AVS Forum Special Member
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Douglasville, GA
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If you're not overly warranty-biased, your current AVR does have a bum amp channel, and ATMOS isn't a requirement... I'd look for an older higher-end 7.1 AVR with MultEQ XT in the $200-$300 range.
After replacing my fully-functional Onkyo NR905 as part of an overall 4K & 5.1.4 ATMOS upgrade, I honestly regret the cost and effort. I let the NR905 go for ~$200 and it sounded every bit as good as the Marantz SR6011 that replaced it (which was a solid deal at ~$650). I don't feel as bad knowing the NR905 is going into my brother's new HT, but I tried for ~3 months to sell it on Craig's List and Facebook Marketplace and had no takers all the way down to the final $200 listing price.
Something like an NR905/6, SR875/6, SR805/806, or similar Audyssey XT equipped Integra/Denon/Marantz for less than $200 would be a notable upgrade in power, Room EQ, and get the job done for a lot less out of pocket if you can stomach the risk of being well out of warranty.
If it weren't for the lack of HDMI Audio on your current Pioneer, and since it has pre-outs, I'd also say that another upgrade path might be a good 3ch amplifier that you could continue using in the future if/when you do upgrade your AVR. That said, the combination of no HDMI audio and older/less-capable room correction has me thinking the AVR upgrade should probably come first, even if just one of the older/higher-end AVRs like I mentioned above.
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