kirstenj- if it helps any.....I have used a Sunfire 300 x 2 to drive my Apogees for 20 yrs without even thinking about "upgrading".
The amp is competitive with amps costing 5 to 10 times as much!
Has NEVER even ran hot and the load of an Apogee speaker can be quite taxing on many high powered amps!
Good luck on your decision and good listening!
You can trust Garfield above.
Your original post was to upgrade from a 100 watt receiver for under $500. My posts were aimed at that $500 goal. I stand by them. More is always better, but for $500 these were the best.
Here, people are eat up with OCCD as am I, and now I suspect you are too.
(Buy the Corvette, not the Prius). Looking over the thread, all have been spot on, but most have not been in you stated budget. I do understand women reserve the right to change their mind.
All the amps covered here on this thread are an upgrade from what you have apparently been happy with for many years.
To say that this or that one can not pull the load better than what you are used to is funny.
Most now listed here cost more than your original goal of $500, which was not a good goal, but what you stated.
Since you were kinda OK with what you had before, even my favorite Carver -> 400T would be a huge step up.
Sure, if you have the $$, buy more.
None here will argue that the Sunfire 600/etc cannot carry the load.
You can't get those for $500, but you can buy better than what you have for that.
That does not mean that other less expensive amps mentioned here are not a big improvement on your present system. The difference will be apparent.
Idiots here (like me) sit, listen and sometimes concentrate on the music. Bob says it is best to do that in a dark room for optimum enjoyment.
OCCD says bust your budget. That is good advice as opposed to constantly upgrading. Most here (like me) buy cheap, then upgrade.
Buying better to start with is the best way in any hobby
as it saves money in the long run. Few do that, and I bet no one on this forum has not bought less, been completely happy and never upgraded.
SunFire might not actually be Bob's best work.
He sill lives, and is back into the tubes he abandoned years back with a million new ways to improve the sound.
The bottom line is not just $$, but also prestige.
It goes way beyond blind testing amps in a dark room.
If you want the best - Bob's new Tube Amps are for you.
You talk about rooms and zones.
2 channel stereo nuts like me are not yet ready for that. Music about the house and yard is hard to consider for most here. Some/all may have it, but none here consider that real music. To appreciate/enjoy music, one sits in a chair that is dialed in. We all like to dance around to tunes. I do that too often on the boat, the deck, the dock, but while it is fun, not proper for your speakers as they require ???. Just being funny as this has become a funny thread. It is important though. How often will you be sitting there just listening to music? Not many do that. A $500 amp can fill the room with good music and the rest can be spent on the kid.
For good stereo, you don't have zones, you sit in a chair with a cold bottled water/etc and enjoy. Part of the enjoyment is looking at the gear. If I keep working at that, someday I too will be an audiophile.
Young guys are falling out of the trees to help you. Not many women are members and none post regularly. I hope you don't go away after you decide on an amp.
It would be great for all here if you would be a real member and post your thoughts also on other threads. So far, you have not done that.