Originally Posted by prestonrich
...........................will any improvement in sound quality of a good 2.1 ch. receiver (not many remaining other than a few offerings from HK, Yammy, Cambridge and Outlaw), sufficient to overwhelm the room equalization benefits of the 5.1, 7.1 ch. offerings?
Probably not, if the EQ is important to you.
Just an FYI: no stereo receiver is really "2.1" because music is only 2.0. There is no specifically encoded ".1 channel" (aka the LFE channel) like in movies. Some of these "2.1" receivers only simply provide a summed full-range mono output for use with a subwoofer's line-level input in conjunction with the subwoofer's onboard low-pass filtering capability. Others may truly provide full crossover functionality, with the ability to provide both a low-passed subwoofer signal as well as a high-passed speaker-level signal. Just make certain you know what you are getting and the ramifications of its specific "2.1" implementation if you get one of these receivers.
Originally Posted by FMW
The reason stereo receivers are hard to find is that they are obselete.
Plain ol' stereo receivers are not obsolete nor hard to find. The OP is specifically talking about 2.1 receivers, that have dedicated line-level subwoofer outputs. These are rare and always have been.
Originally Posted by Ratman
"Bass management" for what? It's stereo only. The sub handles the "bass management" (if setup properly).
For high-passing his speakers. Few subwoofers have high-passed speaker-level outputs and of most of those that do, the "filter" is supposedly of very poor quality.
That said, for a music only system, if the room EQ is not important, I agree with the advice to simply use a stereo receiver with speakers run full-range and a subwoofer with its low-pass adjusted to the speakers' natural roll-off (or to taste).