Originally Posted by garrett_o
Hi all. I'm in a pickle and rather new to the world of A/V electronics... any advise is appreciated.
I'm in the process of building a 5.1 system on a budget... and can't figure out if I should go full HDMI 7.1 A/V receiver and bi-amp the fronts or go with a simple 5.1 system and use the optical dig inputs while using the HDMI on the TV.
I only use a BR player and Apple tv both have HDMI outputs... no cable box, no turntable or cd player. I mostly play music via airplay through the Apple tv, but would like a direct AUX hookup for when that thing acts up. I do have a library of losseless files and very much enjoy music, either 2 channel or digitized up to surround.
My head is hurting after days of research and looking through the endless list of receivers out there. Seems all the mid range A/V $200-$500 HDMI receivers lack in sound quality and die after a few years while the older heavy black boxes are still kicking ass and are readily available used, online. Any insight here would be very helpful...
What's your budget?
The general rule of thumb is to spend twice as much on speakers as you do on an AVR. Speakers and room acoustics have the most effect on the quality of the sound you hear. Electronics is a distant third, although roomEQ firmware can help fix some audio infelicities.
If you want support for 4K UHD Blu-rays in the not too distant future, you'll need a receiver from the current, 2015, model year (or upgrade later).
Sub $500 AVRs aren't that bad, so long as they have the features you want. I suspect somebody's been exaggerating their problems. However, only the lowest-cost (~$250) entry-level models are limited to 5.1 (or fewer) speaker configurations. All the rest support from 2.0 up to 7.1 (or larger) speaker systems. The entry-level AVRs also don't have network connections, making it impossible to get firmware updates over the net if they have firmware bugs that need to be fixed. It is true that the more expensive models include higher quality room EQ firmware and lots of other features to help persuade you to part with more money.
If you want a specific suggestion, take a look at the Denon AVR S710W. Although its list price is close to $500, refurbished units from Accessories4less are a *lot* less.