High res tube amps under $1.5k : TAD-60 perhaps?

I am looking for a new/used amp <$1.5k for my 18yo Merlin 3B+s (like Vandy 2's). I usually listen at very low listening levels due to hearing sensitivity issues (I tune pianos and get tinnitis easily from loud sounds). My Hafler 9500 sounds very musical and balanced on the Merlins, but a little grainy. I've tried an ONIX SP-3 - very musical, gutsy, but I found the low level resolution vague and I struggled to hear individual piano notes in a recording, for example. I previously had Quicksilver KT88 mono-blocks. The Hafler had much better resolution and PRAT across the board, from bass to treble IMHO, and still maintained musicality, esp. for a SS amp.

I am currently trying a Pass Aleph 30. The resolution is simply phenomenal - on some recordings I can easily recognize the harmonics of a Steinway piano versus a Yamaha for example, and I find it uncanny on how easy it is to follow a melody line and almost grasp the performer's intent as the music is being played. I can play the system at very low levels and have a detailed musical experience. It's just a bit weak on power though, and misses a little in the "ballsy" category on those days when I want to "crank it up a bit".

I'm intrigued by the TAD-60 and the ability to switch to triode mode (for more resolution?) and adjust the feedback (for more dynamics?). Can someone please comment on the TAD-60's tonal characteristics, especially low-level resolution abilities? Any other amp suggestions? DIY amp also a possibility. Thanks.
Hello from Wisconsin. I know exactly what you mean about the Aleph 30, GREAT AMP! but lacking in absolute slam. I think the reason you find the Aleph so intoxicating is that it is a single ended design. Push-Pull amps, either Tube or Solid state invariably suffer from a lack of speed (hence the resolution issue), intermodulation distortion (which shows up as a lack of ultimate focus) and crossover distortion (wich effects all of the above). I know you must be thinking that if you were to get a single ended Tube amp, it would'nt provide enough power and that the deep bass resolution might be lacking, but I can tell you that if properly designed and using the right Tube, neither of those issues has to be a problem.
I have a pair of Sophia Electric 845 Monoblocs ($6000.00 Retail) that provide a very dynamic, transparent & powerful 20 watts each. They are cappable of far greater sonic performance than the Aleph 30 & even being rated at 1/3rd less power, I am confident they would exibit better control and perceptably greater power output. Due to my recent divorce, I would be willing to let them go for $1950.00/pr. I know this amount is appreciably more than your ad said you were hoping to spend, but the additional investment would be well worth it. Let me know if there are any questions I can answer for you. Dave
P.S. This is as yet the first and only time I've offered these Monoblocs for sale, it breaks my heart to do so, Dave
Check out the reviews in the review section on the TAD-60. I have one paired with the TAD-150 signature... I have Vabdy 2CE Sigs. Plenty of power at 60 watts. There is a less powerful model for a few hundred less. I had several other amps including a McCormack DNA-1. Nothing comes close to the TAD-60. I replaced the Svetlana EL-34 tubes with Tung Sol 6550s. Big Improvement on the type of music that I listen to...
I have a TAD-60 with the Superb-A upgrades and like it very much. That said, if you like to play your speakers loudly, it may not be the best choice.

I think your Merlins appreciate power. The TAD-60 only delivers half power, 30Wpc in the triode mode. The bass will not be as controlled as with the Hafler, and dialing in the feedback for enhanced dynamics is not going to give you any more power -- and the trade off is that the amp sounds less sweet (but faster and better focused) with more feedback.

The TAD-60 sounds great when used within its power limitations, and going to KT-88s will give you a bit more power. Will it be enough for your needs and taste? That's something only you can answer.
For highest possible resolution in a reasonably priced tube amp, you might want to consider OTL amplification if your vintage Merlins have a relatively friendly impedance curve. Do you know what their impedance curve looks like?