AVS Special Member
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Southern California
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
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For a receiver, don't fall into the trap of either thinking more power is always better or that all sound the same; they definitely do not.
In terms of sound quality, receivers are VERY different in their amplifier design cost and the resulting sound quality. There are nay-sayers; I have 40 years of listening and engineering design experience that says differently.
Home Theater magazine tests receivers and rates their sound quality, and one would be very smart to look very hard at those ratings. Experienced experts listen carefully under controlled conditions to arrive at those ratings, and they can tell you a lot.
The cambridge 551R, for example gets a perfect 5 rating and deserves it. Pioneer and Yamaha do not do well, and their sound quality is marginal IMO.
I would look at Cambridge, or Marantz, or Harmon-Kardon if you want decent sound quality (in that order).
For speakers I would rate KEF as one of the best; they have been for 50 years. The others you mentioned are not in the same class.
The T100 ultra-thin system is not their best value, however. It sacrifices sound quality to aesthetics (an issue of priorities...).
A pair of C7 speakers, a pair of C3 speakers, and a C6LCR would be a far superior system IMO for almost the same price.