Originally Posted by bargugl
Sound preference is very subjective.
However, preference only makes sense if there are actual audible differences. As amps, preamps, DSPs, and DACs that is unlikely with modern equipment.
If those are US dollars, those prices are ridiculous. (Judging by what I am seeing, you are not in North America) The Onkyo is particularly overpriced in relation to the other ones listed. That Onkyo model has a history of reliablity problems and has already been replaced by the NR616. Refurbs of it regularly go for $250 here in the states.
Agreed. For example the last price I saw for the Yamaha V371 was under $170.
Yamaha is probably the most reliable of the choices, but the lower models like the 371 and 471 use chip amps instead of discrete amps.
Actually all SS amps use chip amps. In some cases the chip is a single chip that is the whole power amp minus a few bulky parts. In other cases the amp is a encapsulated piece of ceramic or metal substrate with a number of chips bonded to it. In other cases there is a messy and potentially unreliable plastic circuit board with many parts bonded to it but open to the air, and some of the parts are themselves a single encapsulated chip bonded to a substrate.
Obviously, the performance of the amp is based on the amp's components and configuration with the packaging taking a big back seat. That is why I always say judge components based on how they perform, not the unimportant details of how they are made.
Denon's have a rep of pretty good sound quality, often seen as better sounding than Onkyo (but again, its subjective) and are generally a tad more reliable than average. I'd take the Denon 2113 before the Onkyo, especially if its $200 cheaper (I'd be surprised if it has any more trouble driving 4-ohms than the Onkyo). The other model I'd probably look at out of these choices is the Yamaha RX-A810 which is a model from their higher end Aventage line. There are threads for both of these receivers on the forum so definitely read through them.
With that said, if you are looking at driving low efficiency 4-ohm speakers, I would be seriously looking at a separate dedicated amp built for it rather than home theater receivers, unless you can find something like a Harman Kardon 660/760 somewhere.
The idea that all receivers or all receivers except those from a single manufacturer can't drive 4 ohm low efficiency speakers is yet another audiophile myth. Many audiophile power amps aren't any more robust than the AVRs once you get under the covers. Note for example the common but not universal absence of ratings for 2 ohm loads. Furthermore some AVRs, like many of those from Yamaha do have 2 ohm ratings...
The lesson is that all generalities are false, even maybe this one! ;-)