The Adcom is functioning well. Only one complaint, there is no 12 volt trigger but that is it.
The Adcom GFA 555II seems to be on the neutral to warm side of coloration. I decieded to pick up some audio cables and a new set of speaker wires. I didn't buy anything special, so don't beat me up.
I bought some Audioquest Sidewinder 2 meter cables to connect the SC-35 to the Adcom. I was running some Monster XP cable but I picked up some the Monster M series MCX-2S. I know some of you are cringing right now. I'm just not ready to buy some of the nicer cables out there yet. Nevertheless, these were better and had built-in banana ends.
Well, the answer to the question (do adding a amp to the ICE powered SC's do any real benifit for HT) for people who are not into separate amplification yet is...
YES!! It sure does.
In my case, I added the Adcom GFA 555ii, 2 channel amp which is 200 watts @ 8 ohms. There is a review for this amp on Stereophile.
Anyway, the Adcom added a refinement to the bass during 2 channel music playback with lossless apple tracks from my iPhone 4 with SC-35 set to Direct mode.
I played the RTi A9's or bass heavy R&B at 0dB on the SC-35. I never saw the distortion warning light turn on, nor did the Adcom 555ii ever seem to get hot. It was barely warm. Without a doubt, there was more bass and mid bass added to the RTi A9's. It seemed as if their was bit more control of the three 7 inch woofers. Best I can describe it that the bass is firmer.
As for as home theater, the same benefit that I received in the bass and mid bass was evident in the Clash of Titans movies. Running the RTi A9's and A7's full range is really producing some sweet vibrations in my room. They are playing nice and low.
I'm really sure that the Pioneer Elite SC-35 is putting more power on the remaining RTi A7's rears and CSi A6 center. The center channel seem so much strong and full bodied in this configuration. I had to look at the MCACC to mack sure the Pio had not given the center channel an extra boost. Upon inspection, the new calibration had the center channel trim lower than my old cal which I saved in position 1 for review vs the new calibration.
It seems the whole system has been stiffened because of powering the RTi A9's separately and leaving only three speakers for the SC-35 to spread it's power among.
Now, is the difference worth the extra money and trouble to use a separate amp with the SC ICE amp AVR's? In most people cases, I would say no. You will get all the bang and boom you need from a good powered sub.
For people who use RTi A9's in stereo, they will gain a true increase in overall performance which will be noticed in all modes when using a high quality and high current amp.
I wouldn't recommend anything less than 200 watts in the Adcom because there was a difference but it would be mostlikely diminished if the Adcom or similar amp is equal or less in power to the SC models.
I only have one more question in my mind. What would a more powerful Adcom sound like?
I think the next step is 300 watts or more from Adcom.