Here are my thoughts on receivers: awesome value. It is true that you get what you pay for so seperates are probably better (but as always there are a few exceptions to the rule).
Some say that separates sound better than a receiver and to that I make this analogy. A Ferrari is a better car than a Corvette. Both are great performers that will take a driver to the limit of his ability. The average driver would never get anywhere near those limits. So other than name value and the raw specs could you ever tell which was better? Surely not if you have never driven a Ferrari. You will never know what you are missing.
To the people who these small (or big depending on your perspective) differences in performances mean a lot, more power to you. If you can afford it and it makes you happy then by all means keep the high end in business. And I do say that with all sincerity and a tinge of envy.
Be that as it may, my long term plan is to buy a receiver in the $1,200 to $2000 range and use an outboard amplifier (used) to drive the front 3 Martin Logan speakers.
I am sure that there is better sound out there for more money but I will never know what I am missing and the maddness has to end sometime.
People often ask me ware to start when building a system? I tell them to start by picking your speakers first and then get the equipment that best fits the needs of your speakers. Or pick your components and get a set of speakers to match the specs of the amp/receiver. If you want to run a receiver, I recommend a Martin Logan using ATF drivers; they were built with receivers in mind. The smaller Electrostat’s (Clarity, Cinema) do ok on a receiver.
I ran my Ascents, Cinema, and Scripts, off an Onkyo TX-DS787 for about a week and got very close to clipping, at a high volume level. If you don’t crank it up I think you would be fine. I don’t recommend you use a receiver, but nothing says you cant.
I have a NAD T773 I was thinking of upgrading to the Denon 4806. Maybe I should keep the NAD and spend the $$$ on a 2 channel amp for the mains in the $2000 range or go with the 4806 and pass on the amp?
Ok I'm the guinea pig. I have the 4806 and MLs all around (2 Clarity as L/R, 2 Montage as Surround and a Fresco in the center. It drives them fine plus the room correction helps a lot (my room opens to a kitchen and to the living room). I also drive the Clarity for stereo with a Krell to listen to analogue and the Krell drives them easier (less fatiguing but with a "darker" sound). I'm still comparing to see whether the Krell is really worth it or if I should keep the 4806 only. It was a challenge to get the room EQ to work correctly with the MLs though, basically you need to take samples from the same position at different heights and choose the right position (it is not equidistant to the speakers, in my case it is closer to the Clarity's than to the Montage) to set up the primary position for the Denon microphone.
Thanks for the feedback. Can get the 4806 around 2700. To look at seperates in that range I do not like my choices. I have also seen some Bstock and lightly used 4802R for a good price and also some 5803A both for actually less then the 4806. Another thought is to drop to the 3805 and add a 2 channel amp like Odyssey Extreme or Halo for the fronts.
Do what you want to do. I had a Sansui then a Carver then a NAD and was quite happy with all three. The NAD has since died but the Sansui (oldest of the bunch) and Carver still work well. I like Social's analogy and Joe always gives great advice. In your case, Social's analogy would be best since I was sort of like you up until a few months back when I dove in head first. I was happy with my receivers. But now that I have the seperates, whoa! Now I know the aura of a Ferrari! I won't be going back... Or as Roberto has coined "Let your ears decide". I just hope your pocket book can keep up with them...LOL