I wasn't thinking of actually posting a review since I'm quite new to all this myself but there were some requests so I figure I'll just pop in and share some of my experiences. Here's my setup. Paradigm Studios all around Studio 60s V.1 (fronts CC450 Studio ADPs Servo 15 Studio 20s V.2 (rear centers) Sony SCDC 555ES Pioneer Elite 49tx Anthem MCA30 (audition) First off for those who are wondering whether adding an amp to the 49tx makes a difference... the answer is YES! Adding an amp that is better than the 49tx's amp section to the 49tx improves the 49tx sound even more. I haven't had much experience with amps and preamps so I can't give any comparisons but as great as the 49tx, as many owners would tell you, it's even better as a prepro. With that settled I mainly played great recordings. Diana Krall, Opus 3 SACD, Yo Yo Ma SACD, and other jazz instrumental stuff such as Miles, Coltrane etc. Movie wise I watched all of Jurassic Park III and A Bugs Life. Improvements mainly come from clarity. I firmly believe that the only reason anyone would think the AVM20 would sound better than the 49tx is because of the amp the AVM20 is often mated to. As much as I love the 49tx, the sound could be cleaned up a bit. The MCA30 has ample power and definitely sounded less strained than the 49tx at loud levels. It runs pretty hot but it's extremely quiet. With the amp I really noticed the backgroud music. The harmony behind the main vocal part for example seems more noticible. The separation of instrument is improved. The music is revealed to you. You really find yourself enjoying the music more listening to the harmony behind the singer or soloist. Mind you that Paradigm Speakers, 49tx, 555ES and Diana Krall is often a forward presentation all around. The Anthem is probably in the forward camp too but it provided more depth to the music and vocals and heightened the clarity both top and bottom. Midrange wise there's not all that much you can do I think. But anyhow this allowed for less fatigue when listening to Krall at louder levels since she can often sound bright and edgy (or even brittle) on lesser systems. The anthem seemed to have made Krall's voice more sultry and deep and the instrumentals more full and smooth sounding so she didn't sound as sharp as when she did without the amp. Strings sound great. I consider piano reproduction to be kind of weak on the 49tx and the anthem certainly helped. Clearing up the sound a bit made piano sound much more realistic and nicer sounding. Jurassic Park III on DTSES sounded awesome. Not much to comment since I think the 49tx is good enough in terms of HT performance anyways. It's 2ch music that I wanted more. But again you'll hear a difference in the production of the musical score. I love the musical score of Jurassic Park and I the Anthem amp really helped increase my pleasure. I certainly recommend pairing the 49tx with a good amp if you can afford it. The Anthem MCA20,30,and 50s are nice amps that I feel are an exceptional value. They're not sophisticated and refined you would need to pay more for that but it really could be the perfect match for Paradigm speakers. I have heard the AVM20 with the MCAs and compared to the 49tx it's pretty close. But I think the 49tx has better chips and a better prepro section. Overall I think 49tx owners would be very happy adding an external amp to it although it's perfectly fine without it. I personally wouldn't do it for HT but would do it for music. You would want it but it might not be worth it. At the level of the 49tx you're talking about clarity and minor details. I really enjoyed my time with the Anthems and I think I"m gonna miss the sound a bit. I don't plan on mating my 49tx with an amp yet since I now plan to spend it on video upgrade instead simply cause the 49tx sound is good enough for me. But I'm happy to know that I can make my sound system sound better. I have thought an is still thinking about trading my 49tx for the AVM20 (thinking the AVM20 will finally have all the processing that the 49tx does) one reason is that the 49tx is now priced lower than a new AVM20 so I might actually not lose all that much but actually gain something in the trade. But for those who see buying the 49tx as a waste of money if used simply as a prepro. Look at it this way, most ppl don't upgrade their amps much. So if you buy the 49tx and a few years later you upgrade, you can use the 49tx in another room and use it's amp section. If you have the AVM20 and you upgrade you'll have to get amps for it to use in another room. Besides it's very expensive to set up a 7.1ch system. With the 49tx at least you get a 2ch amp, 3ch amp and a 5ch amp and have the 49tx run the other speakers. Honestly I don't see how it's a waste of money. I don't care if the 49tx plus amp combination cost more than the AVM20 plus amp combo. If the 49tx combo sounds better then it must be worth it to some people. Either way the AVM20 w/ Anthems are great and the 49tx with the Anthems are great too. Now I just wish I had the money to upgrade both my video and audio. I'm tempted to buy the Anthems though since they seem to be such a great value. Brystons, Bel Canto are my other considerations but they cost a lot more.