Smooth Sounding Tube Amps that Can drive ATC

Hello All,
I have just entered the world of ATC and just starting to realize the new ball game. I have bought a pair of ATC SCM40. I have upgraded from a decent Dynaudio so I do have some experience of neutrality + Musicality concept.

Dyns are in general more "homely" if thats something you can relate to. They also require good amplification but they mostly work well with good solid states. Thats why I use a Symphonic line which is a very nice SS amp. Powerful, Fast, Dynamic, Rich and Controlled sound. However I find that, with ATC in a small room I would enjoy a more forgiving amplifier. Thats because most of my recordings and musical preferences lean towards Rock, Pop, Blues etc. And I dont carry a lot of audiophile grade pressings.

I have heard the ATC being driven with a 50 watt Audio Space tube amp and it sang very well. No signs of strain or struggle in the sound but overall it was very smooth and with right amount of laid back nature. I normally like middle row presentation...anything forward is not for me.
So I just thought starting a discussion and analyzing what options I have if I plan to buy a smooth yet gutsy Tube amp which can Push the ATC well with Control and drive in the bass, liquid smooth mids and sweet highs. A tad bit of coloration on the sweeter side is Okay with me at this point.

The basic requirements that I have gathered are:

1. The amp should be at least around 50 watts at 8 ohms.

2. Should be known for driving insensitive loads. ATC is not a difficult load because its impedance doesnt vary much but they are insensitive and they like to be driven hard. They sound really good when played loud. Thats the way I listen to music as well...a bit loud.

3. Preferrably a fully tube design. Hybrids are okay but I am not very sure because they still have SS inside.

4. The amp should be very clean sounding, noise floor needs to be very low.

5. Brands that I have found make such amps are:
a) Graaf
b) Octave
c) Einstein
d) Audio Space
Please add your recommendations and opinion to this list.

I know there are good SS amps that are also very smooth and liquid sounding but my guess is they would be normally pure class A amps like Accuphase A30, Pass Labs etc...and they can get very expensive. Tube looks like an easier and more attainable path on this road.
But I am open to any suggestions, if you think it satisfies my requirement.
I can't give any advice on a good tube amp but I can suggest you a few albums that will sound good.

Blues: Keb 'Mo
Rock: Dire Straits (although some of their live stuff is mixed a bit bright), Tom Petty Greatest Hits and Wildflowers, Midnight Oil Earth Sun & Moon, INXS (anything), Dr Hook Greatest Hits, Goo Goo Dolls, Creed, Third Eye Blind, Toto (not the remasters)
Pop: Stuff mastered for dance clubs will generally sound way better than stuff mastered for radio play. For example Duran Duran, Chic, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Grace Jones and suprisingly a few of The Clash tracks. The extended versions are usually given special treatment - leaving dynamics in tact. Steely Dan is good but it can sound a bit over engineered when played on ATC (you will be rather aware of how extremely precise/polished these recordings are).

Punk & some alternative (like Garbage, Green Day): Forget it - it will sound harsh if you play it too loud - it is meant to that is just the way it is (many of these have large amounts of digital flat top clipping on the CD).

Stuff from the early 80's - prior to audio compression (U2 Steve Lillywhite type sound starting to take over) are often very good (but beware of remasters from 1999 to 2005 - hit and miss in that group)
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Not for nothin' but why not a tube preamp instead of another amp entirely?

Personally, that's the way I'd go. Tube preamp.

One note though... there are those recordings which no matter what, simply can't be played on higher res systems. Some just plain suck.

I've found my answer for those sorts is to play them on less resolving systems... My PC for example, my BR HT system.

The bad pressings were aimed at a particular crowd. Geared to be played most often on boom boxes, mono radios, etc. Back in the 50', 60's, and through much of the 70's many Pop, rock, & RB genres were mixed down just that way... for use in car's with one 3x5 or 6 x 9 speakers... and so forth.

Taking them out of their orig element by replaying them on very good equipment, shows up their true nature quite clearly.

Dumb down the rig or use a lesser resolute one to play those bad discs with.... works for me... OR just deal with it.

it's like seeing a pretty girl across the dance hall room. She's great looking from that distanced and dim view. Up close in good llighting, the glamour disappears... sometimes.... or you see better any flaws which are there in fact.

trust me on this, if the source info isn't good to begin with just how is it supposed to get better down stream?

it won't. A tube pre will help some, specific cabling will too, but nothing fixes bad Cd's better than playing them on the stuff they were intended to be played on originally..
Pani -- OK, the amps you're considering are top players! BUT having tried many of them as well as ATC's here goes. Trust me on this one :)...

a) Einstein: forget it. All are underpowered (even the big stereo). Great products, the integrated is the best IMO.
b) Graaf: forget it. The only product that *may* drive it is an old 200W otl. It now probably costs more than a Ferrari, so buy the Ferrari instead, it's a better deal. I love Graaf sound -- on horns.
c) Octave: another star sonically. Forget it. Only the big monos *might* work (called "Jubilee") and they cost a fortune.

d) Why don't you simply purchase a pair of S-Line RG4? You can probably buy 3pairs for the price of the big Octaves! If you already have these (if so, why are looking?), go for the classA Kraft.

e) DOn;t know the Audio Space. Maybe that's your ticket if the 50W rated product drives yr ATCs. The others don't. They may sound as if they do, but you're losing musical energy and information. NOT what you bought those ATCs for!
Have you considered VTL? They make great amps that can drive anything. You may want to look into a ST-150. It rocks!
Seems like you're pushing a bad hand here. ATCs may work with 50wpc tubes, but sounds like they really don't open up fully until you give them some real juice (even more of an issue because you listen to Rock/Pop). I would think to do that with tubes would require a fairly large investment that you don't seem willing to make (although I like the Moscode idea). By the way, how much are you looking to spend -- that would help? I liked the recommendation of trying a tube preamp -- seems to make much more sense in this situation.
Have you considered the Cary 120-S. It's pretty round sounding. Cary amps tend to be the polar oppositive of VTL where nuetrality is the goal. If not the 120-S, the SLM-100s or 200s maybe. The music you like dictates using amps that sound round and a tad lossy. Good luck
Hello Guys...Well, I think I was bit in a hurry.
After trying out few things, I have started to realize how good is the combo of Symphonic Line + ATC....YES, they go very well together.

The reason I was worried initially was some lack of warmth which I thought was not the fault of ATCs...but then I also discovered that its not the fault of the amp either. It was altogether the cabling and positioning issue. I borrowed a couple of cables from my friends and played around with toe in/out up/down and to my amazement, everything fell in to place once I had these things in optimized. There was warmth, musicality, speed, definition, name it.
I would agree with GregM here....that the killer dynamics and speed a Symphonic Line delivers is almost too much to expect from a tube amp with real world prices. I was looking at amps costing about $6k. I anyway use a tube preamp with my S-L power amp but the tube preamp is very neutral and clean type and not the typical sweet and romantic type. Its not analytical at all but neither does it make up for and lack of warmth else where.

Anyway, I would still want to keep this discussion alive for future reference of all our fellow members. Lets talk about what other options one can have withing $10k range for amplification with ATCs.

I am sure ATCs will love pure class A power (thats where I may want to get to in future). It definitely shines with ultra smooth, high quality power like very few other speakers out there. So what options are open for ATC users. Lets take into account that one is also open to used gears under 6k (like me).

1. Pass Labs X250.5, X350.5
2. Accuphase
3. McIntosh

I thought Octave would fit the bill because a friend of mine had visited RMAF last year and heard the entry level Octave V40 int amp driving a Dynaudio Sapphire to pretty loud levels and that was just a display by Octave of their capabilites. I think you guys would know that Dynaudio has officially tied up with Octave to be sold as a combo from the same dealership network. Howz that !!!!

Please share your opinions on this further.
I'd add to your list the new Clayton Audio S100 -- love to hear what that amp could do through an ATC midrange.