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Hi all, I have to make a decision in the upcoming month about which receiver I should get. For speakers I will only have 2 MartinLogan Prefaces, but I plan on expanding to a full home theater in the future.

I've become disillusioned after looking at receiver for six months. Through my work I am able to purchase high-end Pioneer, Denon, Yamaha, or Harman Kardon receivers at a fairly discounted price. What I've discovered, not a single receiver or brand stands out. The people I've asked recommend Pioneer Elite, but that seems more a personal choice, than a practical one.

In terms of features I would like:


2 Zones, 3 would be overkill for now anyway

DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD

Minimum of 3 HDMI IN, don't require more than 1 HDMI OUT; although it would be nice

I've been looking at the Pioneer Elite VSX-01, Denon 2309, Yamaha RX-V863, and HK354. I can get all at around $400-500, and the next model up would be $100-200 more. Are there any features in the next model up from any of the manufacturers that would make sense spending extra for?

And between the 4, is it really more a personal choice, rather than a practical one? In other words, is one AVR head and shoulders above the rest, or is my list very equal.


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Originally Posted by Filthy McNasty /forum/post/15523201

$400 to power Martin Logans with a mass market AVR? - fraid not

You need a quality 4 ohm capable amp - start by looking at Outlaw & Emotiva offerings.

As I fully agree with this, if right now you are only running 2 speakers, you can use a AVR for now. Once you upgrade to a full home theater , you will have to add a external 5 channel amp to power your Martin Logan speakers. ML speakers require a lot of current and the ability to support a 4 ohm load. Most receivers can not do this well and lose dynamics trying to do so.

With that being said to answer your question...

Different brands sound different, they work different , some have more features at the same price some have better sound quality and if your lucky, you can find one that sounds great and has plenty of features.

If I had to buy a receiver a pioneer Elite is my first choice for a lot of reason.

1) Clean sounding. With the right speaker package, they sound incredible for the money. Crisp , clear and dynamic. Warm and comfortable to listen to for many hours at a time.

2)Reliability , Pioneer ELite has a awesome track record compared to many brands. I have worked with Pioneer as well as many others for years and this is what I have found.

3)Features. Elite receivers are stacked with everything you need and nothing you don't . They are not the most featured receivers but what they do they do well. I like there MCACC better then all other receivers as I find it to sound better after then worse like some. THX certified and processing works great in some rooms. Zone 2 is easy to control and once you get a new 5 channel amp, then using the internal amp for zone 2 will be free and clear to give you all the dynamic range you need in your other room or outside.

4) Control. They are fully discrete . This is a must when you have a Universal remote. It makes life easier.

The down side for Elite receivers is they are deeper the most others so cabinet space needs to be at least 20 to 24 inches deep or a open back rack/cabinet. Other is until you get into the ICE amps, you can't run 4 ohm load speakers well. It sucks the life right out of it. 6 or 8 ohm speakers sound fantastic.

The other receivers you listed are all good products. It's a matter or sound quality if you care, you got ML speakers so I assume your sound quality is important to you. But like said above, seperates are a better choice for your future system. Adding a amp to a receiver is not something I'm fully on board. I prefer a preamp. the 01 has preouts so if you like the Pioneer , you good.

Good luck ,

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