I’d be willing to bet that for every audio designer that thinks high end audio amplification design like Paul, there are an equal amount that think otherwise. As far as an amp breaking a sweat, my experience with certain types of solid state amps is that they sound their best when breaking a sweat.
One of the ways we designers make good sounding audio amplifiers is to lightly limit the input frequency while at the same time extending its high-frequency response.
That’s something that might seem counterintuitive but it works.
For example, at the input of a power amplifier, I like to form a light low pass filter of around 30kHz but within the amplifier’s circuitry, extend its bandwidth to as high as is practical—hopefully somewhere close to 100kHz.
This combination of limiting what the amp has to deal with while making sure what does come in is easily handled makes for a wonderfully open and easy presentation of music.
I like to think of it as a car with more power than it needs, and then a light foot on the accelerator pedal.
Easy in so the amp never breaks a sweat.