Originally Posted by Brusivius
I’m in the process of selecting a new receiver for my family room and I’m getting pretty frustrated. I’ve been trying to read reviews, read user reviews and opinions and reading the forums and each time I think I’m locked in, something pulls me in a slightly different direction. Here’s what I’m looking for:
My goal with the receiver is for it to be the hub of my entertainment system. Everything goes through it from Blu-Ray (with apps like Netflix and Amazon) to cable to digital music services like Spotify to any music or videos on my home server. My kids play the Wii U but I expect we will add a PS4 or Xbox One in the next year or two.
I want a dual-zone receiver. The family room is next to our porch and I’m putting a pair of speakers on the porch. The second room speakers need to be powered by the receiver as they’ll be in-ceiling, but I start running into problems with a second zone and how I want to use it. I’d like to be able to sit outside, beer in one hand and iPad in the other streaming music from my music library, or Spotify or even the radio while the kids watch Disney or a movie. Now I find dual zone receivers but each one seems to only handle analog in the second zone and these days everything is digital. If I wanted to play a CD in the Blu-Ray it doesn’t seem possible on the receivers I’d like to unless the WHOLE system is in party mode.
Airplay or BlueTooth (or both) is highly desirable as my family seems to be more and more mobile dependent on our devices for audio. The capability to connect to an external drive or network is important as that’s where so much of our music library now resides. With that said, I still have CDs and with a compatible BluRay will play them on that.
I’ve always enjoyed 5.1 surround and it’s fantastic during football season. When we watch movies it’s also enjoyable. We’re not into 3D and I’m not an audiophile. I want good sound but I don’t need to hear the second piccolo in a symphony.
Having a great remote is not as important as I’ll use an existing Harmony One to control the system.
So my frustration began when I thought I found a good receive r at a good price point—the Sony STR-DN840 at $400. CNET loved it and I was ready to pull the trigger until I saw no multi-zone support. I looked at the step, the Sony STR-DN1040 but again, no powered second zone. From there I turned my attention to the Onkyo line. They seem to have cornered the THX audio codecs and I thought the Onkyo TX-NR626 would be a good choice, but I read on these forums how many of the HDMI boards are failing. Following some of these threads I saw many users singing the praises of the Yamaha line, but I see so many different lines in the Yamaha line and no clear delineation. For example, there’s the RX-S, RX-V, HTR, TSR and Aventage. I looked at a recommended model, the Yamaha RX-V773WA, and saw mixed reviews and that there was a “newer” model, the Yamaha RX-V775WA. Unfortunately, the newer model is upped in price by a few hundred dollars more than where I started ($799).
So at this point I’m frustrated as I can’t seem to find what I want:
Powered 2nd Zone
Digital 2nd zone input
Integrated networking (wifi or wired)
Minimum 4 HDMI inputs
Video upscaling to 1080p
Price point sub $600
So while I’ve been trying to research and trying to read up on specs and looking at Crutchfield and Newegg and Best Buy and Amazon, I’m stuck. I’m turning to the forum for guidance and advice. Is a powered 2nd zone possible in the price point I'd like, if not, does a step down in receiver with an added amp make sense, or have a simply over thunk all of this?