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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
A friend of mine is buying a Storm Audio processor and hooking up a 21 channel system. His bed speakers will be 4ohm 92 dB sensitivity ML electrostatic speakers. His remaining height speakers will be ML bookshelves also at 4ohm 92dB sensitivity.

He is seeking amplifiers for these channels. He wants reference capable playback.

I recommended either the Monoprice Monolith amps, or Crown Pro Audio amps. (Frankly from my own testing experience Behringer pro audio amps would be fine too) - his amps will be in a separate room so fan noise is of little consequence.
Noise floor is of high consequence. With 21 channels we want to make sure it isn’t a hiss, buzz, and ground noise fest. That could be a problem with the pro audio amps. He’d have to buy one to test.

We are seeking other recommendations for consideration. What recommendations do you have? Budget isn’t top priority, but this isn’t an unlimited funds build either.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
We are discussing now simply using Behringer A800 amplifiers on every channel. We found a site that sells them for $266 each new/warranty. They seem like a capable little amp. No fan (passively cooled) and the LEDs can be turned off for light control.

Looks like they passed the tests for transparent sound over at ASR, and ~$3K for 22 channels at verified 250 watts per channel (4ohms) sure beats some of the other options we've talked about price/performance. Yamaha's eleven channel amp x2 ($1600x2) (not my recommendation as I think this option would be underpowered) or Monoprice Monolith 7 channel amp x 3 ($1800x3) (a great choice, but almost twice as much at $5,400K and not much more power at 300 watts on the Monolith vs. 250 watts on the a800 if all channels driven)

There are other Pro-Audio amps by Crest, and Crown, and QSC that could deliver 300-400 watts per channel for about $100 more per amplifier, but the may have a higher noise floor, would have loud fans - so no in room setup, and you'd not be able to easily control/disable LED lights. Hard to know without a direct A/B comparison from a independent site. I know all three of those brands are quite reputable, so no concern from that vantage.

92dB sensitivity = 1 watt
95dB = 2 watts
98dB = 4 watts
101dB = 8 watts
104dB = 16 watts
107dB = 32 watts
110dB = 64 watts
113dB = 128 watts
116dB = 256 watts = amp limits.

Lose 10dB for distance to speakers - just placeholder guess/average for a 10-12 foot listening distance.

Doesn't leave room for EQ at reference, but it'll get there native. To get 6dB of headroom for EQ at reference you'd need a 1000 watt amplifier at reference, and that's overpowering both the Electrostatic panels (700 watt rating) and certainly the bookshelves (250 watt rating).

Here's the Behringer A800 review.
Behringer A800 Stereo Amplifier Review
 
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