Re: Amps for dummies
What got me out of buying receivers was not money, but amps. High end amps have a much better sound than I have heard in any receivers. I tried the adding amps to a receiver thing too, but then did not like the hums and ground noise that single-ended connections made. Eventhough, ground noise and hums can be very, very low in some setups, when I tried pairing mac amps with a yamaha, it just did not work out so well. I do have an adcom that worked fine with it, but I am not crazy about the adcom as I was about macs. Eventually, when you learn how great balanced connections are and you have fallen in love with the sound from of a particular amp, you will then realize you no longer are interested in your main system being driven by a receiver. I also subscribe to the more power is always better idea. You really don't want to have an amp that is constantly straining to eek out every watt possible just to drive your speakers to a good listening level for you.
Hopefully this helps you, as Ken said, it can be hard to explain, and not everyone does things for the same reasons.