Plug n' Play, ahead of squeezing that last 1 ?
I've been in here recounting (whining about?) a litany of problems with my kit for years now. The tradeoff seems to be either really good sound from gear that's too temperamental to be used in polite company, or gear that works every time I turn it on but doesn't sound good enough for my solo listening sessions. I've tried integrated or power amps by each of Rotel, Harmon/Kardon, Onkyo, Naim, NAD, Arcam, McCormack, Bryston, and Linn, though not necessarily in that order and not all with the songtowers.
The Rotel was too plow-horsey, the Onkyo was too small, H/K too polite and a bit muddy at the bottom, the Naim sound was terrific but the gear was buggy as hell (*and* too small), the NAD blew up after a month, the Arcam was uninspired, the Linn power amp I tried was a mess in the low registers, the McCormack stuff chases me out of the room in the high frequencies, and the Bryston had way too high a noise floor.
I'm not filthy rich, so I can't accept recommendations for N-I-B products from Ayre, Halcro, etc. What I'm looking for is good inner detail resolution, good control at the bottom end, and a quick, pratty handling of the rest of the spectrum without being in-your-face bright or excessively polite either one. I'm running Salk Songtowers (88db/4ohm) which recommend 125w/8o for SS amplification. I'm not averse to integrated amps or separates, either one, but matching the separates has been a big problem up to now. Tubes are off the table, unequivocally: too many headaches already, without the added hassle of tubes going bad.
I'm currently thinking about (pre-owned specimens of):
Monarchy SM-70Pro's (yeah but w/my McCormack preamp?)
YBA YA201 integrated
Quad 909 (again, what preamp?)
give Arcam or Linn another try
...Again, I'm not looking for holy-grail sound as much as I'm looking for a kind of "Lexus equivalent": You don't get the last smidgen of driving thrill from the Lexus, or the last smidgen of rich interior appointments, or the last smidgen of brand cache, etc., but you get most of all of those and you know the doggone thing isn't going to make you walk to the next exit.