 11z front and a pair of CLS 11z rears.The processor is an EAD theatremaster encore and a Martin Logan Depth sub and a Paradigm 1000 sub round out the rest.DVD is an EAD as well.I have had this system for over 6 years and never had a volume issue or any component failure.