Originally Posted by Ethos4Lyfe
Thanks for the input - totally open to any and all opinions. I have the Krell 5200 for the main 5 now, but adding a cherry 3 channel (per Jeff and Tommy @ Cherry recommendation) to power some 110HTs im adding to the sides. So the idea is use the new 3 channel to power the front 3 and keep the Krell for ohter 4 (and have an extra channel LOL). I may still decide to go with a much bigger power cherry model if i like the sound, or dsonic..because....why not? haha
I'm thinking my $ might be better spent in getting 2 channel pre to improve 2 channel. Im guessing that would be a more noticeable improvement.
Your current Marantz is already providing a signal that is completely audibly transparent. Noise and distortion far below the threshold of hearing, and with a completely accurate, neutral response. Spending a lot of money for an "audiophile" 2 channel pre will make no audible difference, and might actually have worse measured performance. An external amp can make sense if the extra power is of benefit. The signal from the pre-outs of your Marantz is going to be cleaner than the signal of most external amps....another reason why an expensive pre makes no sense even if you are lucky to find one that actually measures better.
Also, if an external amp sounds different to you, its probably not a great amp imo...amps shouldn't have a sound, only the speakers. There shouldn't be any eq baked into a well designed amp.
There are plenty of really good amps out there with detailed objective measurement data available to be sure you are getting great quality. My opinion is that once you are below a certain level of noise and distortion, the only thing that really matters is power. You won't hear the difference between .008% distortion or .0008% distortion even though its a 10x difference. But if the "lower" distortion amp runs out of clean power and clips, the "worse" measuring amp will sound drastically better due to the extra power.
I've seen so much very high priced audio gear touted as superb audiophile quality that actually has mediocre or even poor measured performance that I would never spend $ on something that doesn't have objective data available. It's just a crap shoot otherwise.
Couple of examples of great amps with detailed performance data available(vs just "our amps are the best and sound great"):
-Monolith 2/3/5/7 channel. If these have enough power, great bang for the buck and superb measured performance.
-Hypex NC500 as good or better performance as the Monolith but a good deal more power available, doesn't serve double duty as a space heater, and doesn't weight 100 lbs if that matters. Nord Acoustics is who I'd look at for these.
There are other amps with very good measured performance but usually at higher cost without improved performance.