Chris, it appears that nobody has hearing "discerning" enough to establish an audible difference from putting amplification in two or three boxes rather than one. If the amplification is done with audibly flat frequency response and inaudibly low noise and distortion, which is common these days in even modestly-priced receivers, nothing more is possible.

Of course there are numerous claims to the contrary(certainly not a "consensus" of the informed, however), but they collapse when put to the(blind listening)test. The classic Stereo Review blind listening tests stand unchallenged by solid contrary evidence rather than just stubborn disagreement. There's no magic to be found from amplification.
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Enjoy the music, not the equipment.