Ok it is time to show my ignorance again. Though I will not be purchasing one until after the holiday season, I am curious about getting an Amplifier for my system. Though I am having no problem pushing sound quantity (most of my usage is for HT with the stereo set around -6 from reference), I understand that I will not get the sound quality potential of my speakers until I get some additional power. Also let me remind everyone that I am new to this hobby (though addicted terribly) and am learning as I go. So I have lots of questions.
1) Should I get a 7.1 system Amp (to power all my speakers), a 3 speaker amp (to power just my fronts and center), or just a 2 speaker amp (to power just the fronts)?
2) Do I take a chance of changing the timbre of the speakers by attaching them to an amp and thus messing up my seamless transitions from one speaker to another?
3) What amount of power (wattage?) per speaker should my new amp have?
4) What is the difference between balanced inputs and unbalanced inputs? Which would fit my HT needs?
5) If I add power just to a few of the speakers (e.g. the front stage), would I have problems calibrating my system? For example would I have to turn my new amp very low to compensate for only a few speakers being amplified? Currently, my system is calibrated to 85db using the AVIA DVD system with my front stage set at Left -0, Center – 0, Right - +1. I would hate to have to adjust to Left - -10, Center - -10, and Right -9 to be calibrated on my system.
6) Since my front speakers can handle 500watts and my surrounds can only handle 150watts, if I purchase a multi-speaker amp (as opposed to monoblocks) do I take a chance of blowing my surrounds by getting a too powerful amp? Never know, I or one of my friends may crank it up for Saturday Night College Game night celebration.
7) I hear a lot about digital (or is it circuitry) amps as compared to tube amps. Which should I be interested in?
8) What brand and model amps should I consider? What brands and/or models should I avoid?
9) I know this is a tough question since price on amps run from $60 - $60,000, but understanding that I am just learning this hobby how much should I expect to pay for my first amp?
Sorry again about my ignorance on this subject and thanks in advance for any and all your replies. I am just looking and making sure I understand what is “the best bang for my bucks”. I am hoping that once I purchase a nice amp, I can keep it as I upgrade receivers/pre-amps and speakers in the future.