This is a very good question. Thanks for the criticism about the "confusing" part of the guide.
Let's start with this guide: https://nuprimeaudio.com/guides/amp-comparison/
We want to keep updating this guide until it becomes less confusing for customers.
A little technical background:
Class A, AB, tube amps sound characteristics are primarily determined by the device used, so that resulted in so called "house sound" for various brands.
Brands (and that's majority of them) who buy class-D module from IcePower and Hypex, are stuck with a particular sound.
In the "old days" (the Nuforce days), we only have one type of sound, ie the NuForce Reference series (Ref 8, 8.5, 9V1, 9V2, 9V3 etc).
Since we started NuPrime in 2014/2015, we have better understanding of Class-D designs, built on the knowledge from the past decade. In my opinion, we are now in a golden decade for audio amplifier technology. As far as NuPrime is concerned, we can now create pretty much any sound characteristic we want because we are not restricted by the module that we purchased. We are the master chef, free to try anything we want.
The choices create problem for customers. Hopefully we can provide buying guide that help to make the decision easier.
To find what you need, you have to combine the Relative Ranking table and the Sound Characteristic table in the guide.
Base on your implied budget, looks like either IDA-8 or DAC-9SE+STA-9 can't go wrong.
You can also wait until mid to end October for the new streaming amp WA-300 (estimated price $1295 to $1350). All these amps have the clarity that meet audiophile's standard, it is a matter of how much details they can show. The WA-300 is at IDA-8 level, but with built-in streaming, bluetooth aptX HD, PCM 24/384K & DSD 256 decoding, 150Wx2@8Ohm or 250Wx2@4Ohm, very powerful, plus all the I/Os you need. It has a different sound than IDA-8.
I think another very important decision to make is how far you want to go for system optimisation. This should be decided from "day one". Budget is not an issue if you build and upgrade the system over a few years. Or is it a buy and forget kind of setup.