My deepest appoligies for yet another "help me choose" thread, but I need best opinions or advice. Sorry for the length, but rather too much then not enough info.
When my mits rear projection died, I upgraded to a Samsung 3D Smart tv, so retired my Sony STR-DB930 and picked up a Sony STR-DN1010 for HDMI switching and 3D passthrough. It has served my purpose and gotten me by, but now I am ready to update the receiver to something more fitting my home theater. The 1010 just has not delivered the quality sound I was accustomed to with the 930, not as rich and what I perceive as a tinier sound.
I currently run a 5.1 speaker set-up (but may add 2 front high speakers at some point) and the vast majority of use for movies and tv (DirecTV). Some occasional music, but we "older folk" don't crank it up quite as high (well, the wife does when she wants to really get into Celine or Yanni...LOL). I have never gotten into the additional zones, but have a nice opportunity with the right receiver.
Being somewhat of a Sony fan, I am looking hard at the STR-DA2800ES (or possibly the 1800ES) It looks to have some very nice features, good power, and hits toward the upper end of my price range. But then the Pioneer Elite line caught my eye and I must say, looks very good to me. I am leaning toward the SC-65, but would consider the 63 or even the 61 if the price of the 65 never drops a little. I have researched here (not a lot of info on the Sony) and have read about going to the store with a cd and dvd and listening to them and buy what sounds good to me, but unfortunately, that does not seem to be an option. The only two high end dealers I can locate within a hundred miles both said they pretty much only handle/sell the integra line. Can't say I am much of an Onkyo fan, researched what I could on the Integra (not very much out there), and feel more comfortable staying with the Sony or Pioneer. Wifi is not that important as I am lookiing to run ethernet to unit with switch to add other components (I think the Sony 2800 has switch built in)
My current equipment:
Speakers: All Paradigm (Fronts-Monitor 7v3, Center-CC170 v3, Surrounds-ADP170 v3, Sub-PDR10)
TV: Samsung UN55D8000
Samsung BluRay player
DirecTv DVR HR21 (hopefully soon upgraded to HR34
RCA VCR (believe it or not)
Harmony One remote
Ipad (sounds like all potential receivers have apps for using the Ipad with receiver)
Besides wanting the best sound, really need the receiver to "play nice" with DirecTv and the Harmony remote.
So if you can, help the old guy out in deciding, even if it means waiting for the new models to come out. Thanks in advance!