What's the rest of the system (the part that's staying -- or "right-sized" as it were:))?
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This is completly my opnion and I have no idea what "best" means but if I was going to get an intergrated amp I would go for a McIntosh, Cary or Manely. McIntosh has 3 really nice intergrated amps like the MA2275. Cary has 2 nice single ended amps like the CAD-300sei. If you want less expensive the PrimaLuna Prologue II is nice.
I've just sold ALL my system having to downsize as well.
A SS intergrated amp is what I'm going to go with.
This is based on heresay...
If you're going to stay strictly SS.
In no particular order:
Jeff Rowland Concerto
Blue Circle NSCS
Bel Canto eVo 2i
Edge G3 (85 watts)
Accustic Arts Power 1 (from Germany)
I think all of the above would make anyone happy.
Which is going to make me happy is my dilemma.
Where I live it's not possible to "interview" any of the candidates so like you I rely on the integrity of those who post here on Audiogon.
What is ultimate to one may not be to someone else and "ultimate" to me means price no object; I suspect there are some extravagant integrated amps I haven't heard of.
All that said, if cost doesn't matter I'd like to have a VAC Phi Beta if for nothing more than to stare at!
At more reasonable prices, Hbarrel gave a nice list and I'll add to that the Musical Fidelity kW500, I am biased though, that is what I use; consider Audio Note as well.
Tube Research Labs has a new 225 watt a channel integrated that is now available-the ST 225. It is $5500.
TRL makes SOTA very expensive tube preamps and amps($100K+)
They are very excited about this new product.
I had them mod my MF A300 with great results and will get to hear the ST 225 later this month as a friend of mine is going to demo it with his Soundlabs.
Don't know your price range, but this may be something to look into.