For $1100, you should take a look at the Outlaw 5.1 channel amp. Outlaw sells direct to buyer via Internet, and their power amp and receiver have both gotten very good reviews by several audio mags. Check their Web site for more info:
The other brands you need to explore in this price range include the smaller, 5-channel amps by Adcom and Rotel.
Here is an amplifier suggestion:
Buy FOUR NAD 2400's (about $250 each) and bridge (or if possible, BIAMP) two for right and left, bridge (or if possible, BIAMP) the third for a center channel and use the fourth for surrounds!
LOADS of high current output, plenty of power, complete flexibility and easily upgraded.
Takes space, but sounds great! Same can be done with the Parasound HCA-1000's!
Try the B&K amp modules Old Colony Sound Lab sells for $139.99 each. Get a cabinet from SESCOM, an on/off switch and an Absolute Power Cord and you're set.
Will you be running a sub in the future ? If so, that means SIX channels of amplification. Dan's suggestion of picking up a few older but still solid 2 channel amps may work wonders for you. Using three 2 channel amps would make such a set-up a breeze AND probably keep money in your pocket.
For one thing, a 2 channel amp would probably be more stable into a lower impedance. Most "reasonably priced" multi-channel amps compromise the power supply, as it is one of the most expensive parts of an amp. As such, using multiple 2 channel amps would probably put you ahead in terms of both sonics and reliability.
Taking this approach would also give you more versatility in terms of choosing products. You have a much wider variety to match the tonal balance of your speakers and source components this way. Only drawback to this is that it will take up more space.
By the way, what are you using for speakers and signal chain ? Any specific sonic preferences in terms of the amps tonal qualities ? Sean
How about looking into Acurus amps, they should be well in your price range
I think I am going to side with "Porschecab" here. The reason being is that you said that you want to reproduce in full glory the dialog of movie soundtracks right along with all of the sizzle and boom that goes along with it. And that you want a system that sounds good with music as well. Also, with you saying that you have "3 Ohms" speakers that you have to drive, you are going to need gobs of power and high current in order for this system to perform at its optimum.
But also, if you are going to use a subwoofer also, then I can only hope that you are going to invest in a subwoofer that already has its own amplifier. Because if you are going to be using a passive subwoofer as well, then you are going to need another amp still just to drive the subwoofer (although this time, you may need a bigger and beefier one).
Unless you're going to find some incredible used bargains out there somewhere, that's going to be awfully tough to do for $1K.
If you are doing A/V, I would recommend picking up a used Anthem MCA-5, they tend to sell for about $1k used. The Anthem MCA amps are 200 watts/ch. which will give you more than enough power should you decide to REALLY rattle the walls. It's not a bad amp, I own an MCA-2 for my secondary system. I'm very pleased with it.
I use an Acurus 125x5 for HT and find it excellent. I paid about $850 for mine but have seen them advertised here (used) for $600 or even less. At that price, it would be a steal. Very solidly built, very heavy, very reliable. I think there may be a 200x5 available too, but the 125 is perfectly adequate for me.
I agree with the anthem recomendation. I would also suggest taking a look at a used ATI 1505 150W x 5, you could probablty get one for 1100-1200. I own the ATI and really like it. I have had parasounds and the lower end parasounds are only average as with the Sony's.
The BEST multi-channel amp for anywhere near that price is the EAD POWERMASTER 500. You will not find a more musical mulit-channel amp......possibly at all! this amp is UNREAL! Power-steering feature in 2 channel will direct power-on-demand to the speakers that need it most. Some say they have had upwards of 450+wpc into a single channel in stereo listening. the looks are very high-end also, much better than the other amps mentioned (IMHO). They usually are sold on audiogon for between 800-1000$$$. GOOD LUCK!!
Used Parasound hca-1206 for 700 to 800 used. Built like a tank, six channels (135w > 8 ohms, 200 > 4), four channels are bridgeable (making 350 watts) and that leaves a pair of channels for a set of stereo speakers in that configuration. And, a very useful item; each channel has its own output control. This is quite practical when most AV preamps only have 1db channel setting increments. The amp was designed by John Curl and sounds very nice for a high powered mid priced solid state amplifier. It is simply at steal at 700 used.