In search of the right SS integrated amp

My audiophile friend Greg brought over new Accuphase pre and power amps, successfully demonstrated that my GamuT D3 / D200 Mark III (which have served well) are no longer state of the art. But in my high-rise apartment I’m spatially challenged; what I’d really like is a top quality integrated, 2 channel, solid state (tubes/valves are intimidating), with at least 2 pairs balanced (XLR) inputs (for phono stage, CDP). Nowadays, happily, such exist. Here are some I’ve read about:

TOP TIER (no obvious drawbacks)
-- Boulder 865 – generally admired, beautiful square wave (how often do I listen to square waves?)
-- Chord CPM 3350 – heard Chord system once, much impressed; M. Fremer critical, but of older model
-- Pass Labs INT-150 – right features; high praise, low price; can it really sound as good as the others?

SECOND TIER (sound reportedly all right, but with superfluous features like tone controls)
-- Accuphase E550 – should sound about as good as Greg’s two boxes
-- Burmester 032 – gorgeous cosmetics, but more expensive than others; maybe not worth it?

THIRD TIER (technically proficient, but found emotionally lacking by reviewers)
-- GamuT Si 100 – descendant of my present amplifiers
-- Jeff Rowland Continuum 500 – reviewer may have used unsuitable speakers

Grateful for any comparisons, comments, recommendations.

CODA's latest version of the CSi does indeed have balanced inputs. A phone call to the CODA factory will be an inexpensive way to answer your technical questions in the most direct way possible. Sonically, this unit is very, very impressive.
i am not sure, but the best integrated i have heard so far would be a musical fidelity a5.5.

i am not sure how it would stack up against some of the ones mentioned in this thread, which are obviously a great deal more expensive.

good luck in your search!
In response to Xmetal: the preamp is a C-245, the power amp a P-370. I see these have been in the Accuphase Product Museum for some time; no wonder Greg would like to see them go. But they do offer fine sound. It makes me wonder: doffing my hair-shirt audio principles (just for a moment, while no-one's looking), there might be something to be said for a loudness-contour adjustment, and certainly for two sets of speaker outputs (very convenient, as my speakers expect bi-wiring). The Accuphase and the Luxman models have a lot in common, and both have received good reports; can anyone assess their sound quality comparatively?

In response to Rtilden: I've sent off an e-mail inquiry to the Coda information address. I'll post what I find out.

In response to Johnzm: I'll look into it. Thanks, to you and to all who've posted. It's enlightening.

Update: Coda, Musical Fidelity, Chord and more

Doug Dale of Coda sent a courteous response to my inquiry, stating that the present Coda has, and the next model will continue to have, just one balanced and one RCA input. This would not only rule out taking full advantage of balanced connections but also exclude using my tuner -- not that I listen to the radio a great deal, but I like to be able to do so on occasion. Regrettable.

Looked into the Musical Fidelity A5.5. Seems like a fine amp, but only RCA inputs. Also regrettable.

To Calgary on Friday, where I auditioned Chord amplification. The demo took place under difficulties. It used (I write from memory) a CPA 3000 and an SPM 1050 pre and power amp rather than the integrated CPM 3350, but that should have made little difference. The dealer's favourite speaker cables were out on loan and his preferred speakers not in stock.

My first reaction was to notice the excellent speed and definition of the sound. The sound stage receded a bit from what I am used to but was none the worse for that. When, however, we came to listen to female vocal (the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson) it became obvious that there was a disagreeable hardening of the sound in the upper treble at higher volumes, which once I had heard it was noticeable also on piano and other instruments. A different cable helped somewhat but did not cure the condition completely.

My conclusion is that Chord may still offer fine amplification but is very sensitive to partnering equipment. The actual demonstration was frankly a great disappointment; I had hoped for much better. Kent after all is the county of my ancestors and I should be supporting its economy, shouldn't I? Not at the moment, apparently.

The Accuphase pre and power pair lent by my friend Greg has now gone home and I have hitched up my old GamuTs; still pleasant, but missing something in the high frequencies, and therefore in harmonic richness. At the same time, the Accuphase combination could sound a bit bright. I don't yet know if the E550 shares such a trait.

I plan to attend the RMAF in Denver. Denver in its mining days led many an incomer to stray from the path of virtue. Will the allure of pure Class A (Accuphase, Luxman) seduce me from stern accuracy (Boulder, Rowland)? Or will some so far unheard siren song divert me to an unexpected landfall? Watch this thread!