Recently got my 7.1 going. Room is approximately 19 x 22, NOT dedicated to HT only. Using a Yamaha RX-A800 (rated 95WPC). Speakers are rated 89dB. (Boston Acoustics L/C/R and front presence/height, with Fluance bi-pole surrounds).
I don't listen at reference level, and have not had it anywhere near a level where I've heard any straining/clipping.
But, read lots of posts relating to speakers that said adding clean external power really helped to "open them up". To me, this suggests that maybe there is even better sound to be had at my listening levels, without having to go to 11.
When putting my system together, I was close to buying an amp because I thought my room size would require it. But, I held off (mostly due to wife's $$$ complaints) and so far, volume level doesn't seem to be an issue. But is there some other great sound locked in my speakers that the AVR power can't bring out? (FYI, my L/C/R are not bi-ampable)
I kind of expect that my current speaker setup is a "starter" set - I eventually plan to upgrade and move these ones to a secondary living room or bedroom setup. But, this is minimum 2 years out. So trying to get the best sound I can from what I've got now.
So, what say you - is adding an amp worth the time and $$?
Boston Acoustics Classic series L/C/R + front presence; Fluance XLBP Bipole surrounds; PSA XS15se
Yamaha RX-A3040; Emotiva XPA-3