Most musical stereo tube amp under 5K..

...monoblocks out of the question due to space/shelving considerations (has to be a single-chassis stereo tube amp). Also, must be able to drive inefficient speakers (Totem Mani-2: 85db; 4 ohms).

I am looking at a VTL ST-150 for ~ $2,300 used right now. (only problem is no balanced inputs). Any other ideas?? (VTL deal must be decided on in next 48 hours). Thanks!
You can buy MUCH better sound than VTL. VTL are great for power, but I have always had a problem with the way they sounded. My opinion is that they get worse as the amount of tubes increases. Becoming too hard to meld all of those tubes into one convergent sound. If you are buying a tube amp in search of the magic of tubes, my advice to you is to pass. I have found many superior sounding(to my ears, of course) tube amplifiers. It all depends on you, the music you like, and your speakers. Based on your speakers, I would suggest looking into Air Tight, Cary, Jadis, Quicksilver, Rogue, or VAC. The title of your thread says your price point is $5K, but the VTL you are looking at is $2300. If your ideal price is on the low side, look into Rogue. A little higher brings you to Quicksilver. And, if you are closer to the $5K, consider the Air Tight, Cary, Jadis, or VAC. On this list, you will get what you pay for.
I have been auditioning amps for the past 2 months. The new Audio Research amps are the best things I've heard hands down. The VT100 markIII retails for $6000 but u may be able to find one on Audiogon for less. Gotta give a listen.
I have to agree with the above post. I had been auditioning several brands of tube amps, including the ARC VT 100 MK II, which I was ready to purchase. When I went to the dealer he said he had just received the new MK III. It blew me away. I took it home, and paired with Dunlavy VI speakers, I was in bliss. I fortunately got it for under 5 grand, right before ARC increased the price to $6,000. Shop around for a good price. Happy listening.
Thanks guys- appreciate the input. I have spoken to my dealer (big ARC fans), and my speakers are SO tough to drive, they are really recommending the VT-200 minimum, or two VT-100's bi-amped. There goes the budget!!