What is the best SS Amp and Pre given the trends?

I currently have an active Linn system (Klouts, Kairn, Kabers) and want to upgrade. I originally chose Linn because of it being more musical verses sterile sounding and it's small foot print. In looking at upgrade choices, I've been surprised about how the once frowned upon Class D amps are suddenly getting noticed (Nuforce, Channel Island, Bel Canto). I'd like to get better sound stage, image, power capability, and detail without harshness or having to going the tube route. I've read mixed reviews on the Ayre MX-R's, so I'd appreciate forum members thoughts on current market choices and considerations for putting together a new system.
you would only be going sideways at best
Check out Red Wine Audio. It's probably the best solid state amplifier available.
I had a full Linn setup like you - and tried to insert a few non-Linn components in and always found that it took away from the overall presentation.

Linn is one of those manufacturers whose equipment really does sound better if you stay in-house. At least that was my experience.

I completely dismantled my Linn system and am glad I did - but it was a big undertaking. If you like the Linn sound I'd look to upgrade within the Linn brand.

Good luck with your system!
>>It's probably the best solid state amplifier available<<

I don't know for certain but Nelson Pass may take issue with that.
Could be, Bill. I sold my Aleph 30 after I bought the Red Wine. I've heard that the new First Watt stuff comes closer to Vinnie's amp and may even be as good.
I haven't heard the First Watt so no opinion is offered; my comment alluded to the XA series with which I am quite familiar.

Disclaimer: Pass retailer
The Pass Aleph 30 is the second best amplifier I have heard in my system, beaten only by latest AtmaSphere MA-1s with Caddock resistor upgrade. I did try a small Linn amp in my system (2120? Can't remember, but had a switching power supply), and was unimpressed (I'm not trying to say the higher end Linn amps wouoldn't be much better, though. Just never heard them). Haven't heard Red Wine or new Pass.
While the 'best' of anything likely does not exist, the musically most satisfying amp I have auditioned this far, regardless of underlying technology, is the new Rowland 312. See my further comments on this device at:
Please note that there exists a vast sonic difference between the 312 and the lesser Rowland 501 and 201 monoblocks. The significant price difference is in my own view fully justified.
My favorite SS pairing so far has been the
Ayre K-1XE/Ayre MX-R followed by the,
Pass Labs XO-2/Pass Labs 350.5
I just demoed the Ayre MX-R connected to a Shindo tubed pre amp, Esoteric 03, Wilson Maxx II's, and Siltech cables/inter-connects. Sounded unbelievable!
I should like to add that the Rowland 312 I heard was matched to a Rowland Concerto pre-amp. I was truly stunned by how good the combination sounded. Had I known this fact one year ago, when I was still on the market for a pre, I would certainly have performed an a/b comparison of the little Concerto against the admittedly marvellous ARC Ref 3, which I eventually purchased.
if price is not an issue there are a few others to consider.

Burmeister, Goldmund, MBL and FM Acousitics all make ss preamps and amps that are highly respected if very expensive.

my personal favorite and the best i have heard is the darTZeel NHB-108 ss stereo amp and the NHB-18NS battery powered full function preamp.
i think asking a question, such as "what is the best....", is not helpful. only the one who asks the question can answer the question.

there is no best amp, preamp, cable, speaker, cd player, etc. .

they all sound different, they are all imperfect, i.e., inaccurate.

i think it is more useful to seek assistance in the pursuit of one's sonic goals.

there have been threads requesting opinions as to warm sounding components, or how to remove a negative aspect of the performance of a stereo system.

soliciting opinions to help solve problems can be useful.
Truly fascinating, MRT! And now, after blaring the painfully obvious, are you going to impart some wisdom onto us poor audiosods as to your own preferred SS amp, and how this yet unnamed device congrues with your own equally unstated audio goals?
Or will you mayhaps be satisfied to impart upon us your deep wisdom regarding that which is not, while leaving us the existential burden of grocking inner audio truth Zen fashion, by whispering higher and ever higher degrees of guruesque abstraction to this--your most humble of flocks?
Haha - classic!
mr g:

i do not have a preferred solid state amp. i'm sorry to disappoint you.

i guess i am consistent. i'm sure your perspicacity can conjure up a worthy contender.

i could say, why ask a question if the answer is obvious ? but i won't.
Belles 350A Reference. Just about as good as it gets IMO.
by the way, the best solid state amp is no solid state amp.

a decent tube amp is preferable to the best solid state amp.

tubes rule, don't be a solid state fool.
>>a decent tube amp is preferable to the best solid state amp<<

That is simply untrue.

Those of us who have heard many many amplifiers since the late 1950's know better.
MRT, I regret that you may not even know the meaning of the word perspicacity. For if you did, you would have likely displayed sufficient basic acumen to grock that this thread is not concerned with the old and tired argument of overall supremacy of SS over tubes or viceversa.
Rather, you have elected once more to showcase your singular lack of listening skills by blasting all and sundry with yet another of your sadly all-to-frequent fusilades of trite and facile generalities, masked as quasi guruesque words of useless wisdom.
Here's another vote for the Belles 350A Ref... just got one to drive my ML Summits... incredible textural detail from deepest bass to crystalline highs. Gives me goosebumps!
for your own sanity, just keep the linn...its really nice..quit while you're ahead.
Although I haven't tried them in my system, Audiopax should also be at the top of the list. Their room was one of hte best sounding at the last 2 CESs, and last year they were demonstrating new solid state amps.
I think Mrtennis's statement holds some water. To ask which is the best will always result in numerous different recommendations which will still leave the unanswered question "what is the best?" Given the confinements of existing source, speakers, & cabling in which a new preamp & poweramp will have to interact, the results will be different for each individual. It will always be trial and error and the listener's expectations. Cvman I don't blame you for soliciting some good ideas. Maybe if you get enough of the same recommendations at least this could possibly point you in the right direction. Good luck!
i do not like the combination of panel speakers and solid state amps. however, i had the opportunity to audition roger sanders amp he specifically designed for electrostatic speakers.

while it is not my cup of tea, it certainly does not exhibit some of the characteristics of solid state amps that i don't like.

i think it is worthy of audtioning. it is a 340 watt stereo amp, which retails for around $2900.

i used the amp with my magnepan 1.6s. my reference amp is the vtl deluxe 120 monos.