I've written elsewhere about the rather idiosyncratic views of some of the TC people that post here, and I will just say that I am fully in agreement with your posts, Barnaby.Hi fjf. I asked for some opinions on alternative amps and instead received responses saying that amps make no difference. I understand that is what some people believe but I profoundly disagree with this as is not my experience. I don't want to fall out with anyone and I appreciate we all see the world ( and hear it ) in our own way. There is no point in quarrelling about it and I won't do that.
Perhaps in theory all amplifiers should sound the same but they do not. I do not know the reason for this but I have often noted it. my own amplifier gives an noticeably emphasised upper middle bass but it is slightly woolly compared with other amplifiers from the Naim whose base is leaner but tighter. There is a world of difference between every amp that Naim make and Linn's amplifiers. As I say I do not know the reason for this but it is plain to hear with even a casual listen.
I believe there is room sound - optimising software which does a pretty similar thing to the auto-equalisation feature you mention and I don't doubt it would be beneficial. However, having heard different amps in otherwise identical systems/rooms I believe my first move will be changing the amp.
I do not agree re your notion of the placebo effect being in operation here but I sense argument is futile and anyway I am not interested in arguing the toss about it (BTW I have rejected expensive upgrades to amps in the past on sonic grounds so expensive is not always best in my experience.)
I am grateful for everyone's opinions and will update you on any progress I make. Live and let live is my motto so I will go ahead with my plan. if anyone is interested I will report my findings in due course. But I'm not sure any differences I hear will be believed
I haven't heard the Hegel Amps in question.
I agree with you that Nait is better for a Pop oriented sound.
My amp and pre amp are Parasound, the JC line, which give a great sound stage and plenty of detail. There is real space between the instruments and great Hall resonance and do not sound overly clinical.
Are you looking for just a power amp, or an integrated?