Great multichannel amps do not cut it in stereo

This is more of a comment than a question.

I have been dabbling in hifi for almost two decades, and in the past 8 years or so moved into what I call 'quality' audio - as far as my budget could muster. I listen to multichannel all the time for TV and movies, but love my 2 channel set up, supported by my dedicated 2 channel amp to run stereo duties.

Since 2009 I had been lusting after the Arcam AVR600 as a no-compromise one box solution for both multichannel and stereo. With the AVR600 model coming to the end of its life I managed to land a new one for a very reasonable price compared to its original rrp. Heavy? Yes. Impressive? Yes.
However, as a two channel amplifier it did not come close to my $1500 Burson Audio integrated stereo amp in terms of detail, soundstage, PRAT etc - in my opinion.
As many have said before, you can not expect one car to be both a utility and a sports car; and you can not expect a jack-of-all-trades also be a master in one area. And this became very evident to me in my comparison.

The Arcam AVR600 is definitely a nice piece of kit, albeit it has its technical gremlins. But it simply can not keep up with a high quality dedicated stereo system, if that is what floats your boat. I can not imagine multichannel separates being much better, as these had been extensively compared to the AVR600, with most indicating a close to on-par performance.

So really, my message is that for high quality multichannel and great stereo reproduction, look for a two box solution including a dedicated stereo amplifier. Spend less on the former, and more on the latter!
Some multi channel separates (of non mono design) benefit with having a larger PS vs there two channel sibling in the same line. While doing side by side comparing it was pretty obvious the 3ch had the edge with better bass response and a higher ceiling than its 2ch sibling.
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"I can not imagine multichannel separates being much better, as these had been extensively compared to the AVR600, with most indicating a close to on-par performance. "

Well, then 1) you need to expand your imagination, and 2) the AVR600 is quite good (when it isn't broken), for a one box solution, but compared to good AV separates - well, no.

I cuurently have a Marantz 8802a, along with a Theta Intrepid, and / or a Bryston 9BST, and a AVR600 couldn't touch this combo in any manner, shape or form, and, when playing in 2 channel (using Tansparent Super XLR's from the Oppo 105 to the Marantz (and, of course to amp), please tell me how bad it sounds.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
Yes and no.  I've owned a "dedicated stereo system" in many guises - stereo receivers, integrated amps, separates, and mono blocks.  The keys to evaluating a multi-channel amplifier vs. a dedicated stereo one are multitude.

If you have a auditorium-sized listening space and/or if you listen at rock concert levels and/or if your speakers are low-impedance/difficult-to-drive, then one is unlikely to get equivalent stereo out of a multi-channel device of most varieties.

If, however, like me, you have a more modest room, listen at more modest levels, and have relatively sensitive and easy-to-drive speakers, then I would suspect that you can get very good audio from a well-made and good-sounding multi channel source.  In fact, you could get so close that in one of those mythical double-blind tests, I'd suspect that you couldn't really tell a difference.

This is pure heresy to high-end audiophiles, I know.  We're invested heavily in the idea that consumer-grade audio is somehow inferior and can never rise to the lofty accuracy of our carriage-trade gear.

But the world has changed, and many of us don't yet realize it.  Even the most cost-driven AVRs on the market know that they have to compete in the sound quality arena, or they won't sell.  And when a company the size of Yamaha or Denon gets a sound-quality hit in a major magazine review, it gets their attention.

No, your $399 entry-level AVR won't now (and never will) compete with your Mark Levinson or even your McIntosh, but the entry level sounds better now than they've ever sounded before.  And the improvements don't stop at the entry level, either.

"Midrange" brands like Rotel, Arcam, Emotiva, and others now provide a greater percentage of "cost no object" sound than they ever have.  And that sound quality improvement spills over into AV gear too.

So I'd contend that SOME multi-channel amps, used within their power envelopes, with appropriate speakers DO rival the mono block or stereo-only amp sounds.  Of course, this is my opinion, and you're always welcome to disagree.

Cheers - Boomzilla (moniker NOT indicative of listening preference)