Thanks for the info guys. Just to let everyone know, the Rotel gear I was referring to was the dealers, not mine. Thats where I was demoing the speakers. That said, i still have a 5 channel Rotel 1075 amp and rspn1068 preamp that Ive used for about 8 years to drive 1st generation Paradigm Signature S4's, S2's and center. I think they sound pretty darn good, and the audio shop that sold me them with the Paradigms certainly did not thik hey were cheap electronics. I have no issue spending money on something if it falls in my budget and I think it gives me real value added. But I have admittedly never bought into the super high end amp or cable arguments. Cables just transmit a signal, nothing more , and as long as its competently made and shielded I have a hard time imagining theres a big sonic result difference between a well made Belden or Canari cable and some multi hundred or tjousand dollar boutique brand.
Id much prefer to put my cash into things like speakers, treatments, projectors, source players, etc. I have the same attitude towards amps, not processors, but amps. An amp like a cable has a very simple job, supply power, thats it, nothing more. If you compare two amps driving the same speaker and both amps are capable of driving that speaker comfortably, I have a seriously hard time beleiving in a true double blind test one could actually hear a detectale sonic difference between say a Krell and a Rotel. Yes, if the Rotel were perhaps being asked to drive something it was not well capable of and clipping I think one could certainly hear that distortion, but matched with a speaker it can handle I just dont buy that people can hear all these expensive amp sonic differences that they claim they can hear. Placebo effect is a very powerful thing and humans in all recreational fields are well proven to be influenced by it. As a species we are actually pretty low on the ladder regarding our sense of smell, sight and hearing, but we like to imagine we are not. And Im not saying the Krell might not have slightly better tech specs than the Rotel. For 4 times or more the price it better have better transformers, boards, etc, but just because laboratory specs measure differently does not equate to audible speaker differences detectable by humans. Im just questioning whether those differences can actually be easily heard as many claim. I for one have never been able to hear them. I have played my Paradigms with my Rotel gear as well s some Classe gear and I could not tell one bit of difference, none, and those Sigs are not chopped liver as speakers. They are pretty darn darn good. Give me two capable amps driving the same speakers at the same db level and I cant tell you which is which.
Theres a guy on one of the popular hifi websites (cant recall his name) that for years has offered anyone $10k if they can actually hear the differences between two different capable amps driving the same speakers. Many have taken him up on that challenge, and no one asfar asI know has ever taken the cash home with them. No one ! Google it.
And this is just my opinion folks. im not saying its fact or that im some audio guru because Im not. Just relating my own experiences.
I will check out the other speakers mentioned, thanks for the suggestions.