I'm sure this question gets asked all of the time, but I figured I'd ask to get the freshest responses possible. I just purchased the Millennia M80 v2 floorstanding speakers, and I plan to, over time, purchase more Axiom speakers until it's basically the Epic 80 - 500 system. I figured I'd put off getting a new receiver until after all of the new speakers, since that gives manufacturers time to start putting in HDMI 1.3 connections, allowing the new sound standards for HD DVD and Blu-ray to be passed on digitally (BTW, I have the Toshiba HD-A1--how much is that going to limit my sound quality?). However, the sound quality with the M80 v2s was less of a jump from the Polk Audio bookshelves I have than I was anticipating. I emailed Axiom to see if they thought my receiver was the limiting factor, and they did. It's a Sony DA3ES receiver, which outputs 100 watts @ 8 ohms. It would be nice to get more performance out of these speakers sooner rather than later, so my purchase feels justified. I was thinking of getting separates, and I was thinking Outlaw Audio because the reviews seem solid, and I'm a fan of the direct-to-consumer business model.
Soooo... I was thinking of picking up two of their monoblock amps to start, to power the M80s. Do you think using the preamp outs on the Sony receiver along with the Outlaw monoblock amps would give me at least some of the boost in performance I'm looking for, or do you think the Sony receiver isn't even up to doing preamplification duties? In addition to Outlaw Audio, the expert at Axiom also recommended Denon, Harman Kardon, NAD, NewCastle and B&K. Would a receiver by any of these brands serve my needs, or am I right by getting separates, albeit at a much slower rate, since I'm not as rich as I think I deserve to be? It seems separates offers the most flexibility, and I like the idea of only having to upgrade a preamp/processor later. And if I get the monoblocks, it means I can output at 4 ohms to the M80s, and 8 ohms to the others. Or are there multi-channel amplifiers with different impedance settings for each channel? I'm kind of new to high-end audio, so I'm still trying to pick up on everything. Please feed me healthy, easily digestible advice. Thank you for your time, everyone!