Originally Posted by Invader3
My budget is probably about $500. I would like it to be 7.1 capable, as I have a pair of Paradigm surrounds I can add to this system eventually. Other than that, I don't have any big demands for features. This will probably be mainly a secondary viewing area for now.
Any help would be appreciated. I am not as up on HT stuff as I used to be.
First things first, as I'm sure you know, rocking out in the basement will let everybody upstairs know you're home. That said, working with your budget, I'm a Denon/Marantz kind-a-guy so that's where my recommendations go. Finished or unfinished, basements have their acoustical problems and getting a system that includes a program like Audyssey is a good idea to help tune your speakers to both your listening position and the basement listening environment; best bang-for-buck sound quality with what you have happening.
Based on your above comments, a 5.1 system will do your basement listening experience just fine. The more gear you add, the more expensive the plan becomes and going with a 5.1, in a basement, is a good thing. The Denon AVR1713 will do you fine and is one of the latest and greatest and meets your budgetary constraints as you can have one delivered for about $400.00. If you just have to have 7.1, check out the price on last year's Denon AVR1912.
If you're just in it for a secondary listening receiver, then one doesn't need the latest and greatest. Price wise, you might consider the Marantz NR1403, not as sexy (full featured) as the other suggestions but no doubt, in your basement, a unit like the NR1403 will get you where you want to go.
A caveat, all recommendations are based on your above comments and stating the obvious, if you want more, you'll be hitting the hip a whole lot harder. To get the best price, do some phone shopping and let the phone agent know you're phone shopping for the best, included shipping, price. Hope the above helps.