I am very pleased with my Rogue Tempest Magnum at 42 watts in triode. Matched with my Von Schweikert 100db speakers, the Rogue has more than enough power. It is also very clean looking and the remote is minimal (just volume)and solid. The Rogue owners are very approachable and helpful. And, The Magnum Tempest retails at 2.8K which will save you some cash for other stuff.
Eyal s8-I really haven't heard a lot of amps in that range so the best I can do is recommend the Ayre AX-7-$3K and possibly can be picked up cheaper. Very well built with excellent binding posts-I think there's photo's in the classifieds on Audiogon. The sound oozes clarity and detail but also has fantastic bass. I listen to a wide variety of music and it handles them all well.
Plinius 8200MK2. Not sure what your speakers but it bests with heavy loads such as Thiel or JM-lab. Used one is sold for less than $2k and will give you more room for speakers or even analogue since it has a phono.
One of the best, if not THE best, integrated amps on the market today is the Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista 300, which is reviewed in the most recent issue of TAS. The Tri-Vista 300 has a superb preamp section, and the power amp is rated at 350 wpc. Unfortunately, it sells for $6000. If you have the time and patience to try to find a used model or a demo, it's worth considering.
Eyal S8 I have compared the Belles 250i to good number of amps most of which cost 2 or 3 times more in price. All were well known brands and they all were easily outperformed.The Belles sounds sweet,open,transparent and spacious. It's seperated power supply is a feature you normally find in amps in the mega buck range. The preamp section has a tube stage only 1 or 2 I think. I do not own this product but if I was in the market this is the one I would buy. The price retail is $3000 and the power is 125/125. Oh yes, it looks great.
I clearly see that with your speakers you will definitely benefit from separates or high-powered integrated which I'd pessimistically say not always has a true specs especially powerwise. If you go with McCormack separates DNA225 and its passive pre TLC1 you'll be in budget and they're not spacey if that is the issue.
Never heard your speakers(well only Bach monitors from that line) but 8200 always seemed to me to bring plenty enough details and clarity + you never feel the lack of power. In this case SIM I5 is much brighter than Plinius may work great with your speakers.
I've been running an Electrocompaniet ECI-4 Signature Edition. Very nice integrated amp, especially if your after a more tubey, warmer, smooth, sound. Excellent imaging, along with good bass slam, this one does it for me.
Krell KAV 300-iL if you want fast, clean, and transparent. The sound is the result of Krell's use of its current-mode gain topology, trickled down from its FBP line of amps and Current Tunnel preamp, in a now fully-balanced preamp section. Basically, you're getting CAST technology between the amp and pre section. Very clean; very low noise floor. Of course, some dislike the Krell sound, but it's certainly not tubelike.
the gryphon was paired with Pieag 10 speakers and the Gryphon CD player...very analog sounding with huuuuge soundstage and a very dark background...smooth midrange with tremendous bass response...i wish i had the money to buy one...i saw one used on here about 1 week ago for something like $4300...
The Gryphon equipment is very detailed w/ a great soundstage. I absolutely love my preamp by them (even though it has no remote). If you have the chance to hear one of the Callisto integrateds or the older Tabu I think you'll never want to upgrade...unless it's to Gryphon separates ;).
As a dealer I spend much of my time listening, evaluating and discussing equipment. The integrated that should be at the top of your list is the Belles Power Modules 250i. This is a hybrid using a 12au7 in the preamp section with a 120 watt solid state amp. It provides the best sonic qualities of both worlds. It has an outboard power supply separating the transformer from the circuit boards. A non-fatiguing natural, highly musical amp that emotionally connects the listener to the music. The difference between hearing and feeling the performance. It looks as good as it sounds!
I suggest you listen to the McIntosh MA6900 integrated amplifier (http://www.mcintoshlabs.com/. Everyone, including me, has their opinion of what sounds good. You are getting many suggestions from this posting. However, you are going to have to make a decision based on your "listening experience in your own system" and not mine. In addition, the selection of a CD player and speakers will also influence your integrated amplifier choices. cheers...
I'm currently using a Krell S-550i Integrated Amp. to power a pair of Wilson Audio Sasha 2 Spkrs. in a large room and it sounds very good, with excellent dynamics, micro-detail, imaging, and deep bass, plus plenty of good clean power.
I recently ran a $7,500- Pass Labs INT-150 against it and the Krell performed far better across-the-board, with what seemed like twice the power - it was no contest.
The Krell S-550i reminds me more of my previous Pass Labs X1 and X250.5 combo. than the INT-150 did, it's that good and could be had for well-under your budget.