If Emotiva stuck the exact same amp as their differential balanced amp in a fancy Dagostino chassis and marked it up 10x, people would be loving it.
Actually, scratch that...the ripoff Dagostino broke on the test bench 2 times in a Stereophile review. I think the Emotiva would fair even better.
Very few amps are worth more than $5k and when you pay more than $5k, it's mainly for the chassis and heatsinks not actual parts. Plus, half the markup is due to the distributor and another half for the dealer.
They also add a premium to trigger people's perception that high cost equals high performance...something that Payless Shoes just exposed in a recent test where they simply marked up their normal shoes 10x and fooled everyone.
Unless you are getting something revolutionary like the Berning amps that nobody else can make (albeit still overpriced), I would recommend Emotiva for virtually any budget if you are buying brand new.
And yes..I have heard/owned many of the other major amps ARC, McIntosh, Parasound, etc and tons of others over the years.
My ultimate favorite for best performance and price is a modified McCormack, but that's off subject.