Originally Posted by Miami Guy
Got it, so I may have been living with that and never noticed which speakers of the 7.1 setup went down. So why do they bring speaker connection for 11 speaker if it's going down to 5.1 when the Zone 2 is in use? Not that I'm doubting you, just wanting to understand it.
I think they give you 11 speaker terminals so you can use the AVR for Zones 2 and 3 when you AREN'T using Zone 1. Also allows for different surround combinations to be run while still having 11 speakers connected to the AVR and, of course, bi-amping speakers. Having 11 speaker terminals doesn't make perfect sense unless the amp sections can be assigned freely. I know how Denon does their amp assign but not sure how Onkyo does theirs now. Denon only has custom amp assign in the 4520ci this year. The Onkyo under the 1xxx series don't seem to have it as well.
Again, you COULD add an amp to the TX-NR709 to get a powered 7.1 + 2.0, BUT, if I was going to buy an external amp, which are generally MUCH better at delivering guaranteed power, I'd want to put that amp on the front speakers and use the receiver's amps for Zone 2. The 709/809 manual just states that selecting Powered Zone 2 drops it down to 5.1 and isn't clear whether having the front L/R on an external amp would make a difference.
I'd maybe ask someone in the 709 Owner's thread about the AVR and external amps.
Doing away with the low-amperage 110v outlets is just another thing to be cut in order to save money, that and legacy inputs.