Today's Seattle weather was sublime as well. Took my family up the iconic Space Needle for gorgeous views and not so delicious and extremely overpriced lunch. I digress.
No, I don't amp my MA8. Regarding it and my AS2, you said it right. The two has great synergy and definitely brings out more resolution and greatly expands the headroom. Not many amps now a days uses the AD797 opamps. The only other one that I owned was the RSA XP-7, and it was a dry sounding amp, but less so over the Gilmore Lite.
The DAC in the MA8, I find it a little smoother, but not as refined over the HM-801, which I believe uses the same DAC and opamps found in the MA9 (never owned) flagship. However, I like how the MA8 makes the sounds of instruments and voices very organic; in contrast to the Studio V (never amped) that I've owned, which to my ears sounded a little too dry and artificial, and I never got over the whole "Class A" claims with the HiSoundAudio DAPs. Sorry, I digress - again.