Having owned the mc 2505, while it does have them vu meters and it certainly was not bright. But I wouldn't call it particularly warm in general either, and tbh the treble was a tad on the grainy side. Still, powerful dynamic sound with decent resolution and staging. That being said, since it was a vintage amp it did have a fair share of noise and transformer problems, which i needed to throw some money to fix it. The price I got it for was under your price range (1200 cad or 900 usd), but I had to throw a few 100 canuk bucks to fix it's problems. I did write some impressions on the 2505 (and a few other things) here but it paints a better picture than what I'm saying right now. I've heard better amps (both ss and tube) since then, but it's still a solid choice if you can get it cheap and in good condition.