Ok, well that's two votes for more powerful amps.
And now I can say I agree. I realized last night that my old bass (guitar) amp has a stereo power amp that drives 350Wpc @ 4 ohms. It's a Stewart World 1.2. Plugged it in, and the speakers are totally different. Real bass response, the mids are stronger, and the high mids are smoothed out a bit/more natural. I think it may be presenting just a touch less detail than the Marantz's power section, but overall it's clear that those speakers like having the extra power/low impedance drive. This configuration has noticeably higher noise levels than the receiver alone, but not so bad that you could hear it from my normal listening position. It seems about half the noise is from the power amp and half from the pre (based on what happens when I turn down the preamp all the way). The Stewart wasn't made for home hifi use, of course, although it *is* convection cooled, and I'm willing to wager it's among the coolest running amps around. Certainly the lightest (11 lbs) and smallest (1 rack space). No DC trigger tho, so 2 power switches to hit (annoying).
Since I can't afford 5 channels of the good stuff right now, I think I'll "limp along" with the Stewart for a while. At least until Emotiva gets the RPA-2 out.
Thanks for your posts.