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I'm close to finishing up the DIY speakers in my new Listening Room / Home Theater, and my attention is focusing on getting a new AVR, as my old one (Sony STR-DE695) lacks HDMI.


I've been looking in the Sub $700 range, and the possibility of going with a factory refurbished unit.


Candidates include:


Marantz 5003 or 5004.... at the risk of POD.

Pioneer VSK32 or 1120K

Onkyo NR-7008 NR-8008

Yamaha 667


.... but I'm not clear what features I really need.


I currently listen to FLACs in 2 channel PCM via Optical SPDIF off my old Computer running XP, but am building a new Windows 7 PC for the new room that will have HDMI output capabilities as well as the SPDIF.


I plan on using the HDMI out to play lossless multi-channel content, under the assumption it will sound as good as the SPDIF currently does for 2 channel content. If it does I dont see any real need for the Ethernet connection, other than for firmware updates.


Currently the Directv feed and Bluray player bypass (video wise) my non-HDMI receiver, and that setup allows me to listen to music from my computer while the TV is on but muted. Will I still be able to do that if I run all the sources through my new HDMI receiver?


My new surround speakers will dip down to 4 ohms. Out of those receivers I am considering, only the ONKYO promises to handle 4 ohm speakers. Do you think I might run into protection issues with the other receivers?


The ONKYO seems to be the only one that knows what a FLAC file is as well, and I really want to let the Receiver's DACs do the decoding for me, in lieu of my PC motherboard's DACs. I am assuming the AVR's DACs are better. Can I pass the FLAC data directly from the PC to the AVR via HDMI, or will I need the USB or Ethernet options?


I am also assuming the PC's HDMI output will allow me to play computer games in surround modes. Is that a fact or will I need an AVR that has 7.1 analog inputs?
 

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1) Yamaha no longer allows this on at least some, and maybe all current receivers. Cant' tell you abour other brands

2) Possibly

3) Don't know. Maybe with the right settings it could be output as PCM to the receiver?

4) I know nothing about your PC. Can your PC output both video and audio via HDMI? In which case you should not need analog inputs
 
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