For the money, a Sunfire Cinema Grand is tough to beat. However, I think the EAD Powermaster 1000 is pretty nice sounding as well. Unfortunately, the EAD does not have balanced inputs, whereas the Cinema Grand does.
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The Acurus 125x5 is often for sale on this site for under $800. I bought the unit new for $1000 about 9 months ago from a dealer and still feel it was a great deal for the money. The amp is quite heavy and fills my room (large bedroom) very adequately. For the current price it is going for, it is a steal. I believe there is also an Acurus 200x5 available now, if you need more power. Acurus is a great company (Mondial actually, they also make Aragon stuff, which is a whole leap upward in both price and quality), their stuff is well built and reliable. If your friend has the money, go with the Aragon 5 channel amp.
I have been using the B&K AV6000 (6 ch. amp) with Paradigm Reference Studio 60 loudspeakers for over a year. For Home Theater I have been very happy with it. For two-channel it is still musically satisfying but the imaging and soundstage isn't what it'd like. Tell your friend to find a dealer that has two or three of the models he is interested in and audition them. The B&K ref. 7250 has gotten excellent reviews and can be purchased under $2k used.
All the amps you listed are worth a look. I used a Rotel 985 for about a year and was pretty happy with it..for around a grand new (much less here on the 'gon) it's tough to fault it. EAD seems a little more up-market than the others you listed. Haven't heard it, but reviews would suggest it's a notch up from the rest, but more $$$.
Some observations based on my past experience with some of the mentioned products. I'm bearing in mind that he's going to be using the Paradigm's:
Acurus: I would NOT recommend this combo, even if it was one of their "new and improved" A series. I would expect listening fatigue due to the tonal balance of the Acurus and the Paradigm's use of metal domes. Had an A200X3 for a short period of time.
B & K: Might be worth checking into. B & K's tend to be on the "smooth but not real revealing" side of neutral. No problems with glare or harshness but also lack spacial info and air. Gallaine seems to have had the same results with the amps in stock form. Might not have the impact and dynamics of other amps, but since the sub is powered, may not be a big drawback. I've had over a half dozen different B & K's and my brother is currently quad-amping with some highly modded B & K's.
Adcom: These are all amps that look good on paper but how they mate with the rest of your system and personal tastes might be different. Pretty good prices for the amount of juice offered. Had one of their big two channel amps that Nelson Pass supposedly designed for them. Didn't sound ANYTHING like a Pass / Threshold / Forte' product though. Couldn't give it away when i tried to resell it either.
Sunfire: Both powerful and versatile in the fact that it offers two different sounds courtesy of the voltage and / or current outputs. You can bi-wire using both taps or just use one of them full range. The choice is yours. Even when JAMMING, these amps do not get "gritty" or run hot. The CG's may come across as slightly forward sounding in some systems but will never sound bright or harsh and have well controlled bass and dynamics. Not the strongest in terms of sheer bottom end "slam" though. I currently own a standard Sunfire, a Sunfire Signature, a Cinema Grand and a Cinema Grand Signature with my Dad using the standard CG. Also has an "auto on" feature when a signal is presented to it. Probably not that uncommon on the newer multi-channel amps though.
Rotel: Wanted to try out their big multi-channel but could never find ONE of them on the used market. This tells me that those that have purchased them are happy with them. I think that it is probably a solid performer. Was going to possibly use this as an alternative to the standard CG that my Dad is using. Probably worth checking into, but it is near the extreme top of his budget if you have to buy new.
EAD: Never experienced one first hand but some folks that i know are quite happy with theirs. The guy that i bought my CG Signature from had upgraded to a more expensive EAD and was well pleased. Once again though, budget constraints probably apply here.
Another amp that you might want to check into is the Golden Theater. While i know that they are out of business, these are pretty solid amps, especially for the money that you can get them for. 200 X 5 for under $900 with pretty attractive cosmetics might seem quite enticing. Most amps use common parts, so getting it repaired should anything ever go wrong would not appear to be a problem. The Anthem MCA-5 is also 200 X 5 and can be found for appr $900 also. Just a thought. Best wishes and good luck.... Sean
I´ve a B&K AV 5000 II (Same as Gallaine but 5 channel)for two years now. With proper set up and slight mods this unit can perform quite well with a very good cost performance ratio.
Have no experience with other units but have compared with other friends systems (much more investment) and compares quite well if not better.
If you can audition do it, saves a lot of time afterwards
I've been using three Rotel RB993THX (200X3@8ohm)with a Lexicon DC1 for a few years now and have had really good luck with them. You should be able to find the 993's for around $1,000 used each, or a 991 and a 993 (991 is the two channel version) for a bit less. I can't tell you have they handle Paradigm's, I'm using matching SLS loudspeakers. One amp driving LF, L-side, LR one driving RF, R-side, RR and the other for center and L/R subs (passive).
I used to have the Citation stuff too- 5.1's and 7.1's and the 5.0 processor. They were great for the $$, and the bi-amping options made them very flexible.
I was then looking for a home theater amp that could also provide audiophile 2-channel as well, and I found it- the Theta Dreadnaught- 400 wpc in to 4 ohms (I use 5 Totem Mani-2's in my HT system). The Theta is simply a fabulous amplifier, although probably more $$ than you want to spend. Now, my Dad has all the Citation stuff, and he's happy too- best of luck with your search.