SS Amp Designer by Reputation

It looks like I'm going to try my first solid state amp soon. Looking for used < $3k. I've seen many brands here like Krell Jeff Roland, Pass, PS Audio, etc. Frankly, I don't have time to read endless reviews or discussion threads and auditioning before I purchase is out of the question.

So, is there a consensus on the top 3 manufacturers/designers that I can focus on when shopping? I will certainly end up selling it and trying something else anywho so, it's not important that I'll nail it on my first try. I just want to make sure my first purchase is close to the bulls eye.

Once I get the three brands, I'll do my research on a particular model from there.

The very best is Spectral - Keith Johnson is a true master...sorry I just saw the budget. I'd look for a used Ayre integrated then.
Another vote for the McCormack DNA series.  You might even be able to score a DNA 500 between $3k and $3.5 k.  If so, you will have hit the bullseye on your first try!
The TFM 45 Carver from the 80s is dead quite, very powerful at 375 wpc and inexpensive. Run one through the Carver shop for updates & the sound great. IMHO
DNA-500 especially if you are driving low impedance speakers. I have one driving my Thiel CS5's effortlessly.

Thanks for listening,

Got my Threshold S/550E for 2k. It's nice as long as you don't mind moving 100lbs around.