Again showing my lack of knowledge in hi-fi (I'm learning), but the passion is there! I have a Sony 1200ES amp, could I add a power amp to this and how would I do that? Or is a decent integrated going to do a better job?
Well no....a 2channel power amp to my multi channel home theatre amp, I had an old Marantz hooked up but it died. So to make your answer clear are you saying that I could buy a good power amp and get a better result than a similarly priced integrated? I mean I have no plans to get rid of the Sony 1200ES at this stage. Will this give me the balance of home theatre and better music?
For purely 2 channel youd probably find an integrated sounds better. That would be using a cd player as a source say and going direct to the integrated
Left and Right audio in multichannel would be a step up either way. If you used a power amp and put the sony into 'direct' mode, in theory it would shut down its internal amps which 'might' mean 2 channel audio is very comparable to direct to an integrated.
Very hard to say which would be better for certain
My slight concern with using a power amp is its 'gain'. Im not 100% if it would follow your sonys control volume through the decibel range. An integrated could be set anywhere so not a problem. Ive not actually done it that way myself.
I have no doubt a decent integrated amp will do a better jog. Pre-amp section of Sony 1200ES and other ordinary multichannel amps are not suitable to handle music in stereo.
Integrated amps are based on projects with shorter audio signal path (multichannel pre-amps have lots of filters and other circuits which degrade audio signal) and use better parts. Even pre-amp section of mid-priced integrated amps are better than the abovementioned multichannel amp's.
Once I tried something similar with Denon 4310 as a pre-amp + Sansui AU-α707KX as power amp and their performance was far away worse than the Sansui as integrated amp.
Looks like you have your answaer, if you can find an integrated with a HT Bypass it will make it easier for volume setting when in multichannel. While AV amps can have good sound, a good integrated or even Pre will probably be better, It was fo me when I recently went from AV amp to Power amp to Pre Power.