Definitely look at Creek Destiny (2), Exposure 3010s (2). Both are over your budget new but can be had used for what you are willing to pay. The PSB's will thank you.
If you want new, have a look at the Creek Evolution 5350 and the Exposure 2010s2.
$1500 used on Audiogone would go a lot farther. I'd look for an Ayre Ax-7e but they will be more like $1700-ish. I would not worry that it's not enough power, but anotehr option would be a Plinius 9100. In either event you'd be moving beyond mid-fi.
A 2nd vote for the Anthem 225. Superb SS integrated, priced unbelievably low for the sonic performance and features if offers. Built like a tank as is all Anthem gear. And Sonic Frontiers is a great company to deal with in the event you need service or have technical questions.
I cannot vouch for the Anthem, but have spend a good amount of time with NAD. They are truly amazing for their price. Mike84 brings up a good point, you could put that 1500 dollars in a used piece if that is your budget or buy the NAD or Anthem used and pocket the money for other upgrades. Although 1500 could get you an intergrad from plinius, sim audio, classe, cary, cj, etc....the NAD will give you a good taste of high end...for not a high price!
If it was me I would spend 400-450 on a used NAD c272 and get a nice litte tubed preamp from AES(cary) or conrad johnson (500-700). It would take a good amount of money to outclass this combo IMO
The Bel Canto S300iu deserves consideration. Well within your price range on A'gon and a solid performer. Performs above it's pay grade IMHO. I use one in my office system and am consistently stopped in my tracks at its resolution and imaging.
personally I agree with mMike84 ... go used! if you are worried about warranty etc, their are some companies that offer 10yr or longer (20 in the case of Bryston) transferable warranty.
A Bryston B60SST would be a nice match with your speakers and used would be at your price point I believe. Make sure you get a copy of the original receipt for warranty transfer.
Definitely go used. Good-quality amps will last 25+ years with little to no sonic degradation. Shop Audiogon, plenty of good deals here...
Another vote for used, I have bought all the ones I have gotten in the last 15 years on here or ebay and have had good luck.
Used Musical Fidelity A5 or A5.5 Integrated -- a notch above the Anthem and two above the NAD.
There's a Sony TA-F707ES up for sale right now that might be worth a look. I'm not connected to the seller -- in fact, I'd like someone to buy it so that I don't!
Thanks for everyone's responses/suggestions. So I've decided to go used to get more bang for my buck. So since I'm not in to taking advantage of retailers by just going to listen and then buying used, I'll have to take a leap... If I stretch my budget and look at what is currently available, I'm thinking Ayre xa7e, Exposure 3010s2, or Creek Destiny 2, or NAD M3. The Ayre is lower wattage than the other 2 so if I ever need more power down the road, that might be a concern. Any thoughts?
Consider a used Redgum RGi120. I've been using one for a few weeks while my main amplifiers were down and the thing is outstanding. If you can find one used it should be under a grand and it was probably the best solid state I have ever heard.
Arte Forma 1-150 Susan. 1500.00. Not mid fi tough, it is better than that.
I have a Cambridge 550a. I've loved it. You're springing for the top of their integrated line. Not sure how much of a difference that creates in sound. It's definately goin to be resolving a reliable of it's anything like thier other products.
I've read some real raves about the Creek Destiny 2 (on Pinkfish and HiFiWigwam). Of those you're interested in, the Creek and the Ayre seem to have the strongest followings; opinions on the Exposure and NAD are mixed. (For example, a lot of people seem to think that 3010s isn't as good as the 2010s.) But any of them would be a safe bet used.
You should add Sim Audio to this list also.
This is from Stereophile measurements for PSB Synchrony One:
"The speaker's impedance magnitude remained below 4 ohms throughout the midrange (fig.1, solid trace), with minimum values of 2.6 ohms at 1160Hz and 2.65 ohms at 73Hz. Though the electrical phase angle is generally low within the audioband (fig.1, dashed trace), the combination of 4.1 ohms and 45° phase angle at 29Hz suggests that the PSB be used with a good amplifier rated at 4 ohms.