I agree with a lot of what you say Bourne much of the time, but not this time.
I think tube lovers are a vocal minority overall (although head-fi has a disproportionately large congregation), and being a tube lover/owner yourself, your attention is naturally focused on tube related comments. I have heard the HD800 with some very nice tube amps and I agree they can sound very, very good. However, I have also heard the HD800 sound very, very good with SS amps.
It's my opinion that tube amps are a very specialized niche and I understand the appeal of them, but I suspect that you have some bias (which we all do) and perhaps you simply haven't heard enough SS amps that sound good (to you) with the HD800. I think this may be because you don't enjoy the HD800 "naked." Nothing wrong with that - humans don't all share the same tastes. And that's why there is such a resurgence in interest in tube amps. Go beyond the nostalgia, the tube rolling fun, and the neat-o looks, and they do have a certain kind of organic vivid sound quality that is pleasing.
On the other hand, I think a good engineer with audio circuit experience could design and build a SS amp that sounds EXACTLY like a Zana Deux - and it will sound that way right out of the box, 5 seconds after you turn it on, and every time you listen to it for 80 years to come - with zero maintenance and zero changes. Honestly, I'm surprised someone hasn't done this yet - build a high quality SS amp with a "tube" button on the front panel to switch between "SS sound" and "Tube sound." Better yet, how about a 4 position rotary dial to choose between specific amps?
1. Lehmann BCL
2. GS-X II
3. Liquid Fire
4. Zana Deux
It would be expensive, no doubt, but it's totally doable in my opinion...
I was more referring to the fact that I've read nearly every single thread here on the HD800 over the past few years and the 'posted' consensus, if you will, leans toward tube pairings with the HD800. Whether that's just a vocal minority or not I couldn't tell you. I can tell you that I have heard the HD800 on many vintage speaker amps, supposed cheaper ss synergystic pairings (TTVJ Fet A, Dynalo, m-Stage etc) and none of them could do it justice. Granted I haven't tried the upper tier ss amps with it as I'm currently have a Levithan being built, and possibly a GSX down the line for an ss option. I definitely prefer the hassle-free ease of solid state, but the ZDSE made a believer out of me.
PS: If someone makes an ss amp sound 'exactly' like a ZDSE, including it's wondrous soundstage-sign me up. :)