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Importance in this order, Most important, to less important

Longevity/Build Quality

Warranty, and Customer support

Sound quality

Support of most all current formats, audio streams, video specs.


Must have at least 7.1 pre-outs, as well as toslink optical input (assignable).

Must have HDMI, at least 4 inputs.

Integrated Amp not necessary, although I prefer to not have amps integrated, read on...


Long story short, I've had 2 Onkyo, 805, and 806. Both eventually having issues with different amp channels. Sometimes working ,sometimes not working.

My 806 currently pops for the first 1 minute, sometimes QUITE loud, and I fear for my speakers. All the caps look great, and there is no evidence of any of the power transistors being blown.

I currently have a pretty old Carver amp, 250wpc which I will use first if I end up getting a pre/pro, and then work on getting amps for the other channels.

Currently considering:

Outlaw 975

Emotiva UMC-200
 

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IMO the only receivers on the market that are engineered for low distortion and good sound quality when driving REAL SPEAKERS are from NAD, Cambridge Audio,and ARCAM.


The ARCAM receivers are arguably the best; they should be for $4000 each. The NAD and Cambridge receivers are not nearly as expensive, and sound very good.


ALL amplifiers have specs that say they deliver much less than 1% distortion when connected to an 8 ohm resistor. Unfortunately, this tells you NOTHING about how they will SOUND driving speakers; there is a huge difference!


A typical receiver from most manufacturers will produce distortion in the 3% to 6%range at higher power levels. The ones I recommend will have much lower distortion, and SOUND much better as a result.


Any engineer or knowledgeable audio professional knows that there are many 40 or 50 watt integrated amplifiers that are well-designed and will drive almost any speakers with low distortion. Comparing them to most receivers with alleged power ratings 3 times as high, which will NOT sound as good, will make it clear that power ratings are not what is important.


Comparing power ratings is foolish because they tell you very little about real-world PERFORMANCE when driving SPEAKERS.


Since the manufacturers keep the REAL figures on distortion to themselves, the only useful tool the consumer has is his ears.



P.S.- I have been reading horror stories about poor Emotiva reliability and non-existent customer support. I would do a bit of research on that before I had anything to do with them.
 
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