thanks for the detailed reply...
I am leaning toward keeping the Pio and just adding a two channel amp for the STs...
can you recommend between the AVA, Emotiva , CJ , Anthem , Jolida , Niteshade, which would be a good two channel amp? will probably buy used since i can get a better amp, would like to spend <1k for the amp itself...
I would like to try the Jolida or Niteshade as tube amps..
I think the AVA also makes a tube as well...
I know the Emotiva is ~800 for the XP2
the rest I am not as familiar with...
I am a bit hesitant to get the Denon, while I have read great things about it... i got a 991 about a year ago and it had to go back because of the HDMI card that went out after just a few weeks
thank you for your advice
Originally Posted by pstrisik
If I was starting with just Salks, I would pick up the Denon 4311ci as suggested for your HT processor. You can use it to power everything initially and it seems to have the best consumer implementation of Audyssey XT32. Next, when ready, external two channel amp or two monos to power your mains. I would continue to use the Denon for center and surrounds. Emotiva is the best bang for the buck for amps I think (I have UPA-1 monos). They resell well if you want to upgrade to an AVA, Conrad Johnson, etc later. Next step in the project would be to get a good stereo preamp with home theater bypass. My current thinking is to put the tubes in the preamp and use solid state amps. Best of both worlds and the most practical in management and maintenance if you are going to have tubes somewhere. If you really want to go for it, after preamp, look at external DAC (can get tubes there as well).
This is all ignoring the source which is of course important as well.
The beauty of an AVR like the Denon (I have an Onkyo) is the flexibility. You can start there, and it's no slouch, and build piece by piece with the AVR at the center. If you get external amps for the mains and a preamp, you bypass the denon entirely for two channel music.
No rush though!
P.S. - I think Anthem makes better quality stuff, but their AVRs are not up to date in features and flexibility like the Denon and Onkyo.