Unhappy with tubes so which transistor amp?

Hi guys,

About 6 months back I bought an ARC Ref110. For one reason or another I am still running on the demo unit which has failed 2 times during this time. The first time it was one of the output tubes which was blown. This time it simply won't power up. I have checked the fuse and it looks ok but the amp shows no sign of life.

Based on my experience so far I am thinking that I will sell my unit brand new when I get it next week. I don't want to deal with a piece which breaks down often as for me reliability is one of the key criteria as I am totally zero on the technical side of electronics (changing the fuse may be as technical as it gets for me). So even stuff like biasing, changing tubes after x amount of hours looks like a lot of work to me.

Now after this background I come to the million dollar question. Since replacing the amp with my old Aragons I have noticed that I have lost significantly in 3 areas.

1) Soundstage does not seem to be as big as with the Ref110 specially in regard to sound coming from outside the speaker thing, which btw is gives you an awesome feeling if you are listening with the lights switched off

2) I have lost the mid range magic. This is painfully apparent in vocals as they have lost their sense of realism.

3) Digital glare and harshness has also crept back in the system.

Now I am looking for an amp that is SS but can give me back what I have lost although I am not sure about number 2 as everyone says you can't do it with SS. Basically I am looking for an SS amp with huge soundstage, beautiful and natural (not "smooth" as in muffled) midrange and san any digital glare. Price should be ~10K new or used.

The related equipment is ARC CD3 MKII, ARC LS26 and Peak Consult Empress loud speakers.

Any help or ideas is welcome.


P.S. I posted the same on speaker forum by mistake. Mods please feel free to delete the other thread. Thanks
I too have had problems with my ARC gear....The sound is top notch from ARC, but is likewise top notch with Ayre gear. I've never had a problem with my stuff...it just functions without any problems at all.
Also second the CODA idea. I was very impressed with their stuff, and it is relatively cheap, especially used.

I also love my McCormack DNA-125 with SMC's mods. It doesn't get much better, although modded gear may not impress your friends, if they are used to shiny audio jewelry.

Herron's monoblocks (I had in my system for a few months) was very impressive. Smooooooth.....but with plenty of current. Tube-like.

Any amp from Karan is sure to impress as well. Have yet to hear a bad word about any of their stuff, although if CODA is under the radar, Karan is completely stealth!
Had the Karan integrated for a while, and it was very nice, but then I went the separates route, so I sold it. Have good memories of it, though. Did most things very well indeed. I think part of the company's problem is that it comes from a part of Europe that is simply not known for high-end audio. It's definitely underrepresented here in the States, especially given its products' level of performance.