Hello. I'm new here and I'm a bit ignorant about most of the topics discussed on the AV forums, but I'm getting better. Maybe I'll give you some background so you better understand my questions. I had lower end receivers in the past (sony, onkyo, sub $400 models) and never paid that much attention to audio quality. This is probably because I never had a dedicated HT/listening room. Currently I'm looking for a new system for a new room. My budget is limited buy I want to get something a bit better this time. Let's say $650 is the most I'm willing to spend for a receiver at the moment. I know I won't get the super high end stuff with this money but that's where I'm at.
While surround is important to me I don't care that much about it, but I want my music to sound good. My split will be probably around 50/50 for movies and music. I'll probably only use 5.1 for movies even though most new receivers are 7.1+. I did some research and denon x2000 seems to fit my needs. Then I started reading articles about how AV receivers are not too great with stereo processing and I started questioning the quality of stereo output in denon, even though denons are supposedely some of the better sounding ones. People suggest linking separate stereo receivers and what not. Sounds complicated to me. Then I noticed NR1604. I've read claims that marantz sound better than denon.
I never listened to music on high-end equipment and honestly I'm not sure if could tell the difference or if it would really matter that much to me. What I like about NR1604 is that it has pre-outs for front speakers. If I understand correctly, I could hook it up to a dedicated stereo amp in the future if somehow I wasn't happy with the stereo quality of the receiver. Denon x2000 doesn't seem to offer that option.
Should I forget about separate stereo amps and just use receiver for music? I like quality but maybe for me it's a case of diminishing returns when thinking about linking separate stereo equipment. Does the type of music matter? For me it's mostly rock/electronica. I was never too concerned with stereo quality, so should I be now? Is there really that much difference or is it more subtle? Maybe I don't need to include extra pre-outs of NR1604 in my equation.
If marantz NR1604 indeed sounds better that denon X2000, should I be concerned with the wattage reported for both units? I know it's usually apples and oranges, but NR1604 repors 50W and denon x2000 reports 95W. My speakers are Dana 630i (86bd sensitivity) for fron and 630iLCR for center. I don't want to end up with a system that is under-powered, but I'm not planning to listen at deafening levels either. Does the room size matter in this case? Mine is about 12ft x 16ft.
Does NR1604 offer something like video select in denon? It's not critical to me, but I see that I could use it occasionally.
I someone tells me that stereo is brilliant out of NR1604 and that 50w per channel is more than enough, then I'll probably settle for this unit. I like the large look of denon, but I could live with this slim marantz if it performs better.
Thank you for any insights and sorry for long post.