Which Solid State Amplifier is Making you Happy?

I'm trying to find a new amplifier to replace a Musical Fidelity A3CR. There are lots of candidates: Rowland 501s, Pass Labs 350.5, Levinson 431/432, H2O, etc. What are people using and what has been a good sonic investment? I'm currently driving B&W N803s, so it's a pretty normal load. My MF amp does not offer enough punch or bass control. It flattens out at higher volumes. I'll spend what it takes, new or used. Less than $8K would be nice. All comments welcome.
NuForce Ref 8 driving Quad ESL57 modified.
Solid state amps aren't my bag at all. However, I HAVE heard the little 125 WPC Goldmund mono-blocks over an extended period of time in a friend's system. They're little killers.
I'd get Parasound JC 1's or a big Krell. If you have problems of flattening out at high volumes it could also be the speakers. At least 200wpc is my personal minimum as power gets used up real fast.
Dartzeel dont comment unless you've listened to one
I'm really enjoying my McIntosh 501 Monoblocs (and the Mac 402 which preceded them was sweet as well).Plenty of bass control at all volumes--uncolored, clean sounding amps. They're currently driving my Meadowlark Blue Heron 2's effortlessly, playing all kinds of music.
Remember the old Toyota jingle by Van Dyke Parks -- "get your hands on a Toyota, and you'll never let go!" ?? Well, get your hands on a Mark Levinson 23.5, and you'll never let go!
I have had several Krell FPB (200, and 700cx) amps which I enjoyed, Aragon makes a good amp, but I think that would be a step back for you, some of the Classe stuff can be had fairly inexpensively since the newer models are out.

I bought a used Classe Omicron and I think it is really something special. The Krell FPB 700cx can be had in your price range, and it will drive anything without flattening out. Of all the amps I've owned, the Krell gets out of the way of the music the best. I found it to be very musical, more so than the older Krell amps. This probably creates an ugly image in your mind, but when I'm really enjoying the music I find myself singing along. With the Krell, I sang a lot!
I'm using a Transistor Research Labs (from the Tube Research guys) 225 watt/channel amp. 3 inputs separate for each channel, and separate 45 stepped attentuators each channel. Price? $5500.

After all the talk, I was considering giving the DartZeel an audition. Not any more ...
I am using the Innersound ESL-300. I know it doesn't cost enough ($1500 used) but I stand behind it. Drove the pee-diddly out of Maggie 3.6s and sounded better the hotter it got. Never petered out. 600WPC @ 4 ohms. Now drives my Eros MkIII very well, naturally. Spend more, go ahead, 20K for the dartzHeel 100WPC. Excuse me?
Son of Ampzilla. 80w/ch. 8ohms. All transistor. Almost 30 years old. Used around $250. My speakers are around 89db efficient. I love this amp. How can one old box produce sound powerful AND revealing? Very tight bass control. I listen to mostly classical and jazz. I know they have a rep for trouble, but mine has been no trouble at all. For a hoot; get one, get it bench tested, hook it up and see what you think. You may be surprised.
SimAudio W10's are the best I've heard so far....pick em up for under $6k used. Good partner with Maggies or anything needing some oomph. Not your typical sterile sounding SS that hides behind bass wallop and has little else. Good amps.

Do you have dedicated lines? Are you sure the problem lies in your amp?
I just got a sweet deal on a BAT VK-200 for only $1100 delivered. So, yes, I am very happy!
McCormack DNA-500.

Outside of the VAC Phi 220 mono amps, most complete and balanced sounding amp I have had the pleasure of owning or spending time with.

It has tremedous bass, a nice musical and detailed midrange, with an extended treble.

Really gets the toes tapping and is very engaging.

On top of all that, it can drive anything and sounds effortless doing it.

That's a fair question. No. The room is on a dedicated circuit, but the audio system shares through a modest Monster line conditioner, the $400 one. I've made some overall improvements to the system by upgrading power cords, adding the line conditioner, upgrading cables, etc, but the deficiency I'm experiencing sounds to me a while lot like the amp is running out of steam. It's a 1999 vintage Musical Fidelity Amp which is rated at 120 watts. Within a year, I may even build up enough diplomacy points with my wife so that I can do some moderate construction to create a much better "audio" room. That room will certainly have the requisit AC power specs.
My preamp, btw is an Audio Research SP16 which may also be a weakish link in the chain; although, not awful by any stretch.

I'm using a prototype 300 WPC,96 lb. beast manufactured by Consonance.Tight bass,open mids,clear extended highs!!! Best I've heard in my system.

My current favorite SS amp is the Hovland Radia driving W/P 7s but I do not think it would improve the dynamics of the system you describe. I think the weak link is your power conditioner. Highly (or poorly) conditioned AC power can render electronics voiced on "average" RF-hash-tainted power somewhat neutered. Try plugging your amp and/or preamp directly into the dedicated line. Or buy a more neutral conditioner. Or any of the amps suggested above. Maybe a new preamp or different cables or power cords. Rethink the speakers. Try to hold on to your wife.
Not for your speakers, but as someone formerly devoted to SET's and/or OTL's I am thrilled with my DNM PA3 amp and DNM 3Dsix pre.
Only 23 watts SS so sensitive speakers are still a must.

Consider the link below for about $4,200-$4700.

Take a look at the threads concerning the new PASS LABS X-.5 series amps.I was using an EDGE NL-10 very happily until I audtioned a X-350.5 and was shocked at how much better it was than the NL-10,which is a world class amp.I also wrote a review that you might want take a look at here on the GON.I have no doubt that this amp will give you all the dynamics and sound pressure levels you are looking for,than its your personnal taste about how it matchs your system always.Hope this helps.
McCormack DNA-500, definitely. Others considered were the Pass .5 series, Sim W-6 or W-10, Belles 150A Reference monos, and Krell cx models.
Odyssey Extreme Monos---power and current to spare. Excellent sonics.
I have had x250.5, rowland 201, ml 432 in my sys. Would prefer x250.5 and 350.5 may even be better.
Pick up a used PS Audio HCA-2 for under $1,000 and send it to Doug Jesse at Reference Audio Mods for his full-monty mod ($1,200). Outstanding sound.
Hey George and Mitch, where the heck have you guys been hiding in regards to the several threads asking for comparo's between the DNA500 and the Halo JC-1's?!

Don't tell me you have never listened to the JC's!

What's your take?

naim audio nap 250
Audio Research 100.2.
Conrad Johnson Premier 350 I also liked my MF2500A.

Check out a Pass X250.5. They have the MOSFET sound, and some feedback, for bass control. They do come up used..
I am thoroughly enjoying my Mac 501's, they are simply incredible at all levels and when cranked take my thiel 3.6's to a level I've only ready about! For the money you get a ton of power, real world bass, and see way into midrange. They do not sound congested or flat when pushed, actually, I can't even push them - I feel like the guy in the old maxell commercial when I try...
Get one BEL 1001 Mk5 if you want the most transparent amp ever made, get two and run them in bridged mono mode if you want to be completely free of "upgraditis" for the duration. I have never heard anything better in solid state. And you can also use Richard Brown's (BEL) IC's and speaker cables for a relatively inexpensive treat.
Denf, Unfortunately, I have never heard the Halo JC-1's, but I would really like to hear them someday. They were actually my other "finalist" when I purchased the McCormack and I forgot to list them in my post above. I don't know that they would better the DNA-500, but I would guess the choice would boil down to system matching. The McCormack works well in mine.
Plinius SA102, or the SA250.The oddyssey extreme
monoblock are also very good choice.
New BVaudio A300SE tells the truth. This unit has Absolutely clear and neutral sound. I believe in technology, my new Canon 20D disappointed me either.
Glai, could you please expand on how the Pass X250.5 bettered the Rowland 201s?
This is an easy one. I use all Krell. I use the FPB350MCX's mono's. I am very happy with em.

I have heard the JC-1's, but never in a very familiar system or head to head with the DNA-500.

As such, I don't think it would add any value to comment on its sound.

One thing I will say is that the JC-1's run pretty darn hot while the DNA-500 stays pretty much cool.

If sound was equal, that could be an issue for some.

Edge NL-12--mine is smooth, relaxing, & has remarkable soundstaging & terrific quality (transparent) bass.
I have been using Symphonic Line from Germany for many years now,and I am very happy about the sound. it is a musical amp.

Bryston 4bsst - Component of Merit in Bound for Sound
Odyssey Stratos Monoblocks "Full Gary" Version. More of everything.
Pass Aleph Mono amps.
I second the McIntosh vote. I drive Shahinian Diapasons with a MC402, and although the Diapasons are no easy load, the Mac drives them with ease. Even at listening at hairsplitting volumes to Mahler or AC/DC, the amp hardly gets warm. I was looking for a bass-strong, musica l amp, and have found it. A friend of mine runs his Diapasons with a Plinius SA-102, and is equally happy. Two fine amps which are easy to find used, too.
There is nothing like a Bryston Amp.
I am using B&W M802 S3, I tried many amps to drive and controll bass, all amps failed except Bryston 7B. I get Bonus Plus; real life dynamics and crystal clear trebles which other amps can't get near.
Danielk and others,
I've done some reading and taken a step in the right direction by ordering a Hydra 4 which should be here in the next few days. Maybe that will get me on the road to better amplification.
The question I want to throw out there now is the converse of the original: What amps, in the supposedly hi-end class are to be avoided like the plague?

Krell - Krell - Krell. FPB400cx to be specific. You can NOT go wrong.
Step into the future...how about a 1000-watt ICE module digital amp? See JJAZ preview and H2O Audio reviews on 6moons.com. He says they're terrific....
I never heard of a 1000W per channel H2O power amp. Is there a new model I do not know about?
No, not 1000 watts, but they will drive anything to any volume.

A bit over your budget, but take a look at the new Boz 216/2200 amplifier(tactaudio.com). It will give you the control you're looking for, and adding another 2200 in the future will allow you to biamp your speakers.