I bought the rx-a3020 a few weeks ago as an upgrade from rx-v473. I demoed it with music on KEF Q300 bookshelf speaker against marantz av7701/mm7055 combo. I have to say that the marantz combo for music sounded better than the 3020, but the price I had to pay for the extra cable and amp was +/- US$1000 and the marantz doesn't support bi amping and lacks some dsp modes the yamaha has. The Marantz only have 2 ch stereo mode vs Yamaha 9 ch stereo mode.
Previously, I also demoed Marantz SR7007 vs the AV7701/MM7055 combo with at a different dealer with monitor audio BX series. The AV7701 combo also beats the SR7007 in sound quality.
My question is:
1. if I use a multi channel power amp to power my speakers and turning off the amp in my yamaha, my HT system will sound better for music than the marantz av7701/mm7055 combo?
2. Has anyone ever taken this upgrade path before (connecting an yamaha avr to a power amp) and how much does it improve your system's SQ in terms of music?
3. Which upgrade will have a bigger impact on SQ, the pre/pro or the power amp?
Bedroom: Panasonic Plasma 42", Yamaha RX-A3020 AVR, Classe CP-800 stereo preamp, NAD M25 power amp, Fronts: KEF R900, Center: KEF R600c, Surrounds: KEF Q300, Sub: Paradigm Sub 15 + PBK, KEF Q400b + Antimode 8033S-II, Sony BDP-590 Blu-Ray Player, Dune Smart H1 media player.
Study room: Logitech Z5500