Help Finding a Good 7.1, 4 ohm Stable Reciver
I am a long time lurker, but rare poster. About 2 years ago I posted a request very similar to this. I got some great advice, but ended up just waiting to making a purchase due to lack of funds. But times have changed and I am again in the market to upgrade my 10 year old receiver. My wife and I sourced many of the components for our 1st home theater here and have been extremely happy thus far. However it seems to be time that I update our very old receiver into something that is more capable. Here is a quick rundown of our system:
Projector - Epson 8700UB
Blu-Ray Player - PS3
Receiver - Denon 3802 (<<< what I am looking to replace)
Fronts - Miller and Kreisel (M&K) S85L&R 4Ohm
Center - M&K S85C 4Ohm
Sides - M&K LR55 Tri-Poles 4Ohm
Rear - M&K LCR55 Mono-Poles 4Ohm
Sub - M&K VX-100 Dual 8"
18' X 34'
For everyone's reference the PS3 is connected directly to the projector through a 40 ft HDMI cable and the to the receiver through an optical cable. I have been using the above setup for a quite some time and a very happy. However there are some major drawbacks.
Firstly and most glaring, my receiver is not capable of accepting HDMI inputs; leaving me me with using the optical out on my PS3. This means that I can not pass many (any?) high bandwidth signals and I am limited to 5.1 surround. Fortunatly my 3802 has a "cinema" mode that simulates 7.1, but I am sure it is nothing like the real thing.
Secondly, because my receiver does not have any digital inputs/outputs I am forced to keep an analog monitor near by when doing calibrations. This makes it very difficult to adjust small settings when needed as I have no OSD being sent to my projector.
Thirdly, the current receiver does not have a real EQ, leaving me in the cold when it comes to real fine tuning adjustments.
I am looking to get something new that is not only capable of driving 7 channels, but also able to due so on 4 ohm speakers "near" reference level. I would also prefer that it can decode any signals that my PS3 can send and has a reasonable EQ built in.
I am open to any and all brands, but I do love the Denon I have been using so I would be partial to another one. I would also be open to lower range receiver and a separate amplifier, but I have not found a good amplifier that supports 7 channels. The receiver sits in the back of my HT so a omni-directional remote would be nice too, but I can always get an IR blaster.
My maximum budget is $1000, but I would really like to keep it below $600 if possible. I am happy to purchase online or B&M. Either is fine but I would like a full warranty.
There are a few things I do NOT need, so hopefully that will cut down some cost:
I don't need multi-room / zone control
I don't need more than 4 hdmi ports (in fact 2 would be fine)
I don't need legacy inputs or outputs. This is a dedicated receiver for my movie theater only.
I don't NEED network connect-ability as the PS3 does this just fine.
I don't know if I need pre-outs for a separate amplifier, as I am hoping to just use the receiver to power my speakers.
I have attempted to look at many different manufacturers, but very few advertise 4 ohm stability (especially across 7 channels). Can anyone point me in the right direction? I can do much of the comparison work if I could have a few model numbers to start with. Looks are not important, but "cleaner" is preferred.
At this point I almost jumped on a cheep AVR-E400 for $250 from Denon. I know it is quite a step down from my current model, but it seems like it meets almost all my needs. Though I have no idea about sound quality or 4 ohm stability (though some have mentions that it is 4 ohm stable).
Thanks in advance for everyone's time,