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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, been a lurker for years here. I have always had a great appreciation for sound. As a youngster I recall many hours sitting with my father as we 'ripped'
phono albums on to his Reel-to-Reel and then would spend even more hours listening to the music. That was (of course) about 30 yrs ago. Since then I have had the opportunity to listen to various friends audiophile and videophile quality setups and have enjoyed them, all the while yearning for something similar.

Over the years I have setup a home theater of my own (and now officiallly in it's own dedicated room in the basement of our house). While I have not spent tremendously on it (always find some other priority for my $$$), I have been happy with the overall sound, but know there is better out there.

And then one day, last month, the amp on my receiver (Marantz SR-800 MkII) purportedly died. More on that later. So I started looking for what was next.

Current System:

Marantz SR-800 MkII, LG BD300, NHT vt1.2 Left/Right/Center, Speakercraft in ceiling rears, Velodyne CT-120 sub. Home theater room is 14x22, and unfortunately on the long wall (long story an this post is long enough). It is completely enclosed with hung ceilings.

My budget is about $1,000 - 1,500. I walked into the local HiFi shop and nearly walked out with about $1400 in Rotel (used consign and demo, hey! I'm not vain) gear, but then stopped and decided I needed to research some more.

So, here is where I am at.
  • Something to work with my BD-300 (no preouts so has to be HDMI, ... or a new BD Player)
  • Receiver - needs HDMI 1.3, channel inputs/outputs. Was starting to think separates (ala Rotel/NAD/etc.) but am intrigued with folks using lower cost Receivers as processors and then routing output to amps
  • An Amp (see above)

The notion of using an older Rotel/NAD type pre-amp which doesn't decode latest audio was intriguing, but then I have to replace the BD-300 with something else... which adds to the cost.

I then started reading threads talking about using lower cost receivers (e.g., HK298, Onkyo, Denon 1909) and got the idea of buying a Denon 1909 for the HDMI and processing then routing to an amp.

In terms of amps, used Rotels certainly look like they will fit the bill cost wise, but there is also those deals over at Emotiva, and the XPA-7 is calling my name (though I am considering just getting the XPA-3 for now and only driving the fronts and leaving the rears on the receiver). But then I am worried about overly bright (and to me very fatiguing) sound. In that vein the Rotel's warmer sounding amps seem to me to be more comforting. Anyone have any experience with how bright the Emotiva amps are or will be with my NHTs?

So.. thoughts? I welcome your comments. I really am looking for most bang (quality and quantity) for the buck.

Oh, BTW, my Marantz was not dead. While what I (and others) thought was a blown channel (left front) along with some bizarre shorting along the rear channels, turned out to be an issue inflicted upon it by my 18month old... she turned the balance all the way to the right.
Right now, it is in perfect working order. LOL. Still the bug has bitten me (hence my name) and I want to do something. The Marantz will still be in service, powering our 200 disc player and some indoor speakers upstairs and outdoors by the pool (one of those other priorities I had mentioned earlier).
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