benefits of adding a power amp to a budget system?

I had posted in here before about possibly adding a power amp to my budget audio system.

I have a HK AVR 235 receiver (50 watts per channel RMS) hooked up to a pair of KEF Q5 speakers.

I am considering the purchase of an older power amp, like the CJ sonographe SA 250. I would like to improve the musicality, detail, bass response, soundstage, etc, while providing an upgrade path in the future.

I went to a local hifi store to see what they might have, and the salesman told me that adding a poweramp would do very little for me, that what I really need to do is upgrade my speakers, and then consider a sep amplifier.

Is there really little benefit to adding a sep amplifier at this time?
Wilsynet- I recently sold a Krell KAV 3250. It was driving my Martin Logan Ascents. The Krell was an incredible amp. Before I sold it I tried it with my living room system.(Marantz reciever,Kef Q9's) I ran the Krell out of the marantz via the pre-outs. I literally couldn't even tell it was in the chain. I was going to do the same thing your thinking of,but since I really couldn't hear an audible difference I'm going to leave it the way it was. I agree with your local high fi salesman,and applaud him for sound advice.
In my opinion, the amplifier will impact a system for better or worse more so than any other component.

An excellent amplifier will most always make a mediocre pair of speakers sound almost spectacular. But a mediocre amplifier will never make an excellent pair of speakers sound spectacular.

For what it's worth, the vast majority would seem to agree with your salesman. But then again, the majority are usually wrong, right? :)

So to answer your question, it is absolutely in your best interest to upgrade to a seperate amp now. But that's assuming you upgrade to a worthwhile amp. Otherwise the answer is no.

And before you buy a new/old amp, do some extensive research on amplification because there are a few fabulous amps available for a song. Otherwise, you'll end up substantiating your saleman and other like minds claims.

What's your most frequently used source?
a creek integrated would be a nice match with the kefs. would improve all areas looking at.
You may want to reconsider purchasing an amp. It seems to be to be a better selection to pursue speakers you adore. Hear them in a setting with fantastic pre/amp, or even better yet, an fine quality tube hybrid integrated amp.

Why? Because you may change your mind later about which amp you want. If you purchase the amp now, and later select speakers, you may not like what you hear. you may find yourself purchasing yet another pre/amp because it does not mate well enough with your speakers.

If you get fine speakers now, any future upgrade will continue to allow the speakers to impress you, especially if you chose them by listening to fine equipment!

I would think the speakers will bring a much more dramatic improvement short term, and make it easier to shop ONCE for the pre/amp (OR! Tube hybrid integrated) later.

Word of caution, I would NOT use your current equipment to judge the speakers in question! Hear the desired speakers in the best setting possible. You will enjoy working toward that sound later as you upgrade amp.

If you are relatively new to hifi, you may be looking for inexpensive solutions to "upgrade fever." Try to avoid that. I thought exeactly the same as you; "...maybe if I can get an amp for a couple hundred, I can kick up the performance..." In reality, the addition of another piece of electronics, tethered by an additional pair of interconnects, etc. will kill much of the finesse and detail you could achieve by moving to such as an tube integrated!
You would likely see a bump in power/presence, but that may not satisfy long term.

I have moved to the absolutely most simple system possible, and with terrific results. I would avoid any unnecessary components if you are looking for purist sound. Better to save up and get the right piece for the job.

Now, you MAY wish to pursue the tube hybrid integrated, or simply a better quality solid state integrated (imho, you will leapfrog a few upgrade steps if you go right for the tube hybrid and they are NOT all that unresonably priced! Especially here on agon!; Just make sure you get one w. a remote if you gotta have it!) and then look for speakers later. That decision may be determined by how good your main speakers are now. If they are nothing special, then definitely do the speaker thing first! If they're pretty good, and you love them, then go for the amplification.

You'll hear everything under the sun about which to start with in building a great system...cdp...amp...speakers, etc. In the end, system symmetry/complimentary (i.e. same level of quality) of components seems to have a huge impact on overall enjoyment. If you get serious about this hobby, you'll want to someday own two cdp's or sets of speakers (at least temporarily) to really find the magic in the sound.

The truth is, if you are getting serious about pursuing great sound (you have to be honest and determine if you're a "tweaker" or not), you'll most likely change amplification and speakers several times before it's over.
A few questions.

What are your source components, Make and models, vinyl, CD?

What kind of music do you mainly listen to?

What's your listening room like, approximate size? Where are the speakers now?

What are your likes and dislikes about the speakers you currently have? Have you tried many different speaker placement options? Some of the goals you mentioned can be had through speaker placement and a little room treatment. Set the speakers up as per manufactures instructions. Get an office chair with wheels and slowly roll yourself in between the speakers and listen for the sound stage to lock in.

What speakers did the salesperson suggest as an upgrade?

Have you heard any system that has really sonically impressed you? Do you have a goal in mind?

Why the Sonograph?

Did you know there are many manufactures and retailers that offer satisfaction return policies and/or home auditioning? It's very important that you hear improvements in your home. Using these services you can broaden you hands on knowledge and hopefully refine and define your goal.
The getting better speakers was sound advice.
I like most of Douglas Schroeder's advice. Without knowing how good your source is (if it is not great you should upgrade it first), swapping your HK for a high-quality integrated would give you the best sound value right now IMHO. As for buying a power amp now, I would much rather have a good preamp and an ordinary amp to listen to while I saved, than have the reverse. With a good integrated you get both and you save on interconnects as well.

However unlike Douglas, if I were you I wouldn't change my present speakers until the end of the upgrade cycle. This is because each time you improve what you feed them, they will sound better.
Since nobody asked: How good do you think the pre-amp section of the HK is? Are there pre-amp outs?

If the pre-amp section in the HK sucks, then it doesn't matter what you hook up to it; it's still going to suck.

Read the thread that was started on 5-26-06 that is titled "Will increasing the size of the amp improve sound quality".

Not knowing what your budget is, has some influence on the best answer. However, if your budget is $300 or less, I would say that the right answer, without a doubt, is to upgrade your speaker crossover networks. It'll probably run you closer to $200-225. Upgrading your speaker crossover networks will improve the entire frequency spectrum (highs, mids, lows).

thanks so much for all of your advice -- replies have been very helpful.