First of all, I know this is mostly a headphone forum, but it's the best collection of audio geeks on the internet, so if my post is in the wrong section, please move it.
So I have a pair of Cerwin Vega LS-12s that are phenomenal for what I paid for them, but I'm cheating them by powering them with an older Kenwood 5.1 receiver. It's a Kenwood VR-505, and according to the specs in it's manual, it is 100 watts RMS/channel. Specs in question: http://puu.sh/1xcm0
I never come close to blasting 200 watts in my room where my speakers usually are, or else I'm pretty sure my ears would bleed. But when I do bring them downstairs for parties, the volume gets cranked, but not as far as we want sometimes, because the Kenwood will cut out. Another thing this amp does is generate static. There is a barely audible amount if the volume is not turned up, but at -20 dB and up on the volume control (I have it at -22 and then adjust in Windows for normal listening), there is a clearly audible white noise when nothing is playing. Annoying sure, but the cause of that is crappy circuity, which also results in the crazy 0.7 THD seen in the specs.
I wouldn't know for sure because I haven't heard them powered by anything better in my room, but I bet the speakers would sound better with a better amp. In my room I have them close to me so I can hear lots of detail. I listen to mostly rock/pop and rap. The bass is usually the dominant factor in pop and rap, but I love being able to hear detail in rock and other genres.
Anyways, I need a new amp. I have a Xonar DX sound card that's doing all the processing, and I'm only working with stereo here, so it doesn't have to be a receiver; but it seems like that may be the only option for this much power. I'd like it to be as transparent as possible obviously, and as long as I'm reading it right and the Kenwood is 100 watts RMS/channel, I'm thinking that 125 WRMS/channel would be a good goal. I've looked at Sherwood's stereo amps, but they only push 100 WRMS/channel aswell, but maybe one would sound better? Other suggestions? I'm all ears (hah).
In case your curious, this is what I usually have my EQ on the Xonar software set to. http://puu.sh/1xd0r Without that, snare drums sound like empty shells, and the overall sound is very flat.
Also, the screenshot from the Kenwood manual was taken on page 41 here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/79903962/Kenwood-VR505-Surround-Sound-Receiver
Edit: Realized I didn't give a budget. I'd like to stay under 300 if possible. Used or new.
Edited by Flynny - 12/5/12 at 2:26pm