So I have been tying myself in knots recently, most my "learning" originates from reading rather than hands on experience and so there are big gaps in my knowledge. Common thinking has, for as long as I know, said that the majority of AVRs are not as "musical" as stereo amps. At the same time it was always said you want the front three speakers to be matching to make a well integrated stage. This has made me wonder, what exactly makes AVRs unmusical? Clearly it'd always be unfair to compare a £2,000 AVR to a £2,000 stereo system as clearly the AVR has many more functions/components which the price is spread over but you used to get reviews saying amps quarter the price would out perform an AVR. I'm in the mixed blessing situation of having a bit of cash to spare for upgrades but no space to have two separate systems for AVR and music. So my initial view was to get a stereo amp (or pre/power) that could drive the L&R in AV mode and provide improved sound in stereo. My concern however is maintaining a cohesive front if 2 out of 3 are driven by a different amp. So this got me wondering about getting a 3 channel power amp and stereo pre amp - connect the L&R via the preamp and have the C preoutput of the AVR directly connected to the power amp. Then I get confused again.... if AV kit isnt as good for stereo then is a 3 channel power amp going to have the same limited musicality as an AVR or does the lack of musicality stem from the pre-amp elements of an AVR? Or am I over thinking it and should stick with my Onkyo AVR and use the money on a holiday instead?