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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking for help on figuring out what I need (avr/seperates/frankenstein mish mash) for my situation. Any advice or discussion would be great. Here are the facts...

1. A small dedicated home theater (11' x 17'), with all equipment out of sight and in a closet so size / looks / cooling / noise are irrelevant.

2. 7 identical bookshelf speakers (1 1/8" tweeter, 5" midrange driver) and a single powered 12" subwoofer (before you ask they are DIY from over 10 years ago, but are 8 ohm equivalent, but I haven't measured efficiency)

3. Only one source which is a HTPC which could do software decoding and send linear PCM for everything (except ATMOS) or bitstream but I will only use one HDMI input.

4. 3D passthrough capability is required

5. In the short term I do no plan to pursue ATMOS, maybe in a few years I will upgrade the receiver to allow ATMOS, maybe not, depends on if it becomes the new standard.

6. I haven't used this system in too many years (never had a place to use it, and couldn't do it in the living room). My old receiver was a JVC RX-7030V [according to specs: 110 watts x 2 into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.08% THD (stereo)] but I was never happy with it..It couldn't seem to drive my speakers sufficiently, but could be a speaker problem, don't know.

7. Budget is important. I would like to stay under $500 since I may upgrade to ATMOS capable in a few years. I know separates are probably unlikely, but maybe legacy equipment somewhere?

8. Only used for watching movies, no critical listening of music.

Short term plans: Upgrade speakers, either buy commercial or redesign / build (at least the fronts and center), and add wiring for ATMOS in case it becomes the new standard.

So what do I do? I have been thinking about buying the Denon AVR-s900w as a stop-gap ($350) Since all of the video is passing through the AVR and content seems to be getting more hi-res, the newer receiver should be more new content friendly, but I don't have a 4K projector so..... and I am concerned about power since my old JVC didn't do so great.

So any suggestions.

Thanks for reading the long post, and please any and all suggestions welcome (I am brand / separates /avr agnostic)

AJ
 

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I would have to agree, if you want speakers and a receiver and keep it under $500 used is the only way to go.
You would be spending all of the budget just on speakers or just a receiver. You would need to go to at least $800 to get all your asking.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Sorry for the confusion, the $500 budget is just for the AVR. I plan to use my current speakers.

I had thought about trying to find an old AVR with pre-outs (I only really need one HDMI input/output) and then add amplification if needed (over time). But 3D passthrough is a concern. Or go for a more modern AVR without pre-outs and hope it has enough power.

AJ
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the suggestion. Maybe I am confused but there seems to be 2 different versions of the Denon AVR-X3000. Searching around for reviews (CNET, Trusted Reviews etc) all seem to have a version with 7 pre-outs. The A4less link, and the Denon website has a version with pre-outs only for zone 2 LR and subs. Are there 2 different versions of this AVR? I really like the idea of having the pre-outs, but couldn't find anything less that $500 that have pre-outs.
 

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No, as far as i know there is only one version and that only has pre outs for the mains but in reality thats all you need. If you take the load off the main channel amps in the receiver the rest of the amps will have no issues. That said your speakers may not even benefit from an external amp. I would not worry about that right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
When you say the mains...do you mean the front LR channel, if not what do you mean (I am not trying to be dense, but I just want to be clear)? Since the pre-outs are for zone2 LR, I don't see how I could use them for the mains. In other words, I don't think I can assign those pre-outs to be the main front LR. So I don't see how that helps..Is this wrong?
 

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Ugh! your correct it does not have any pre outs for the main channels at all. None the less that is fairly typical of receiver in that price range not to have them.
Im still willing to bet that your bookshelve speakers wont be hard on the internal amps of that receiver as you have a sub to handle the lows.
Your other option is to up your budget and get this Denon 3313CI
 

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I picked up this Yamaha RX-A830 new from Amazon for $500. I've been very impressed with it so far - and I think it does everything on your checklist. I'm using 5 of the pre-outs to an Emotiva amp, and using 1 of the Yamaha amp outs for the rear channel (I have a 6.1 setup) - no problems.

Also - regarding speakers (your future plans)... check out the M1s mentioned above. Craig has a limited supply for $100 each. They are worth more than that - they sound great.
 

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If you wanted to stretch your budget all the way to $650 you could get a Denon X4000. It has a good amount of power, lots of modern features, Audyssey XT32 and preouts for all of the channels. And since you mentioned it, it can do Atmos, so no worries about replacing it in the near future.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I believe the x4000 does not have atmos, the x4100w does but its closer to $900 which is stretching the budget quite a bit

AJ
 
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