I realize this question has been asked a ton and I appreciate everyone’s feedback so far. It has gotten me this far through my search. I’m certainly confused and overwhelmed by a lot of this, but am also getting excited to be able to dig in. I certainly have a passion for music and sound and see this as just the beginning. I will probably use about 75% for movies and about 25% for music (pretty much every possible genre, including rap, jazz, classical and everything between). Quality is certainly more important than volume.
Here’s what I have:
- 14’ x 14’ living room (with the left side wall open to the dining/kitchen area; although mounting left surround location will not be a problem) that I am using for home theater for now. Not ideal I realize, but it’s temporary. I have plans within the year to buy a house, so I’m not sure what I will wind up with, so I’d like to plan for the potential of a larger room, although I’m fairly confident I won’t have anything larger than 20’ x 20’.
- Samsung 50” plasma and BR player (happy with this, but will add projector next year).
- Old Pioneer receiver and a couple of old Bose (not proud of) Interaudio 2000 Series speakers.
- Logitech 650 Remote (IR only)
Here’s what I’m looking for:
- 7.1 (or 7.2 if needed) 2 zone receiver that I would like to currently use as 5.1 for home theater and the other 2.0 for a second room. The second room (den/music room) for now would just power my old Bose. However, I would like the capability to run some decent speakers ($2,000 - $3,000 in the future) for higher quality music playback. However, I could also see this changing to running 7.1 if my next location suited at which point I would consider a whole new package for just music. That would be down the road, so I’d like to be flexible.
- 3D and 4K capability
- 2 HDMI Outputs (TV and Projector)/4 HDMI inputs
- 2 A/V RCA inputs (VCR, old DVD player). I would love a third option for Phono with a pre-amp, but I don’t really see that in the receivers in the range I’m looking at.
- USB input (preferably front) for iPod classic playback.
- At this point, I’m thinking about the Denon AVR 2313CI. This seems to meet most of the things I’m looking for. Also, I like that there is a refurbished option at Accessories4less for $429.99. http://usa.denon.com/us/product/pages/productdetail.aspx?catid=avreceivers(denonna)&pid=avr2313ci(denonna)
- Preferably floor speakers up front. Other than that I’m pretty wide open.
- Speakers that don’t suck J
Questions (where to go from here):
- What do you think of the receiver for what I’m trying to do? (Just before posting this, I saw the Sony STR-DN840 on a post. It seems to have many of the same qualities as the Denon. Anyone have a preference?)
- Is it ok to go with the refurbished model? I was thinking of adding the 5 year extended warranty for 49.99.
- I want to make sure I understand is the function of the 2nd zone on the Denon. I read somewhere that since the rear channels are assignable I could use speaker that have a larger amp requirement. Typically I’m not going to be running them at the same time as the 5.1 anyway.
- Could I just add a nice pre-amp to this receiver for zone 2 when I decide to buy some higher end speakers or that not even close to the right direction?
- If I choose the Denon receiver, can someone tell me if I had a Home Network setup with my external hard drive music collection, let’s say typically running through iTunes, would I be able to playback on the receiver though the network or would I need additional hardware? It has an Ethernet port and the website says network audio, I’m just not exactly clear how that would work.
- I am going tomorrow to start listening to speakers. I’ve read so many suggestions that I know the next step is just listening. I think I trust my ears enough as to what sound I like at least in this price range. However, there are so many brands out there; I know I won’t have access to everything. Is there anything in particular I should be listening for? More so, are there things that I can hear, being a novice that can translate to the specs of the speakers. A couple of examples… I see a lot where people talk about the sound of Klipsch speakers being bright or forward, etc. Is there something within the specs for their speakers that accounts for that? Or can that only be determined by running tests? Ultimately, I’m thinking that If I can come back and say I like this part about this speaker and this about another, that I can get some more personalized suggestions on speakers that I might not have immediately available to try out. Also, I just want to learn as much as possible.
- My preference is to finish the first part of this process with a 5.1 (+ my existing 2.0) speaker system. However, I think I would be open to suggestions to a different process. i.e. would it be wise to invest my $1500 speaker budget in 3.1 audio (maybe even temporarily use my current speakers as side channels for the time being). I can buy rear channels in a couple of months. However, I think if I did that, my expectation would by that my front speakers would be a much nicer quality, especially for music listening.
- I really like the idea of floor speakers for the front channels. I am leaning that way from a planning ahead perspective. From what I’ve read, I seem to be just on the cusp budget wise of getting into something decent. Is that correct?
- I also want something a little larger up front because of crossover. I really don’t want my sub to be buzzing all of the time. I want to hear that bass when a bomb goes off, or anytime there’s a T Rex lurking, but not every time the wind blows.
- Would I ever need a second sub for the size of rooms mentioned? Is that just a personal preference.
- Of course I’ll take any suggestions on receivers, speakers, etc.
- Suggestions on speaker cable. I haven’t done much research on that. A link would be fine.
- Website suggestions for cable
Thank you for the help.