Deephaven, I for one know exactly what you're asking.....but I cannot answer it directly, as I'm not as technical as others in the forum. But after watching them being built, repaired, etc, and listening to them as they try and 'tweak' the amps and designs, I will say this: Where most other companies only go so far in engineering, because they either get to a point of having a decent amp for the amount of money they'll get for it, or they don't know how to increase the clarity, efficiency, headroom any higher; these guys keep going, they fine tune, they keep upgrading certain parts changing locations of parts, everything like that in the prototypes and designs to try and achieve the "perfect" amplifier. As far as comparing with other companies, I'm not going to do that, as I personally feel that it could cause a hailstorm of drama, as other companies might think we're talking crap about them. This is why alot of professional reviews are done with white label products, so as to not step on any toes.
As for SQL, I'm not one of those people. I love Sound Quality(as in the quality of sound), but not the "front stage" aspect, I'm more the "Theater Sound Quality" surround sound kinda guy. I'm also light spl, and after researching other brands and testing them, I WILL go with LP, not because they have a cool sticker or a vintage name, but because they produce the clearest bass, they do rated power with engine off, etc. Someone mentioned in the other thread that if LP could do all this, why could other companies not. Well, the other companies might not have the budget or WANT to blow it on getting all the aspects figured out.....plus it would take them a while likely to get it figured out. Most all these other amp brands(not including the Big-3; no names mentioned), do not actually have an engineering team. They have thinkers that get with remote companies, they tell them what they want and have that company's engineers get to work on it. The result in something very high end would be an amp that has extremely high production costs and you wouldn't be able to control sales, as the manufacturer could easily begin offering them to other brands also, as the original "Brand" that paid for R&D does NOT own the rights to the design, the rights are owned by whoever engineered them. So that's another reason why alot of companies do NOT tread the thinner ice to get to high end status.....it's too much of a risk. Also, say if they DID make a high end, they'll be known for low to mid end stuff and who's actually gonna buy all these new "highend" amps from a company known for low to mid end. Now, as for the Big-3, yes I'm sure they have engineers of some sort and they probably are good at what they do, but it all starts at R&D budget, AND R&D knowledge and experience. You can only build something as good as you yourself can design and engineer, and can afford.
Ummmmm, I'm still unsure if I've actually explained what you're wanting to hear, I tend to lose myself or sidetrack myself in particular regions of a run-on paragraph lol.
I'd like to request that we all remain civil though, even if you think there's a bunch of nut-huggers in this thread or fight-pickers, please keep it to yourself. It only makes you look like an @$$ when you constantly bicker and start throwing names. Mom always said, "When you point fingers and call names, you got 3 fingers pointing back at you."
In short, the differences begin with how much thought is put into the amps, how far they want to go with them in "tweak"ing their designs, stuff like that. LP has 2 of the most sought-after and experienced engineers around, and these 2 engineers were given a limitless budget, so what came of that was a limitless design, which in turn produced a near perfect amplifier.
As far as comparing internal components and stuff, most companies use components only strong enough to handle the limits they test them with, some go a little over, so as to have a little buffer room, but the components are still running at 90% and up, which takes it's toll on the components over the years. At full tilt, the current generation LP's are running their components at a maximum of 40% potential continuous cycle. This makes the finite life of them almost seem infinite, as they will STILL be operating like new when they are 20+ years old. So if you're building the ultimate system, and want something that you won't have to replace after 4-5 years of use, then you can consider this a worthwhile investment also, as I can guarantee that in 20yrs, your amp will sell for around the same price you paid for it. I don't think many amps can do that honestly, although I have seen a few that are close(no names though).
^Was this a ramble? I know someone on here that will see it as that, but he can't be helped