I've just now begun on building my pair of DIY speakers as can be seen at this link.
I'll be posting updates to that post this week yet. I'm currently running an Onkyo 616 receiver which does a pretty good job as a budget receiver with my mini Ewave DIY speakers. These new speakers will be going into my living room when completed and running in only stereo for the time being. I will probably add a pair of surrounds but no center channel. These speakers will be powered by a Crown XTI2002 amp in 4 ohm stereo for 800 watts per channel. This will allow me to EQ the speakers with the amp as well.
I'm looking for a preamp that can meet the following requirements.
1) Of course output to the XTI2002. (preferably balanced outputs)
2) Allow for streaming Pandora and Spotify. (Preferably via WIFI. Otherwise I will need to run another Ethernet from my basement.)
3) Support at least 4 HDMI inputs and ARC.
4)Cost less than $1000 unless there is a marked improvement.
5) Support 7.1 at a minimum. This one should be easy. I have no plans to go to 9.1 or 9.2.
6) Have excellent audio quality with music in stereo.
I've been looking at used and refurb units even . The models that I've been looking at are the Onkyo 818, Marantz 7005 or 7701, Denon 3313 or 4411, and the Onkyo 5508. I'm open to suggestions.
Please help me with this choice. So far the highest end receiver I've purchased is my old Onkyo 805 which has a great amp section but can't stream Pandora and is missing ARC.