Is this the voice of confusion, or is this yet another false agument based on the idea that only advice about what is best has any value?
People may say they want the best but reality is that something that is very, very good suffices for all but the obsessively picky. I can't tell you what is best, but many people here give very good advice about what is very, very good.
Word in the business among the old timers is that SAE amps were fragile, but didn't always break completely. Any power amp that has lost half of its output stage sounds like crap, but it still might make noise and sound halfways decent until you crank it up.
Those things happen because they represent the best advice available from people who are aware of the true issues.
Believe it or not there are facts in this world. Everything isn't a matter of taste. Restaurants that can't make what most people find to be good tasting food tend to go out of business, even if the owners think their food is good. There is actually a tremendous turn over of businesses in the world of high end audio. If you go to high end audio shows year after year you see an amazing crop of newcomers every year, and some old timers who show up every year with a new company.
What do you expect? High-end audio gear represents a small percentage of sales compared to more affordable gear, and those small companies compete for the sales, only the good survive. Odyssey Audio, the company I bought my amps from, are still going strong, last I checked. A company that offers a good balance of performance to cost.
My SAE was bought new and never broken, I sold it to young man for 100 bucks, he liked it.