I have pieced together a multi-floor, multi-room, home theater system and I need some advice. All equipment is in a (well ventilated) storage closet except the displays. All sound equipment and switching devices are in the storage closet and controlled using an MX810 RF universal remote control system.
I have 2 displays in the basement (a HD projector, and a HD flat panel LCD display). I have a LED HD TV on the middle floor, and a plasma ED TV upstairs.
The sound system in the room with the projector is a 7.1 Sony surround sound amp. The sound system in the room with the LED TV is a 5.1 sherwood Amp (which is horrible).
I started off several years ago with a 2 zone system using 7 input 1 output A/V switches that could handle component / composite inputs and output to component/ composite/ and coax. The system was mostly distributed to the displays using RG6 cables with RCA ends hooked to the component and/or composite connections on the displays.
About a year ago I switched everything out to HDMI using a monoprice 4x4 HDMI matrix. The monoprice HDMI matrix connects to all the displays (except the projector) using 2 cat5e runs and HDMI extenders. When I switched to HDMI the idea was to simplify everything. I wanted less wires and less equipment so it would be easier to manage. Unfortunately I ended up with the opposite. The EDID and sound systems proved to be a nightmare to get synced. After much trial and error I had everything working but, it didn't last long. The monoprice matrix just died.
Here comes the advice part.
I just purchased a: http://www.atlona.com/ATLONA-4x4-HDMI-MATRIX-SWITCH-WITH-4x-CAT5-RECEIVERS-INCLUDED-AND-3D-SUPPORT.html
to replace the monoprice matrix. I want to replace the sound systems with inexpensive (not cheap) devices. I don't need any complicated switching as that is all handled by the matrix. I don't need multiroom configuration, on screen displays, or any flashy features on the sounds devices. What I needs is something that will drive (7.1 / 5.1) speakers and have a single HDMI input. It also needs to sync properly with the matrix.
So please, offer some advice / educate me on what my options are. It doesn't need to be specific models, just the types of things I should be looking for. Do I need to buy a complicated A/V receiver just to drive 7.1 speakers with an HDMI interface? Are there specific articles or forum posts I should be reading? I know the basics, but I honestly don't know where to start. any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance