Lads and lasses,
First up, apologies for asking the same question dozens of others have asked. I hate repeating on forums, and did my utmost to research the oft-asked questions about entry-level systems, and thought I'd arrived at what would be a good setup for me. Alas I'm now on information overload, and have to come on bended knee to everyone (with apologies!)
We're in the process of finishing up our downstairs project. Basically a man cave, complete with my home-built kegerator, MAME cabinet, comfy leather couch, and soccer jerseys on the wall. Almost there, and can't wait to finish. (Still a little work on one of the exterior walls to be done, which likes to leak water in from the outside. Ahh, the joys of home ownership.)
Anyways - picked up the TV for down there (LG 47" LED 3D), DirecTV just came and installed a Genie for it, so now comes the process of adding the audio. The room itself isn't big - about 12x20 - and the TV will be sitting in one of the corners. Given that this is a second entertainment area, I don't need anything that'll rattle the windows. Room will be used primarily for sports/movie watching, a little gaming maybe, and some music when folks are over.
Wife has approved a budget of about $500 (spotted a HTIB at Costco, which she saw me eyeing). This can be stretched a wee bit, given that if I order online I won't have to pay those awesome California/Bay Area sales taxes (well...) so started looking at other options. I'd more or less settled on an Onkyo TX-NR515 for the amp, and a set of Energy Take 5.1 speakers, which would have taken me to a little under $700. Outside the budget, but doable. (Especially since the Energy Take 5.0 often show up on Woot for about $150 or so)
Then I started looking around on here. And began pondering a set of Polk TL250 (basically their TL2 satellites, with a center?) instead of the Takes, and just adding a sub down the road. Then started second guessing the amp...
So at the moment, I'm looking at four amps:
Onkyo TX-NR515 - $328.00 (Amazon)
Onkyo TX-NR616 - $339.99 (Amazon)
Denon AVR-1713 - $269.99 (Refurbed from Accessories4Less)
HK AVR-1700 - $237.99 (ebay - new open box from an authorized dealer)
Wife is in love with the 3D thing (no idea why) and the networking ability, and I like the idea of an airtunes capable receiver (don't have to buy another Airport Express for streaming). Don't really need HDMI passthrough, since anytime I'm watching TV I'll have the amp on. As mentioned, the power output doesn't have to blow the ceiling off, and we just need 5.1 - so after reading this thread here
, where folks recommended to the OP to jump on a HK AVR-1700 for $199 if he could get it (so with tax it'd be $220), I figured the one I found for just $18 more would be a no brainer. But then from further reading, the 1700 has some isues, and the reviews I've read have been less than stellar, ? (And the lack of legacy components doesn't help - wife has a Nintendo Wii that she loves to mess with, and only has composite connections)
Apologies for the long and rambling post. And thanks in advance for any replies - despite I'm sure folks being sick of getting asked the same questions, again and again!