Cal Audio Labs MCA 2500.
I would agree with Sacman about the CAL MCA-2500. It is a great amp with more power than you will ever need, actually bench testing at 1,000+ wpc @ 2 channels driven.
That being said, Cal repair is spotty at best, but still available as I understand it. The biggest draw back to the Cal is the speaker connections. It only has nuetrik connections, which are a GREAT way to connect speaker cables, but you will have to modify any you purchase (which means cutting off the factory terminations and likely shaving some of the strands of wire inside) but if you do, you will be rewarded. Great amp for 2 channel and HT.
Two other top notch amps, which I feel are the best on the market sub $10,000 is the Theta Dreadnaught and Proceed AMP5.
There are alot of great multi-channel amps out there, but synergy with your system, gear and room are critical.
I am in the same boat is you. I have been running a 7 channel with a sunfire for my main 5 and chiro for the two side surrounds. On your list the only other I tried was the rotel and was not crazy about it. The Sunfire I prefered over several cause its laid back sound and for home theater that was important to me.
Others I tried was the Theta which I could not stand. Its upper frequecies where a little to pronounced...hurt the ears. It did have a bit more air then the sunfire though.
I thought the anthem was a really nice amp for the money.
I am now looking to taking the sunfire and chiro out and get one 7 channel instead for room reasons. How about the earthquake guys?? Home theater had it as their #1 amp. It is suppose to be good in 2 channel. Thats one I am thinking of.
Dlstephenson, you really peaked my interest in this Butler Hybrid. Never heard of it but the tube sound caught my interest, which is why I like the sunfire.
Forgot one amp that gets very few 'audio' folks talking about it, but is actually quite good - the Earthquake amplifiers. Check out all of the reviews and you will see most mags (for whatever this is worth) values the amps as well.
I have owned a couple and had great results. To boot, Earthquake is a GREAT, GREAT company with old fashioned customer service, and, for new, authorized buyers, a 10 year warranty. Like Bryston, they don't care too much about which # owner you are, they stand behind their products. KUDOS!!!
they do come up here periodically on Agon listed around 2800 or so - and I would imagine you might be able to get it for less. Even though they retail for 5k, and have received such great reviews, for some reason I have also seen some dealers selling demos for good prices too, around 3k. You might want to call around to some dealers - or even post a wanted ad here.
I use a Proceed Amp 2 and Amp 3; I assume the Amp 5 is esstentially the same, with each channel having its own power supply and large toroidal transformer. (The Amp 3 is really heavy, so the Amp 5 must be a monster to lift.) I have been very pleased with their excellent neutral sound, free of the distortion some call warmth. They drive a fairly efficient pair of biwired KEF R 104/2s, a 200 C, and a pair of R 102/2 for surrounds; louder than I care to listen is nowhere near clipping, given the amps power bandwidth.
In the past 15 years, these amps, used nearly daily and often for hours at a time, have been completely trouble free. Last year I bought a second Amp 2 for another system. I highly recommend them.