The peculiarities of a high value, low cost, amp

Bought the acclaimed STA200, last year. 

Was surprised to find it can drive my Tekton Moabs with fully developed, detailed, musical sound. I've practically passed out in front of my Moabs, time after time, late at night, for the past six weeks, starting when they first entered my home.

When I push the volume into dynamics that persist into the 85db and up range, for the better part of an hour, the amp yields a fair amount of heat to the top of the chassis and the rear heat fins. This is concerning. Things start getting hot and I draw the volume down. I imagine I'm not the only one facing unseasonable heat with their amps... I keep my tuning mostly to jazz and acoustic sections. Occasionally, I get an itch for rock and roll or something that pushes the bass down and deep. A week ago, I played Lorde's "Royals" and could hear the amp struggle to push the bass notes out, full and clear. There just wasn't enough juice. This, of course, nudges me away from bass rich electronic content, somewhat regrettably, as I do love to embrace as much variety as comes my way.

Another piece, is that the STA is stated to NOT work (well?) with 4ohm speakers, and that is probably what is happening in my description of the limits of the higher volume and bass (electronic) heavy content. Now, I mostly keep my listening in the 85db and under range, and the music is gorgeous. I can hardly believe I'm riding on Moabs, a $500 amp, and a few other inexpensive pieces that collectively deliver sound that I never though I would be able to afford.

Still, the amp is running at its limit on the "bigger" bass pieces. I keep specifying electronic bass, but I'm sure there is more that would push the amp into heat mode. To be more precise, it is probably when deep bass notes are pulling 90+db that the amp fails to keep up, and what is a deep electronic bass note if you can't feel it, thick and full.

So, I'm curious as to your thoughts on what I'm running into... is the heat a problem? I hear it's damaging... If this amp is one of the "steals," but I'm running, on occasion, to its limits, what other "steals" are out there?

When I say steal, I think of things like what I'm reading about class D audio amps. For all of $600 or $700 I can bring an amp into my home that provides 400-600 watts per channel, accommodating the 4ohm load of the speakers... 

The Schiit aegir looks very attractive, but I don't think I will have more than 40 watts a channel and then the problem with Royals.

The Vidar looks interesting, could surely push the drivers more effectively than the STA, but I hear the highs are a bit forward and I want my highs right where they are - clear, pure, authentic, not at all harsh.

There may be some other interesting options, but keep in mind - I want very high value for my dollar. Used might be an option... 
Sell the STA200 and get a Crown XLS1502. $439 from Crutchfield, American Musical Supply and others, with free shipping. $500+ wpc at 4 ohms! Crown has been around for 60 years and their engineering staff certainly know how to design a real-world amp! And in a 9 lb package! 
Don't fall for the bs that only a boutique amp is worth owning/listening to! If the XLS1502 had another zero or two in its price the golden ear crowd would be praising it!

good amp, if it is built akin to the job225.

If you like that, then the suggestion is to stay away from class d amps, and try to find a traditional design with more power than the job simile called nuforce optoma.

If you get class d, it will be more of the same. as in, your current life is like ’otto at the airport’ as I like to say. Where you get one, but not the other. Never both.

Meaning, the Nuforce is giving you the finesse you want but not the power ...and if you get the class D, the class D will give you the power - with no finesse.

You will get some of the relief you want but probably lose the qualities you desired and liked in the Nuforce.

Thus, stick to traditional old school class a/b amps with traditional power supplies and go for more power. To get past your situation, I’d suggest 150 w/pc into 8 ohms and up, as a good area to find what you want. That’s a good 3db more than the optoma at 150 w/pc, on paper that is.. as all things are not equal, so millage may vary.

I bought, and built, Class D Audio amps, mainly to use for HT. The amp for the main speakers is an a CDA 254 with an upgraded power supply, and two CDA 254 modules, for 500 Wpc into 8 ohms, The sound is ridiculously good, especially at the price.

I mostly listen to my two tube amps (SET 300B and SET 845) for music, but once in while, I listen to music through the Class D amp, and I am again surprised at just how good music sounds. They are a bargain, and an easy build, if that is something you like doing.

I had a STA200 for a while and enjoyed it, although there are many better choices, even for the price. I especially liked that it was a pure dual-mono design. If you like your STA200 that much I'd encourage you to chase down other dual-mono designs. Akitika GT-102 amps are better, and just as cheap--about $400 for the kit and $500 complete.

As I remember the STA200 wasn't bad on heat--nothing like a PASS XA25, for example. The XA25 is superb, and as a bonus you can fry up some bacon and eggs on it while you listen.
On the one hand a big beefy class A/B with lots of power like a BGW 750 or studio 620, take mine they are space takers. could try a class D.  Not all class D will give you everything, however a Digital Amplifier Company class D might just leave you breathless.  Why?  The smoothness of a tube, the detail of a transistor and the immediacy of a class A without the trade offs.  I have a closet with class A/B monster amps gathering dust.

The DAC class D amps are like none I have ever heard.  They get out of the way and let the music come through, whether soft and polite or large and loud.  Small company, zero advertising, not a great big price.  You can buy a BGW or Acurus for about 400 dollars in a lot of places-why, because they sound like a class A/B in the mid range and up.  Great for a subwoofer, not so subtle as you work up the frequency range.
The Crown 1502 sounded like garbage in my setup. I am VERY happy with my Emotiva PA-1s.
Very happy with my Emotiva XPA-2 driving inefficient Maggie's and I play loud pretty much all the time (certainly above 85dB and mostly rock). 550w/ch into my 4ohm Maggies. $1000
I picked up a used Spectron MK lll class D amp to drive my Maggie's. 7's The old beast weighs 52lbs and drives the 4 ohm Maggie's with ease
and to my ears sounds amazing! I've heard D Sonic make an excellent class D amp for the money

Watch "Magnepan .7's & audio system" on YouTube
With most speakers 80W/ch gets you decent spls but not lifelike levels especially if delivering a lot of bass.

I have a 60w/ch Class D amp that performs similar to what you describe. I also have 500w/ch class d that plays as loud as one might ever want and never breaks a sweat.

Class D is great for delivering lots of power cost effectively when needed.

TEKTON is known for higher efficiency than most which should get you further per watt than most speakers but sounds like that is not happening enough in your case.
I've researched crown and my strong intuition is that the top end is not going to meet my standards. The mention of crown "valve" amps was interesting, perhaps a specific model could be indicated. My feeling (and research) is that crown produces a lot of power and that the amp is largely neutral, but I think I would see a loss of high end information, flattened soundstage, again- harder sound in the top end, or some combination thereof. Some reviewers mention these shortcomings. If you are sure I'm mistaken, direct me to someone who speaks thoughtfully and can provide some case-in-point examples of the dynamics I seek.

I hear wonderful things about Cherry amps, but they don't come cheap, starting well in to the two-grand range. I think I could get something amazing if I looked in the two to three grand range, but I am happy to hold out until other option bubble to the surface... 

I did bring an Emotiva amp of high power to my system, and, again, I found the top-end hard and harsher than I want. 

The combination of the Moabs and the STA200 is perhaps very slightly rolled off, and so there is absolutely zero listening fatigue. While there *might* be a very slight loss of top-end information, the vividness of the sound images throughout are absolutely captivating in good recordings. I can see, for example, that the only limitation in the sound (within the above stated volume parameters) is my ability to relax and really take in the fullness of the tapestry the system communicates. 

@mapman Ok, you've drawn me how is the soundstage? How is the 'realism' of an instrument, say a drum set, or a double-bass, a piano, etc. 

MY FAVORITE CD of the last few weeks is "Lofty's Roach Soufflé" by the Harry Connick, Jr. Trio. Gorgeous recording. Warm up your ears and system on song 1 "One Last Pitch" - get a feel for the instruments, but allow yourself to relax into "Hudson Bommer" and "Lonely Side" before drinking in the rest. You have to be able to truly slow down and appreciate the notes, the soundstage, the occasional vivid "crush" of the drum pallet. My STA200 does this CD proud. It is only the heavy bass material, in other recordings, where I find a substantive lack... I strongly sense that Crown products will not create a feeling of instruments opening upon my own living space, like my STA200.
Listening99, have you replaced the stock power cable that came with the STA200 with a beefier, heavier gauge power cable ? The amp takes well to this, and really blossoms. Also, leave the amp on, continuously, and place a small weigh on top of the chassis, not blocking the rear hear sinks ( a book will work ).
If you like the sound of the STA 200 but feel it is struggling a bit with your speakers, then look for a used Job 225. It is almost twice the power, with a bit bigger power supply, and sounds better too. They can be found for around $900 on the used market. The 225 can sound quite amazing with the right speakers. 
Having dealt with some tube amp anomalies after installing the Tekton MOABS, I decided to measure the actual resistance and found mine to measure 3.1 ohms. 
When I moved the speakers to the 2 ohm output terminal on the amplifier, it resolved the issue. 
The amplifier manufacturer suggests not tapping for loads less than the output tap rating. Again, this is a tube amp. Might measure your MOABs to see what the actual load is on the amplifier. Also keeping in mind that the resistance can drop when being driven hard.   This could be a factor in choosing a new amp. 
+1 mrd...also a good preamp match is vital with this amp; mine works very well with Nuforce HAP-100 and a passive pre. there is a long thread on preamp matches...but there are limits to 80 wpc

@mapman Ok, you’ve drawn me how is the soundstage? How is the ’realism’ of an instrument, say a drum set, or a double-bass, a piano, etc.

Soundstage, realism are both top notch. Drums, piano, bass, no matter.

The amps are Bel Canto ref1000m and BEl Canto c5i.

I also have Vanatoo Transparent One Encore active speakers. Each is bi-amped internally with separate Class D amps. These are small but deliver similar results way above their size and cost.

I’ve used a variety of speakers, currently Ohm, KEF and Vanatoo, but also Dynaudio and Triangle in the past.

Class D would probably not be my first choice with high efficiency speakers. Tube amps are definitely best suited for that paradigm.   I might still go Class D in lieu of a tube amp with high efficiency speakers.
I'm running a Schiit Saga (SS/Tube, model), and the Cambridge CD transport. Modi 3 DAC. These are my examples of inexpensive components that together amount to what is practically a revelation in audio, in my space. I owned Vandersteen 2CI's for over twenty years, and often frequented the local high-end stores. Most recently, I auditioned the Maggie 1.7's and the Klipsch Cornwall IV. The 1.7's have no bottom end, to speak of, and if I'm going to add twin REL subs to a system, I might as well look for other options. The Moabs don't need any added bass boost. I also auditioned, on two occasions, the Cornwall IV, for sale at the princely sum of $6600 and they play big. A gorgeous sounding speaker, for sure, but about $2K more than the Moabs. I don't think they are any better, although the Klipsch is somewhat easier to drive. I had not heard the Moabs, nor any other Tekton (before purchase), but I'm a researcher and I felt that the roll of the dice was worth it, plus it included a valuable "adventure" into the unknown element, and I'm not at all unhappy with the result.

These Moabs are incredibly involving speakers, and as many owners have said, they reveal everything downstream. My experience is that you really don't have to spend $2-3000 to $10,000 on every component in a system, to get the real thing: big, effortless, vividly real, involving, at times mesmerizing sound. And no, for those pondering the Beryllium, I don't think you are going to see some sort of great "improvement," only a somewhat different presentation, and the situation is such that it's almost impossible to compare the beryllium with the non-beryllium option, which is kinda cool, actually. I went non-beryllium, because I like the idea of utter coherence between drivers, and they delivery fully- the speakers sing.

I have previously cited an experience I had at a Jazz event in January, where the sound of the drum stick hitting the cymbal metal released sound that was not metal, was almost not metallic at all. The sound was of pure beauty, not harsh, not hitting, just a releasing of pure distinct, shimmering notes. The "purity" of the live event called on me, again and again, during that intimate setting. With a good recording, where the perceptive insight and planning of a sound engineer are maximized, the Moabs produce a sound event that leaves me just about as satisfied as my experience in the jazz club, back in January. I'll leave it there...

@mrdecibel I bought the cable you recommended, around the time I bought the amp you recommended - the STA200. So, the low impedance of the speakers, when the bass notes are maximized, can call for more juice than it wants to convey. The speaker/amp combo does produce some awesome "crunching" drum impact; it's the VERY big and low notes - the "the cars that go BOOM!" impacts that leave the amp somewhat withering, certainly not rising to the occasion. 

@jl35 I'm running the Schiit Saga pre. Loving the combo with the STA.

@jengelmann What tube amp are you running and how are you measure the impedance on your Moabs? Terry London claimed they were a nominal 4ohm load... I understand "nominal" to mean they do not drop below 4ohm, but I don't know that he measured the speakers...

@bigshutterbug Does the Job handle a 4ohm load? Is the power rating specified for 4ohms? How about 3.1, assuming Jengelmann is accurate... I don't want another version of the same problem I'm facing with the STA200. When I looked, I could not find a 4 ohm spec for the 225 (Job).

Where are the sellers of the Crown concept, backing up their claims with vivid examples on equivalent equipment? 

Anyone familiar with Lofty's Roach Soufflé?

Hello Listening99:
The 225 amp drives 8 ohm and "not-so-difficult" 4ohm loads pretty well, but it would not be considered a high current amp by any means. If your speakers drop down to the 3 ohm area, and are not real efficient or you tend to drive them hard, you may want to look at a different amp. Unfortunately, at that price point, I have not heard any that sound even near as good. 
Yes, I've listen to Lofty's Roach Souffle' for many years. One of my favorite Harry Connick albums, and a pretty good recording too!
I'm surprised your having issues with the  Moab's, the specs would indicate they should be more then satisfied with 80wpc. even much less. I'd try borrowing another amp from a dealer or friend and see if its just the amp not delivering. As I suspect a better quality amp even less powerful may be interesting to try.  I'd try to borrow some different amps ( even an integrated) to try see the differences. maybe if there are some local Audio-goners who may  help.  

Tekton specs them at 98db 6ohm with out knowing more on the specs that would indicate easy to drive to me, even low powered tube SET may apply. Or so you'd think from the specs listed, I've never heard a set of Tekton's though, would like to.   
@bigshutterbug Perhaps it's system synergy, but LRS is crazy good on my system. Do you recommend any other recordings of Jazz with that same artful synergy that you find in the Connick album I've described? I've gotten quite a bit out of Patricia Barber of late - her work is vivid, the recordings are also vivid, her voice beautiful, but often I want to let go of words and hear only instruments, echoes of places. 

Eric of Tekton did say the speakers run easily and didn't see a problem with my amp... The amp isn't really known for hard loads - they recommend not using it for 4ohm, it turns out. So, it's really not built to do what I'm asking; it may be that the Moabs are actually doing quite well on an amp that is designed for an 8ohm load. 
Does the Job handle a 4ohm load?
The 225 amp drives 8 ohm and "not-so-difficult" 4ohm loads pretty well

Like I showed ages ago in other threads, it's just a Job-225 board in a slightly different chassis, and yes Job's didn't do a very good "doubling" of wattage act into 4ohms from 8ohms, they but can "handle" 4ohms, if a little strained doing it.

Nuforce STA200


Cheers George
@mrdecibel Unexpectedly, I've just run into a review from August of 2013, attesting to use of the Job 225 with a pair of Thiel CS 1.7's. The minimum impedance is 2.6ohms, and now I've learned the difference between nominal and minimal impedance, perhaps... I thought nominal pointed to the lowest impedance the speaker would be expected to develop, but now it appears it sits at the other end of the spectrum for the speaker. 

Anyway, the review makes it clear that the Job can deal with low impedance without issue. It also makes it clear that the 225 has a lot more power than they are claiming, reaching up to over 200wpc with a 4ohm load. 

listening99, keep in mind, there are " many " reasons the JOB products are no longer manufactured.....I have read every review on the JOB225 and the Nuforce STA200......I gave you my opinion........ymmv
Anybody look at the RTA of that Lorde song ? I have and listened. My LiL NAIM sails thru it with easy Vandersteen load. We have a Job amp in the studio - great Sonics.

might I suggest an Odyssey?

great SS power amp
I have never seen, heard,  used a budget amp that did not have fatal sonic flaws.
Usually woefully inadequate in bass and brittle, with little finesse.  :)
Try a Yamaha AS-501 from music direct...great value and quality build.  $599 I believe and has dynamic power up to 220wpc rms.
I owned an Adcom GFA 555 ii for a number of years.  It's rated at 200 watts per channel into 8 ohms.  It is available on the used market for between $400 to $575.  It delivers a ton of current and controls the speakers/drivers very effectively.  Better yet, it sounds quite good and has maintained a strong following and high rating for SQ, all for very good reason.  Mind you, not the GFA 555 but the GFA 555 ii.  My speakers were very inefficient at just 83 db and the amp drove them to very high SPL.  Never once was there any indication of the amp not being able to keep up with heavy bass.  I have since sold all of the equipment and moved on to a significantly more grand system.  But I have to say, that amp was probably the most impressive component of my entire previous system.  Mine was in impeccable condition and commanded a selling price of $550 (I was asking $600 but took the offer for $550).  Do some research and you will find verification of what I am saying about this amplifier.  Honestly, it will be the best $500 you can spend on upgrading your system. Your speakers will come alive like you have never before heard them.  Good luck on your final decision/choice.  And by all means, enjoy the music.  After all, that is what truly matter.
Much appreciate the responses and angles of... attack...

@mammothguy54 The GFA is an old amp, pushing thirty or thirty-five (years of age), from what I'm reading. A replacement, the 555SE is also now ten or twelve or more years since release... I think the 555ii was quite good, given what I've read, but if I'm going to put down $500, I'd rather the amp be less than ten years of age... or I'd rather put down another $500 and have something very close to new the Van Alstine SET 120 might contend. The Class D Audio offerings might be interesting. Frankly, if the Aegir can handle the load, I'm thinking of heading that direction. The review of the Aegir that I just read made it out to be a lucious sound piece... 

@mrdecibel I appreciate the claim that the Job225 might have some problems, or reasons for not being produced these days... It's not for sale, while the STA200 is still on the market. I had heard that the 225 was an unsinkable ship. If you have a moment to explain, why are we no longer seeing sales of the 225? The review I read was glowing, so you would think they would sell something that reads as a success...

@dave_b I will take a look. I thought my Yamaha days were behind me, but I will take a look.

@jetter My speakers do not have terminals for biamping, unless there is some other way to hook them up...

@douglas_schroeder You must have a great deal of experience with lower quality gear, to make such an assessment. You leave me guessing at your experiences and I wonder if you have tried the Nuforce STA200 with 8ohm speakers. Most people have been surprised... I would benefit from understanding the "fatal sonic flaws" exhibited by the amp... It sounds crazy good, to me...

listening99, I have a lot of experience with low cost, Mid-Fi, lower, mid and upper end HiFi amps. I have used chip amps, SET, hybrid and from lower cost/power to upper end SS amps. If you want to see the amps I have handled in 13 years of reviewing for, see my Bio on the website. 

 I happen to have a NuForce integrated in my living room, as I run 3 systems of varying levels. I tried it in the main rig for kicks. It lasted about 1 hour before going back into the living room. Fatal flaws of the sort you describe. (Perhaps they are not considered fatal to you; they are to me when it comes to what I expect in the sound quality). Perhaps this clarifies what I meant by fatal flaws. I would use such an amp, but not in my primary rig. 

BTW, Lord's "Royals" is one of my reviewing demo tracks for the very reason you mentioned; it shows weaknesses pretty quickly.   :)

This is all moving just fine...

@douglas_schroeder So, having given this some thought, including some consideration of your review work - I did enjoy reading through one of your reviews. 

Here is my quandary, given your estimation of my amplifier. You call it a "fatal flaw" and we can both see that I have had it in my system, with perhaps two occasions where the bass was undernourished. In the important songs (favs) - those where dimension, timbre, spatial cues, and utter enjoyment are the absolute intention, the amp has set the stage for, along with the Moabs, truly delicious extended, nearly nightly, sessions of listening. I need to remind you of my beer budget - not the $10 and $12 dollar bottles. 

So, you have tremendous background, so where do I go to support the bass experience, while at least maintaining the mids and highs? What can I do, given that I have a $500 amp and now want an improvement that maintains my budgetary motivations. 

How do I make the dream rise out of this mist? Can I do it for $800? $1800? $2800?

Regarding the crown amps..... I have the older xls1500 and it sounds great IMO. It may have sounded a little cold and uninvolving in the beginning. Hooked up to a tube pre really fleshed everything out and sounds very good. The top end if anything is smooth IMO. Not a fatiguing amp. Another bonus is the gain controls on the amp. You can dial the gain to match preamp of your choice. Plenty of power for almost any application. 
It’s Lorde....and questionable choice at that.  I would definitely try something from Music Direct, as they are amazingly helpful and understanding with 60 day trial.  I would go old school...solid build, beefy power supply and as purist an approach as can be had for your $$.  
I've really liked the Odyssey Khartago Extreme, great price in part due to being sold manufacturer direct. They do extend the 20 year warranty to the second owner.  And can be upgraded at any time. Used ones usually well under $1000. I use the STA200 with Elac monitors in a small room and it sounds great, but wouldn't try it in main system. But for around $300 used, it's an incredible value, but needs to be used in proper context for it's strengths...
@listening99 The reason I asked if you could bi amp is that I will be listing a STA200 for sale sometime.  They are in mint condition with about 100 hours.  I purchased it to fill in while my monoblocs were being modded.  I think it sounds great. 
LOL yes, "Lorde"; Have to chuckle about that! I don't know that I would say it's divinely approved music! ;) I do know the correct spelling, must have been in a rush. As far as questionable choice; of course! I use an array of pieces of music with bass, electric, acoustic and synthesized LF to judge music. I expect my systems to perform superbly with all of it. You might be astonished how much the character of LF notes changes with systems. We're talking music in the very low Hz range, well under 20Hz, and the way it changes is both astonishing and delightful. Those who say that region of music has little to offer imo do not understand how important that region of the frequency spectrum is for building a superior rig.

listening99, you are facing the dilemma of the budget audiophile, which I struggled with for several years, so I do understand your situation. You will find advice ranging all over the place, with people trying to direct you to what they think is the magic bullet - tweaks, room tuning, subs, better amp, speakers, etc. 

You seem to love the speakers, and even though the specs are loose at 20Hz on low end, I will presume they can do at least 30Hz +/-3 dB. Ok, so you'll likely be ok with them. 

Regarding the amp, a couple of tough/bare truths:
-Change the amp, everything changes - lows, mids, highs, etc. You can't freeze the upper end and change only the bottom. 
-It's a guess; ONLY comparison will tell. All the anecdotal evidence will give you no assurance. 
-Genre of amp is crucial, except when it is not, meaning that while typically certain genres have performance characteristics, it all depends on the manufacturer and model. I have used many tube amps that are more SS sounding, and vice versa. 
-There is always more, LOTS more to gain in a system. Please do not take this wrong; it is true of everyone here; you have many, many levels of sound quality waiting for you if you choose to pursue them. You are now nowhere near ultimate sound with that system. As I said, even in my systems I am not at the END all and be all sound. I have for the better part of a decade continued to elevate systems several times past where I thought they couldn't get much better. I now put no limits on how good audio systems can be, and how many times they can be improved. Limitless. 

So... yes, you can radically change the entire performance of the system with a new amp. No doubt about that at all. That would be one change of many available. You probably think it couldn't get much better. You are wrong. It can get better over and over and over again. You simply have to try things to push the system forward. 

You will get two very different, very opposed viewpoints here. One group says "sufficient" with quality is the way to go in terms of power. The other says more robust power with quality is the way to go. These are not mutually exclusive, and the perception of attainment is in the eye of the beholder. Obviously, I'm deeply into quality sound, but in addition, I do not care to typically drive my personal system with less than about 200Wpc. 

You don't seem to dislike the SS sound, so I would say look for a premium used or sale Class A or A/B amp with a good reputation. You could venture into much higher power with a Class D at least 500wpc like the Red Dragon S500 I reviewed. I think you would be shocked at how different your speakers can sound. Really, you deserve to hear them with more robust amplification. You could play around with a high brand name recognition amp such as Pass Labs (disclaimer; review underway), Van Alstine, Odyssey, etc. and not take much of a hit if you resold it. I would be cautious about having it shipped by stranger; I have not had good experiences with others' packing of amps and shipment. I would buy local via an Ad or dealer, or across country by dealer or manufacturer. 

It's going to cost you something to move up. But, you have LOTs of room to roam in terms of performance. The performance spectrum is GIGANTIC, way beyond what you think now. Getting another amp is just one step along that spectrum. And if that turns out well, you'll think that you have reached the End. No, not even close. It keeps going and going... limitless, if you want that.  

Here's the tough truth; no assurance that 1. with those price points you absolutely will like a different amp's sound better. 2. Are there much better sounds out there? Yes, many. You do your research, take your shot and hear the result. I flipped a LOT of gear prior to reviewing when I was building budget systems. Every amp was distinct and did different things well in the system. In many respects building a rig is not a math equation, but an art form. Consider it your sound journey.   :) 

Understood Doug, but I would not use synthesized anything for judging the musicality of a system.  As for measuring extension...perhaps, but again, it will not reflect sound quality overall.
I believe that with your Cambridge CXC, Schiit Mani and Saga, and Moab speakers you have a great start towards a very fine budget system. I own a STA 200 and also think it to be a fine amplifier when matched to the right speaker, one not dropping below 4 ohms in the bass region. Odyssey makes a 100wpc amp that retails just below $1000, sometimes comes up used on AG. 
Listening99, seems like the problem with your current amp is heat, and Out of 45 posts I didn’t see anyone even attempt to address that!  There is a potentially very cheap solution that I have used on all of my tube amps that just might fix your problem!  I would try to mount dc powered computer fan or fans behind and possibly above the unit and point them at the heatsinks!  You can make them run absolutely silent by under powering them with less voltage from old cell phone wall warts!  For example, take a 12v fan and an old 5v Motorola phone charger, strip the leads and connect them (trial and error sometimes) to the fan until it pushes air!  You will be amazed how just a bit of airflow over the heatsinks can make a huge difference in the heat buildup of an amp!  I also used this on an amp camp amp project that liked to run extremely hot if you pushed it even a little bit!  With this solution, it barely gets warm to the touch!  Both the fans and the old cell phone chargers should readily be available around the house (mine anyway) or at just about any Salvation Army or other thrift store!  Btw, the fans usually draw very little power so overheating the wall wart should not ever be an issue, but just check the wattage on both to be safe!