Up to today, my setup was a venerable Sony STR DE835 front ended by a Monoprice HDMI to HDMI + Toslink switch allowing me to get HDMI to my projector and sound to the receiver, which has good of optical inputs. I picked up today an open box RX-A3010 for $950... It is much more than I wanted to spend on a new AVR but the fact that it seems to do three powered zones seems like a good thing given that I was going to try and find some way to put the Sony into my bedroom closet to get sound there and now can probably simply run cables to speakers and consume less power overall...
One thing that I am extremely reliant on in the Sony is that once you have selected an AV (audio/video) source, you can simply select an A (audio) source and the video comes from the same source while the audio is switched in from the other source. I use this all the time, for example when the kids play Xbox using a wireless headset (off the switch, but now the Xbox) and I listen to music through an Airport Express. With the HDMI switch, where I had a manual switch from its Toslink output to either the receiver or the wireless headset, I could also do the same when they're watching movies off a Mac, and I am cooking and listening to music. I use this ALL THE TIME.
With the Yamaha, if I select AV1 I get audio/video from HDMI and as I switch to AUDIO1 the video is replaced with an image of an instrument. Cute but definitely not helpful if the AV1 was the Xbox... A quick search in the manual shows that I can set the Yamaha to ALWAYS prefer some other audio than HDMI but that's not what I want. I want to simply be able to say "keep the video, but sub in some different audio now." This is all in the same zone.
Is that possible? How? If not, this AVR may have to go back (at least then I won't have to cut the back of my cabinet to make it fit
). Then, what comparable AVR will be able to do what I want? It's a bit like Denon's "Video Select" but the other way around (though the Denon feature would work I am sure... as well as running multiple HDMI cables to my projector or using a switch and running optical/coax to the receiver, but such outputs are disappearing quickly on new players etc.).
EDIT: I have found (p. 105 of the manual) that if I move my Airplay to MULTI CH, then I can set Video Out for that input to be AV1 (or any other AV). But this does not solve the "switch audio while watching any AV source" (e.g. TV or movie from my Mac) and also it forces analog output so no multi channel audio from the Mac, or buying an external decoder just to feed to MULTI CH which seems silly (not that I have any now, but who knows, it'd be nice for classical music). There's got to be an easier way? It was trivial to do in a 1999 receiver!