are all amps equal

I have recently gotten the Mcintosh bug, but a friend of my who does a LOT or reading on the net says power output is the answer not the name. I am looking for the best sound I can get in the 3k$ range for my Usher Be 718s. I have looked at many used Mcintosh units in the 200 watt plus output area, but my friend says a new 250 watt Emotiva would be a better value. The Emotiva is around $800.
I would like some imput.. Thanks, Don
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"power more important than brand" I don't think so,to me sound is more important than anything else, class a, class d, tube, ss etc.

Alot of very general comments being made here.

Here is a list of just power amps that I have owned,own or at least had in my house for a reasonable amount of time
ARC d60,M100 D90b,D115
Vtl st85,125,it85,185
Marantz 8b
Dynaco st70
Linn lk100,klout
threshold, Perreaux,Apt,Nikko....ah the old days....and more that I am forgetting...... are amps the same ????

Er um...NOPE
Laser, I hear people say that about automobiles too, but we all know that they are not equal, despite the fact that they all go forward and backward and can turn left and right? If comparing one amp to another prompts one to say that X amp sounds better than Y amp, than how can they be equal? It would be very interesting to know the criteria used by those folks that believe all amps, preamps, cd players etc. are equal. I would bet that they have probably compared a few different amps that sounded the same and derived their conclusion of equality based on this sample. IMHO, If Keslerd really believed that they were all equal, he wouldn't have posted this as a question.
Where should I spend my Money.
I will list my system again.

cd- player Onkyo DX-7555
amp- ARC 150.2
preamp- ARC LS1 (old)
all my cables are Phillips from Walmart.
speaker wire 12 gauage, 10ft. run, and bi-wired

I plan to spend between 3k & 4k$, where would you put the money. The Usher speakers are here to stay. Thanks for ANY suggestions..