Specifically, what output devices are being used amongst the different "higher end" companies nowadays? It seems that a device (LM3886) has become a favorite with the DIY crowd. I wonder if the same chip is being used by NAD, Rotel, Marantz etc. in their amps. If not are they still using regular BJT's in their designs or other hybrid output devices? It would seem to me that if most companies use the same chips, their sound would become very standardized and bland, essentially eliminating any unique qualities that make their brand special.
I know this is off topic (and off forum) so:
Is there a forum that is as friendly and tolerant as this one is but concerning solid state amps?
If not, is anybody willing to write a thesis covering the history of solid state output devices between the ST-120 and now?!!!