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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,
I'm looking into buying an entry level stereo receiver to power a pair of hand-me-down Bose 301 Series III I just got. I don't have the most demanding needs and know I shouldn't need much to power these. Basically this setup is going to be in the room that doubles as my home office (so running background music most days) and the sitting room/overflow "quieter" room for parties (again background music for parties but definitely a bit more of a star when we decide to lay down, relax, and listen to some music in the sitting room). I have an old laptop with a decent sound card and optical drive that I'll be using (at least for now) to feed this for internet audio and CDs on most days.

I found a late-80s HK-495i for ~$60 supposedly in perfectly working condition. Or I could go with the modern entry level stereo receivers like the Onkyo TX-8020 ($170), Yamaha R-S202BL ($150), or Sony STRDH130 ($118).

Any thoughts? Other suggestions on new or used units to look for? My main priorities with the receiver (other than keeping the cost down):
  • My untrained ear won't pick up much lack in audio quality.
  • This thing lasts me a while... let's arbitrarily say at least 10 years (would that necessarily eliminate a used receiver from the 80s?).
  • If I get into my audio tech in the future, I won't be upset with this purchase.
  • The audiophile father-in-law and brother-in-law won't laugh about my setup when they see it.

Thanks in advance for any help!
 

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I think you'll be satisfied with whatever receiver you select. Those speakers recommend anywhere between 10 and 150 W per channel with power ratings taken at 75 W, so the Yamaha at 100 W per channel would be perfect. Your other picks are likewise fine; just select whatever will make it easiest to make your stuff sound good in your room.

I'd read the manual for your speakers: http://worldwide.bose.com/productsupport/en_us/web/301_series3/page.html#tab=manuals_tab

There are some placement tips for "lifelike sound" and for "bass response" depending on how far away from the wall the speakers are and their orientation.

I'm assuming that you'll be using a minijack to RCA cable. If you ever choose to upgrade this aspect for cheap, there are several USB DACs for around $100.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I perused the forums a bit and found an old thread with people suggesting those looking for a stereo setup just go for a A/V HT stereo instead to get the extra features and negligible extra cost (something about more demand for those so costs come way down) then just use the two fronts. Would I be better off with something Onkyo TX-SR333 or a Yamaha RX model?

Thanks for the suggestions. Kini, is your rec for the R-S202 out of any experience or something along the lines of what kylini is saying, that they're all going to make me happy?

Kylini, thanks for the suggestion on the USB DAC. Is that just to bypass the headphone jack for something higher quality? I'll do some research on that down the line on these forums to see what I might want to get.
 

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The advantage of getting a AV receiver is that it will have digital inputs for you to use. You won't have to buy an external dac or anything else. And you may also be able to stream via wifi.
 

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For your use my vote is to stick with a stereo system, not an AVR. While the AVR will have more bells and whistles it'll be like buying a truck when all you need is a sedan, more capability, totally wasted.

I'll also vote for the Yamaha. In my recent research it seems to get the best feedback for reliability.

If you don't need an FM tuner you could also expand your search to include Integrated Amps. They start at a higher price but have better quality builds apparently, and often have digital inputs, which means an included DAC.
If you get a system with digital inputs you can even add something like this to your laptop to get a digital out to your receiver/amp : https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0036VO4X4/ref=cm_sw_r_wa_apa_G4jBxbTJP9336

Let us know what you chose.
 
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