How about Aragon? I went from an a200 to a 2004mkii and the difference in smoothness was incredible. Much more refined.
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Check out a used Rotel RB-1070(130 wpc) or RB-1080(200wpc) in the $400-675 range. While Rotel's preamps tend to be on the hard/sterile side of neutral, I found their amps to be very, very, good for the money. I owned the 980BX about 6-7 years ago and it was great with slightly warm speakers.
Also look into used Marsh A200 amp(200wpc).