I use a Pioneer SC 1523 K 9.2 AVR with the excellent VP180 center channel. I use the AVR to drive all the speakers except for the front L/R (Thiel CS 3.6s). The Pioneer would not have any trouble driving the Thiels but I have a beautiful Integra M504 with huge power meters which looks great in the rack.
Unless I'm going to watch a move, I don't take the trouble to turn on the Integra amp and just listen to the center and 6 surround channels. Sounds great!