I'd pick recessed sounding of the two. One amp might be "mos-fet" and the other "bi-polar." I really like my Adcom 5002 which is "bi-polar." Different sounding than the mos-fet Rotel amp I used previously.
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That depends on why the amplifier takes on the stage that it does. Warm bold forward sound turns me off as does a lazy laid back tone. However I'm happy with either dynamic & sparkly or a neutral 'just the facts' presentation.
In point so long as the midrange doesn't overpower the other bands I'd declare a slight preference for forward.
Everything I listen to sounds different…generally good to great (since I have fabulous taste and reference grade gear…whatever that means) with forward or not or middling or something else sound. All different, generally recorded in vastly differing venues or studios by different people, with differing styles of music…this is what great hifi is…exposing differences in recordings through allowing detail to get out there. If things start sounding similar, you're in big trouble. Or small trouble…some kind of trouble...